New York Giants have a young tight end climbing the ranks

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Kaden Smith
Nov 24, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Giants tight end Kaden Smith (82) scores a touchdown in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Giants shut Evan Engram down for the remainder of the 2019 campaign after he succumbed to a foot sprain, they resorted to young Kaden Smith, who was previously drafted in the 6th round by the San Francisco 49ers and was then waived and claimed by the Giants.

Smith emerged as a talented tight end for the Giants who could potentially represent the future. While he struggled in run-blocking and pass protection at times, he was a serviceable pass-catcher for rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones.

Smith finished with 268 yards over 31 catches, amassing a 73.8% completion rate, far surpassing Engram’s high of 70.3% in 2018.

How did injuries affect the New York Giants’ offense in 2019?

After Engram and Rhett Ellison picked up injuries, the Giants were limited from using 12-personnel grouping, resorting to 11-personnel on 70% of plays, according to Sharp Football Stats. This hurt the productivity of the unit as a whole and caused them to run more predictable schemes.

The Giants don’t seem to be in the best shape at the tight end position, considering Engram is still in a walking boot three months after having surgery. While “Easy E” is a swiss army knife for Big Blue and represents the modern-day tight end with his speed and elusiveness, his inability to remain healthy has severely hurt his efficiency.

Having missed nearly an entire season’s worth of games over the past two years, GM Dave Gettleman has a decision to make. Does he retain Engram and keep him for the fourth year of his contract, attempt to trade him in free agency or at the trade deadline next season, or pick up his fifth-year option and continue forward with confidence?

I believe he should let the season play out for Engram, rejecting his fifth-year option and attempting to trade him to a contending team in need of a tight end. This would maximize his value and allow the Giants to gain from him, given they aren’t in a position to earn a playoff spot.

Overall, I’m confident that Smith can handle a full workload and be the Giants’ starting option for the foreseeable future.