Giants could have a dynamic duo at tight end in 2023

daniel bellinger, new york giants

The New York Giants made a significant move this off-season, acquiring Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick. Waller offers the potential of WR1 production at his best.

Waller’s previous four-year, $29.8 million contract expires after the 2023 season. He signed a three-year, $51 million extension set to commence next year, but the Giants have a potential out after the upcoming season if they choose to part ways. With only a $4 million cap hit this season, Waller could be an outstanding asset if the Giants can maximize his value.

The Giants took a high-upside risk with Darren Waller:

In 2022, Waller recorded just 388 receiving yards; however, he’s only two years removed from a campaign with over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns. With a career catch rate of 70%, he exhibits reliable hands and low drop rates. Last year, he dropped merely 6.7% of his passes, and his career high is 8.8%, well below any cause for concern.

Waller brings remarkable flexibility and positional versatility to the Giants. Although he averages only 44.6% of his snaps in line, the Raiders used him differently in recent seasons. They deployed him in the slot position for over 62% of his snaps in 2022 and 20% out wide. It’s reasonable to expect the Giants to utilize him in the slot 40% of the time, 35% in-line as a traditional tight end, and 25% out wide as a boundary receiver, enabling Daniel Jones to take advantage of Waller’s physicality.

However, Waller’s presence should not overshadow second-year tight end Daniel Bellinger on the roster. In fact, Bellinger may benefit from having the primary pass catcher on the team.

At 22 years old, Bellinger demonstrated a promising NFL future, achieving an 85.7% catch rate, 268 yards, and two touchdowns. Though not known for his elite route running and receiving skills, Bellinger possesses untapped potential.

Interestingly, Bellinger posted a faster 10-yard split than Waller at the NFL Combine, indicating impressive mobility and agility at the beginning of routes. In his rookie season in 2022, he had a mere 2.9% drop rate. He played 55% of his snaps in-line, 25.4% in the slot, and 17.5% out wide.

There’s no doubt that Waller and Bellinger could form a dynamic tight-end duo for the next few years, or at least the 2023 season, as long as Waller remains under contract.

The Giants’ coaching staff is known for enhancing players’ strengths, which is why Bellinger’s impact on the run game as an above-average blocker should be anticipated. Creating running lanes for Saquon Barkley and assisting Daniel Jones off the edge will be integral parts of his role this season. Bellinger’s contributions should not be underestimated due to the unglamorous nature of his job.

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