With the 2022 NFL draft quickly approaching, the New York Giants have several positions that could use an upgrade. Tight end remains a Day 2 priority, given they allowed Evan Engram to walk in free agency, signing a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Giants also released Kyle Rudolph, saving about $5 million in salary space. New general manager Joe Schoen did, however, sign Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins to contracts, but neither are considered immediate starters.
Seals-Jones will likely earn the majority of starting reps this upcoming season, but a rookie could compete and steal some away if given the opportunity.
One player that Big Blue could target is Coastal Carolina stand-out Isaiah Likely. At 6’4″ and 245 pounds, the senior tight end is considered one of the more underrated players at his position coming out of the draft.
This past season, Likely tallied 59 receptions for 912 yards and 12 touchdowns. His production has improved year over year, showcasing adequate development. While his blocking capabilities are a little questionable, he has a potential to be a phenomenal pass-catching TE.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes Likely is a potentially great receiving tight end, but he will need time to develop:
Tight end prospect with an intangibles profile and positional traits that make him projectable to the next level. Likely was a winner in high school and played a pivotal role in the ascension of Coastal Carolina over the past two seasons. He lacks a prototypical tight end frame and is an inconsistent blocker, but he runs well and filled up his career stat sheet with big plays. It could take Likely a year or two to find his footing against stronger, faster coverage, but he has the tools to uncover against NFL coverage as an “F” tight end.
Zierlein compares Likely to Delanie Walker, who was once one of the best receiving touchdowns in football. Likely will need to work on sustaining blocks and increasing his functional strength of the part of attack, but he is a ready-made impact player as a receiver, which should provide the Giants with good value.
The Giants have also been intrigued by Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert and Virginia standout, Jelani Woods.