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Giants draft preview: TE

This is the third installment in a nine-part series that will analyze the Giants' needs, position by position, in the upcoming draft.

Position: Tight end

Depth chart: Kevin Boss, Travis Beckum, Bear Pascoe, Jake Ballard.

Not under contract: Boss, Pascoe.

Scouting report: This was a position where the Giants were hammered by injuries during training camp last year. Tom Coughlin was forced to use an extra offensive lineman at tight end during several practices and he often used a lineman to block at tight end during the season as well. The Giants could utilize their tight ends more in the passing game and they need more production from the position. Boss can be a reliable target for Eli Manning when used and he stepped up when injuries sidelined many of the wide receivers. Beckum has yet to reach the potential he possesses and he’ll need to grow more and receive more opportunities this season. Pascoe was one of the best surprises of the season as he emerged as the team’s fullback with Madison Hedgecock sidelined by injury.

The Last Time: The Giants drafted a TE last in 2009 when they took Beckum in the third round out of Wisconsin.

Potential targets: Since free agency likely will take place after the draft, the Giants might want to draft a tight end to cover themselves in case Boss does not return. It would be a bit surprising if Boss and Pascoe aren’t re-signed but the Giants still can use a tight end that can block and catch and help open the field up for Manning. Notre Dame’s Kyle Rudolph is the best of the bunch, a first-round talent who could go in the second round. The Giants, though, have greater needs and could use their high picks on positions like offensive line, linebacker, cornerback and running back. Wisconsin’s Lance Kendricks may be the second-best tight end and he might be available in the third round. Tennessee’s Luke Stocker is another potential third-round tight end. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper says Nevada’s Virgil Green is a potential fourth or fifth-rounder. Arkansas’ D.J. Williams and USC’s Jordan Cameron are other tight ends that could go in the fourth round. Kiper says teams in need of tight ends can find some in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

Need Rating (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being of highest importance): 6.

Tomorrow: RB.