Giants eyeing Virginia prospect to potentially fill void at tight end

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The New York Giants brought in TE Jelani Woods for a top-30 visit this week:

You would be hardpressed to find a tight-end prospect with a bigger frame than Virginia’s Jelani Woods, who stands at a towering 6’7″ and 259 pounds. Woods was a former top-25 quarterback in high school before making the transition to tight end, where he’s become an intriguing NFL prospect with great upside.

In fact, the New York Giants brought in Woods for a top-30 visit on Monday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The Giants have been doing their due diligence on TEs this off-season after allowing Evan Engram to walk in free agency and cutting Kyle Rudolph.

Engram signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars after years of polarizing play in East Rutherford, specifically regarding his inconsistent hands. The Giants aren’t looking for a one-trick pony at tight end anymore, but rather a do-it-all player with receiving prowess but also blocking upside. Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert also stands out as a 3rd round possibility, but Woods may also be around on Day 2.



 

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com isn’t extremely high on Woods but notes his undoubted upside:

Woods is an ascending in-line tight end with good size and length, but he needs to keep filling out his long frame and getting stronger as a point-of-attack blocker. While he looks lumbering in the early stages of the route, he plays with good physicality throughout and does a nice job of shielding defenders from playing the football. His hands aren’t great as a blocker or pass-catcher and both will need work, but his breakout 2021 could foreshadow more to come as an in-line backup with upside.
In his best collegiate campaign, Woods tallied 598 yards and eight touchdown receptions last season. Showcasing a great frame in the open field to battle corners and create leverage, Woods displayed solid body control and the ability to use his frame to his advantage. Having just run a 4.61 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, there’s little concern about his speed off the line of scrimmage and on seam routes.
Looking at Jelani objectively, he’s a raw prospect with physical upside. With the right coaching, he could be something special, but there are other options at the position that may present more of an immediate impact. The Giants likely love his size as a security blanket for Daniel Jones, but can he handle the quick fastballs within 10-yards? Some question his hands and consistency, noting his production this past season was surprising.
Providing the offense with a big body in the passing game and the red zone should be beneficial, but as we saw last year with Rudolph, it ultimately boils down to schematics and pass-protection for Jones.