This is the fifth of an eight-part series analyzing each Giants draft choice. 

Kevin Boss: Round 5 (153):

Boss is an intriguing prospect who could turn into a fifth-round steal. This former basketball player’s strong, sure hands, excellent body control, and knack for timing his jump make him a potentially excellent red-zone target, an important attribute for second tight ends who see a lot of action in double-tight formations near the goal line. Here’s what ESPN’s scouting report had to say about the 6-6 Boss on the subject:

“Uses wide frame to shield defenders from the ball and has the strong hands to make the tough catch in traffic.”

So between Boss and Steve Smith, we’ve drafted two sure-handed, capable targets for Eli as we try to improve what was a brutal red-zone passing game last year. And I love that he’s a basketball player: These power-forward types know how to go up and get it.

Boss’s receiving abilities go beyond the red-zone: The NFL.com scouting report – which, I must say, was pretty damn glowing for a fifth round pick – says that Boss “shows the power to break tackles and the stride to separate after the catch… Demonstrates good awareness of the sticks and good balance running down the sidelines…. With his size and power, he is simply too much to tackle in one-on-one situations. Lowers his pads and squares his shoulders well to simply obliterate the smaller defensive backs who that dare to get in his way.”

Boss also fills a position of need by replacing Visanthe Shiancoe, who left as a free-agent for Minnesota this offseason. Shiancoe was a decent player, but certainly was not worth the outlandish 5-year, $18.2 million contract the Vikings gave him. The selection of Boss makes the Giants look good: They did a smart thing by not overpaying Shiancoe and replacing him – and quite possibly upgrading from him – all for the price of a second-day draft choice. And given Shockey’s penchant for getting nicked up, we really needed to address the backup tight end situation.

Mike Garafolo, in his observations of rookie minicamp, came away impressed, saying, “TE Kevin Boss had a big afternoon highlighted by a diving catch on a short crossing route over the middle. He’s definitely got the receiving ability, has size and runs good routes. It’s just a matter of whether or not he can become an accomplished blocker fast enough to see the field this year.”

On the negative side, Boss is described as a “low-gear” player, which basically means that he’s not explosive. NFL.com says that he makes up for his lack of initial explosion on passing plays by “using his hands effectively to escape jams,” so this quality will be more of a detriment to his blocking than his receiving. Addressing the subject, ESPN’s scouting report says that Boss “doesn’t deliver a violent initial punch and isn’t going to knock many defenders back. Lacks ideal lower body strength and isn’t much of a drive blocker at this point.”

But these are hardly deal-breaking qualities, and given all the positives, one has to wonder why Boss lasted until the fifth round? The fact that he comes from obscure Division II Western Oregon might have something to do with it. But the G-Men have demonstrated a good track record with guys from obscure schools recently: Osi Umenyiora from Troy, Brandon Jacobs from Southern Illinois, Rich Seubert from Western Illinois, Chase Blackburn from Akron, Visanthe Shiancoe from Morgan State, and if you want to go back a little bit, a fellow named Strahan from a school called Texas Southern.

Another reason for Boss’s slippage could have been a shoulder injury that cut short his 2006, which NFL.com says “requires further medical evaluation.” Who knows if we’ll ever hear about that again.

So this looks like a really good pick by the Giants. Boss is a guy who fills a need, will probably contribute immediately, and has a good chance of developing into a good NFL player.  That’s not bad for a fifth round draft pick.