Giants 2nd-year safety looking like a breakout candidate this preseason

New York Giants safety Dane Belton (24) during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Facility.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have been flexing their depth at the safety position this summer as a number of players have stood out throughout training camp. In their first preseason game, a tandem of safeties forced turnovers. Starting strong safety Jason Pinnock turned in an excellent performance against the Lions, as many expected of him. But it was the shocking emergence of second-year DB Dane Belton that caught the attention of Giants fans.

Dane Belton stands out in first preseason game of 2023

Belton turned heads in the Giants’ preseason opener, grabbing an interception in the second quarter. He finished the game with two tackles, one pass defended, and the aforementioned interception.

Belton grabs a pick-six at practice on Monday

At the team’s first practice following the preseason opener on Monday, Belton picked off starting QB Daniel Jones, taking the interception to the crib for a pick-six. This was reportedly only Jones’ second interception of training camp.

What role can Belton play in the Giants’ defense?

At one point in the offseason, Belton stood out as the frontrunner for the starting safety job. However, Pinnock quickly locked down the first team role, paving the way for Belton to serve as a utility piece in the secondary.

Belton saw a fair amount of playing time as a rookie in 2022. Playing in 15 games, Belton made five starts last season, demonstrating a knack for getting his hands on the football. He snagged two interceptions in his rookie season and recovered two fumbles (one on special teams). Belton also totaled 31 combined tackles and did not surrender a single touchdown in coverage on 31 targets.

During his collegiate career, Belton became the second Iowa player to start at Cash, a hybrid safety/linebacker position created back in 2018. His experience playing both of those roles will allow the Giants to move Belton around their defense, letting him play a versatile role in the defensive backfield.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: