The New York Giants aren't going to spend major resources on the tight end position. This should be clear by now. They haven't done it since they drafted Jeremy Shockey in the first round in 2002, and they believe they can get adequate production at the position for a bargain price. That's why they didn't upgrade there in free agency or the draft this year. It's why I don't think Giants fans should sit around hoping for a Jermichael Finley signing (though he'd likely be a bargain if medically cleared). And it's why I believe them when they say they're going to give 2012 fourth-round pick Adrien Robinson the first crack at the job.
"Well, it's my third year, my weight's down, we've got a new [offensive coordinator], new tight ends coach, everything is fresh," Robinson said Tuesday. "It's a clean slate, and I'm just ready to go."
Robinson is a 6-foot-4, 264-pound specimen the Giants drafted hoping they could develop him into something special. He was a raw project with impressive physical gifts, which is why GM Jerry Reese famously and unfortunately said on draft day that they hoped Robinson could be "the JPP of tight ends." The Giants liked Robinson enough last year to hold him off of injured reserve even as he couldn't get healthy enough to play in a game. They believed, once healthy, that he'd be a major help as a run-blocker as well as a potential outlet target for quarterback Eli Manning in the passing game.
They still think that, and they believe that in his third year in their building, Robinson is ready to take on the challenge of the starting tight end role. He thinks so, too. The key is to be and stay healthy, something he hasn't been able to do to this point. But if that happens, Robinson thinks he's in a better position to succeed than he occupied in his first two seasons in the NFL.
"Everyone wants to play as soon as they get here, but there's nothing you can do about injuries," Robinson said. "That just pretty much took up my whole second year. Now it's about moving forward."
Robinson said he's clicked with Kevin Gilbride Jr., who moved from wide receivers coach to tight ends coach this offseason after the firing of longtime tight ends coach Mike Pope. He said he likes that Gilbride is closer to his own age. He likes that new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's offense seems to offer more opportunity for the tight end to catch passes. He's fired up and appears healthy. Given the other choices that were out there, their proclivity for going cheap at tight end and the number of other needs they needed to fill this offseason, the Giants are right to give Robinson a shot to see whether he can do it. If he can, what a bonus that will be.