EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants GM Jerry Reese doesn't love talking about his tight end situation. He doesn't consider it as big a worry as some outside the organization consider it. He points out, correctly, that the Giants' top tight end over the past seven or eight seasons has tended to catch 40-50 passes a season, and he believes he doesn't have to spend major resources to acquire a run-blocking tight end who can offer such a minimal contribution in the passing game.
That said, even Reese would have to admit that this year's tight end group looks a little bit thin.
Or would he?
"We feel like we have some young players who have some dynamic skill sets that can get out there and do it," Reese said Wednesday. "Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell, a couple more young tight ends on the roster that we like. Those guys have to go out there and do it."
Fair enough. He has guys he likes athletically but who haven't proven anything yet. He thinks they can and has decided to bank on that. He thinks the risk is small. Robinson can definitely run-block, and if he ends up being able to catch the ball, so much the better.
Problem is, Reese kept talking. And said this:
"The tight end in Denver, Julius Thomas, how many catches did he have before last season? He didn't have many catches. Actually, I think he had one catch going into his third season. So hopefully, we can have a guy step out of the shadows and do something like that for us, because they have the skill set. They just have to get out there and do it."
Okay, so first things first. Julius Thomas, who caught 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns with Peyton Manning as his quarterback last season, has just joined Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on the list of players to whom Jerry Reese has now -- without solicitation -- compared to Robinson. You likely remember that Reese described Robinson by saying, "we hope he can be the JPP of tight ends" after drafting him in the fourth round in 2012. The reference was to the fact that Pierre-Paul was a raw player coming out of college who became a star in his second season. It was an unfair label to affix to Robinson, a fourth-round pick who caught a total of 29 passes in his four years of college football at Cincinnati.
Thomas caught 29 passes (for 453 yards and two touchdowns) in one season as a senior at Portland State in 2010. That was Thomas' only season of college football. The difference between him and Robinson is that Robinson played four years at Cincinnati, and no one ever thought to throw him the ball on a regular basis, whereas once Thomas decided to play football, they found he was pretty awesome at catching it.
So Reese's point on Robinson really isn't much different right now than it was on draft day 2012. He thinks the guy has the skills to be a good tight end in the NFL, but he admits he has no actual proof of that and he's hoping to see some of that proof.
But based on the guys to whom he likes to compare him to, Reese really thinks Robinson has a lot of talent.