In fact, a couple of draft prognosticators/evaluators are of the opinion that Tyree, a Montclair, N.J. native, doesn't have adequate enough receiving skills to earn a roster spot in the NFL – despite his catching 36 passes last season for 559 yards and three touchdowns against Division I-A competition.
But Tyree possesses a marvelous talent that no one questions: the 6-0, 198-pound wide receiver from Syracuse is an outstanding special teams player.
During his career with the Orangemen, Tyree blocked five kicks and recorded 53 tackles as a member of Syracuse's kick and punt coverage units. He tallied 20 of those tackles during the 2002 season, and also played as "protector" on the punt team.
"Unanimously, everyone just reveled in this guy," Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi said. "Everyone that saw him said he was the best special teams player they saw all season."
Tyree (who has 4.59 speed in the 40-yard dash) relishes his unenviable and dangerous role of "wedge buster" on the kickoff team – which requires risking one's well being by barreling into a convoy of burly blockers lined up in front of the return man.
An alumnus of Montclair (N.J.) High School, Tyree said he wasn't a Giants fan growing up – although his home is only 15 minutes away from the Meadowlands.
"The funny thing is, I was a 49ers fan growing up," he told the Syracuse Post-Standard on the day he was drafted. "I hated the Giants. I think I've got a new love for the boys in blue."
The citizens of Montclair – including Tyree's parents, Jesse and Thelma – have been thrilled by Big Blue's selection of the youngster, an honor student at Syracuse majoring in consumer studies. "It's been wonderful so far," Tyree said. "The whole town is engulfed in it…I'm sort of a hometown hero now."
Giant Head Coach Jim Fassel said he was surprised by Tyree's performance at wide receiver during the team's recent post-draft rookie mini-camp.
"He catches the ball better than I thought he would," Fassel said. "He is showing me he has excellent hands. But like I told all the rookies, most of them are going to be fighting for a position. When I get done evaluating that – and you're talking about the fifth receiver, the ninth DB, the third tight end – it will probably come down to who can help us most on special teams."
The kid from Montclair is ready for the challenge.
Fearless and enormously talented special teams player with decent, if not blinding, speed. Blocks punts and kicks, runs down return men and busts wedges. His value as a receiver on the NFL level is debatable…Good size, physically strong and can box-out defensive backs…Lacks explosiveness on routes.
Where he fits in
Can become an immediate, and perhaps spectacular contributor on special teams, given his all-around abilities. Giants addressed a number of special teams concerns in off-season – and Tyree may be the final piece to that once-frustrating puzzle. His value as a reserve wide receiver remains to be seen.
"David Tyree is going to make our team first as a special teams player. He has a lot of tackles on special teams. He's a special teams demon type of guy. But he catches the ball well. He's not a dead stall as a receiver. We're looking forward to him competing for the fifth [receiver] spot and making it as a special teams guy." – Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese