Tight end Matt LaCosse has eye-popping day at Giants OTAs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When Matt LaCosse has been on the field for the New York Giants, the results have been positive. The problem is that LaCosse hasn’t been on the field often enough his first two professional seasons because of injuries to his right side.

There has been a hamstring problem and knee injury, which ruined his 2016 season. But LaCosse is back and not completely lost in the shuffle despite the Giants drafting Evan Engram in the first round and signing of Rhett Ellison in free agency.

LaCosse was the unequivocal star of Friday’s OTA No. 6 at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Every time you turned around, he was making another grab over the middle or tip-toeing in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. He caught a pair of fades on finely threaded passes from rookie quarterback Davis Webb. A third red-zone score came on a bullet from veteran Josh Johnson.

“Yeah, he made some nice plays,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “He is a big target down there in the green zone. Matchup-wise he gives you that length that you are looking for, he can run and he is a functional blocker. So he has a nice skill set.”

LaCosse, 24, is in a crowded tight end room with Engram, Ellison, Will Tye, Jerell Adams and several undrafted rookie free agents. But he shouldn’t be overlooked.

When LaCosse (6-foot-5, 261 pounds) was healthy during training camp last year he was receiving first-team reps along with Tye and Adams. Yet he’s sort of become a forgotten name after the offseason additions.

It's probably a mistake. LaCosse has the talent and versatility to earn a spot on the roster and in the lineup.

“I’m whatever they need me to be. I can be the Y tight end, stick me in-line and I’ll block, I can be split out or if they want me to play fullback, I can play fullback,” he said. “Wherever they need me, wherever they want me to be, that is where I’ll be at.”

Other OTA notables

• With seven projected starters either not attending or sidelined with minor injuries, snaps were plentiful for some younger or unheralded Giants. Second-year defensive end Romeo Okwara continues to receive first-team snaps in place of Olivier Vernon. He flew off the edge on one snap and into the backfield.

With Janoris Jenkins missing the workout and Eli Apple rehabbing on the side, it opened the door for offseason acquisition Valentino Blake and Donte Deayon. Blake knocked down several passes.

Safety Darian Thompson also was more involved as he comes back from a foot injury that ruined his rookie season. He moved well, showing flashes of ability.

Adam Gettis, meanwhile, filled in for starting left guard Justin Pugh. It’s been quite a turnaround for Gettis, who has rebounded to impress after a forgettable 2016 preseason game seemed to doom his Giants career.

• The Giants ran a trick play where wide receiver Dwayne Harris threw a pass to a wide-open Paul Perkins out of the backfield. Perkins was running down the right sideline with nobody within 15 yards of him; he dropped the pass despite it hitting him in the hands. It’s the second time in two practices with the media present that Perkins, whom the Giants have pegged as their starting running back, dropped an easy pass.

Geno Smith is moving well despite still being (slightly) limited following knee surgery last year. The former New York Jets quarterback isn’t even wearing a knee brace, and is throwing the ball with plenty of velocity. It’s impressive. The Giants are still holding him back some, keeping Smith out of 11-on-11 drills.

• There have been skirmishes each of the past two weeks at Giants OTAs. This week it was rookie defensive end Avery Moss getting into it with offensive lineman Jon Halapio.

• Rookie wide receiver Jerome Lane made some plays one day after being added to the roster. He looked promising in his first action as a Giant.