Is Will Tye on the bubble?
In each of the last two seasons, Will Tye, an undrafted free agent out of Stony Brook, as emerged as the starting tight end.
Tye proved to be durable and there were never any questions about his effort. However, when it came to coming close to being a difference maker, that’s where things become a little sketchy.
Tye managed to catch a career-high 48 passes in 2016, but saw his receiving yards dip from 464 as a rookie to 395, and with that, his average yards per catch to 8.2 (from 11.0).
Although his 8.2 yards per catch was still the best among the Giants tight ends last year, between not picking up the yards after the catch and not producing first downs—he recorded 16 last year, down from 23 as a rookie—it’s not hard to see why the Giants went in another direction at this position.
So what’s wrong with his game?
Tye gives you a solid effort every week, but the production just hasn’t been what this offense needs. His blocking can be best described as “hit-or-miss” mediocre at best despite that he otherwise matches up well size-wise against most defensive ends.
Per Pro Football Focus’s player grades, Tye is currently the lowest graded run-blocking tight end the team has, behind Rhett Ellison and second-year man Jerrerll Adams. (To be fair, Tye played in 284 run-blocking snaps to Ellison’s 141 and Adams’ 80 last year).
In the passing game, his speed is mediocre. Tye has yet to show that he can consistently separate from defenders in the passing game, partially supported by his low YAC. What was particularly surprising last year is how often smaller defenders could bring him down to the ground.
Let’s talk red zone production. Per NFLSavant.com, Tye was targeted six times last year in the red zone, coming up with four catches.
Only one of those red zone receptions, a nine-yard pass completion throw to the right, went for a touchdown, Tye’s lone score of 2016.
But wait, didn’t he have an injury toward the end of last year?
According to Tom Rock of Newsday, Tye played the last few weeks of the 2016 season with stress fractures in his foot, Earlier this month, Tye confessed to Rock that he still wasn’t 100 percent, so yes, that could have very well had something to do with the drop in his production.
But for that argument to be valid, wouldn’t Tye’s production have had to take a huge drop off the cliff? Ad let’s be honest–how many of us last year wondered if he was dealing with an injury last year, especially considering he didn’t miss any games?
Assuming the Giants go with four tight ends this year, Tye and Matt LaCosse will be in direct competition for that fourth spot.
Based on the spring showing, LaCosse appears slightly ahead of Tye for a roster spot, but again, once the pads come on, it’s a whole different ball game, plus LaCosse needs to be able to stay healthy if he’s to finally win a spot on the 53-man roster.