Illinois Tight End Matt LaCosse was among the most highly sought after undrafted free agents this year due to his versatility and collegiate production.
As a junior he would line up in the slot and wing, sometimes even playing fullback. As a senior, he was used at a more in-line position and wascounted on as more of a run blocker and pass protector. Yet, by the end of the year he was back split wide and catching passes.
LaCosse performed well no matter what the coaches asked him to do, displaying excellent versatility as a player.
During his four-year college career he put up total numbers of 38 receptions for 397 yards and six touchdowns and also excelled as one of the team’s best run blockers. At 6’6″ and 261 lbs, it took the New York Giants a $5,000 signing bonus and guaranteeing $5,000 of his base salary this year to land LaCosse.
LaCosse has justified the Giants investment so far with a strong showing in rookie minicamp. Inside Football’s rookie minicamp report said of LaCosse:
“In the first practice, LaCosse lined up as the in-line blocker, where he showed decent technique in squaring up his man, sinking his hips and bursting forward to gain the leverage into his “block.”
LaCosse, who lined up wide and in the slot for the Giants, put his receiving skills on display on the second day of the minicamp, hauling in every catchable ball thrown his way, and wowing the coaches and his teammates by making a diving reception on a ball thrown by former Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova.”
Playing against fellow rookies and undrafted free agents, LaCosse’s minicamp dominance far from guarantees that he will be able to replicate the performance in training camp this summer. Nevertheless, it is an excellent sign for the young player and, while fans should temper their expectations, could lead to LaCosse landing a spot on New York’s 53-man roster.
However, that would mean LaCosse would have to unseat either Daniel Fells or Adrien Robinson for that third tight end spot. It is not an impossible challenge for LaCosse, who has already made a good impression on Giants’ coaches as a dual-threat player who can block and catch effectively. Meanwhile, Robinson never became the “Jason Pierre-Paul of tight ends” that general manager Jerry Reese drafted him to be and Fells spent the 2013 season out of football before New York brought him on in 2014.
Like any undrafted free agent, LaCosse faces an uphill battle to make the roster, yet his slope seems significantly less steep than his fellow UDFA’s. If LaCosse can add more weight to his frame and continue to impress on the field, his odds of sticking with the Giants look very promising.
LaCosse told Tom Rock of Newsday on his decision to join the Giants: “I thought this was the best chance for me to compete in camp. I thought it presented the best situation for me.”
The bottom line is LaCosse wants to be in New York and believes he belongs in the NFL. He is a hungry player who will not go down without a fight. His attitude and talent may very well see him in a Giants’ uniform this season.