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Giants Position Preview: Tight Ends

Posted Jun 21, 2016

Giants.com takes a closer look at the team's depth at tight end:

Tight ends are asked to do an awful lot in a Ben McAdoo offense.

That’s fitting because the Giants’ first-year head coach and former offensive coordinator spent six of his eight seasons in Green Bay coaching the position. Things aren’t changing anytime soon with new offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who took over when McAdoo was promoted.

>> READ: OFFSEASON SURPRISES

“They’re kind of like Atlas,” said Sullivan, previously the quarterbacks coach. “You know, they’ve got the world on their shoulders there with what we’re trying to do schematically.”

Continuing our position preview series on Giants.com, today we look at the tight ends:

LARRY DONNELL

2015: 8 G, 8 GS, 29 REC, 223 YDS (7.7), 2 TD
Career: 40 G, 21 GS, 95 REC, 877 YDS (9.2), 8 TD

Out of the three tight ends who made the initial 53-man roster last September, only Donnell returns in 2016. Daniel Fells is currently a free agent and Jerome Cunningham was waived on May 5. Meanwhile, Donnell re-signed with the team in mid-April after receiving clearance from the team’s medical staff to resume his career.

>> READ: DONNELL TAKES ON VET ROLE

Donnell’s season was cut in half due to a neck injury that he suffered in the 52-49 loss at New Orleans in Week 8. The season-ending injury came after a breakout 2014 campaign in which the former undrafted Grambling State product had 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns.

WILL TYE

2015: 13 G, 7 GS, 42 REC, 464 YDS (11.0), 3 TD
Career: Rookie in 2015

Released after the Giants’ third preseason game, Tye eventually made it onto the Giants’ practice squad, where he spent the first three weeks of last season. He was then promoted in October and made his debut in Week 4, becoming the first Stony Brook product to appear in an NFL game. He went on to lead all rookie tight ends in receptions (42) and receiving yards (464) while picking up All-Rookie honors by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

MATT LACOSSE

2015: 2 G, 3 REC, 22 YDS (7.3)     
Career: Rookie in 2015

LaCosse is now part of Eli Manning trivia after becoming the 70th different player to catch a regular-season pass from the franchise quarterback. The undrafted Illinois product played in the final two games of last season after being promoted from the practice squad. He was having a productive spring this year until being sidelined with a lower leg injury. McAdoo said he would be held until training camp, which opens July 28.

JERELL ADAMS

2015 (South Carolina): 12 G, 9 GS, 28 REC, 421 YDS, 3 TD
Career (College): 47 G, 15 GS, 66 REC, 977 YDS (14.8), 7 TD

>> READ: ADAMS' ADVICE FROM COLLEGE COACH

This year’s sixth-round draft pick came to the Giants as a better blocker than receiver, but general manager Jerry Reese said he has nice upside with his ability to stretch the seam. At South Carolina, Adams blossomed into an all-around tight end in his senior season and was the Gamecocks’ second-leading receiver. 

RYAN MALLECK

2015 (Virginia Tech): 13 G, 13 GS, 21 REC, 289 YDS (13.8), 2 TD
Career (College): 52 G, 32 GS, 62 REC, 658 YDS (10.6), 4 TD

The New Jersey native logged a team-high 940 plays -- 806 at tight end and 134 on special teams -- in 2015, ending his college career with 32 starts. He missed the entire 2013 season after sustaining a left rotator cuff tear/labral tear during the preseason. He was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, where he finished in the top five at his position in the vertical (34.5 inches) and broad (121.0 inches) jumps.

WILL JOHNSON

2015: 16 G, 4 GS (FB), 2 REC, 16 YDS (8.0)
Career: 63 G, 21 GS (FB), 31 REC, 235 YDS (7.6), 2 TD

“Sure” was McAdoo’s response when he was asked this spring if Johnson will play fullback, tight end, or both this year. He didn’t want to tip his hand about the player who is officially listed as a fullback but showed an ability to catch everything thrown his way this spring. The 6-foot-2, 238-pound veteran signed with the Giants in April after spending four seasons in Pittsburgh.