The New York Giants have had a polarizing experience at the tight end position over the past few seasons. Former first-round pick Evan Engram has provided inconsistent hands and spotty blocking during his five-year career with the Giants. However, the team went in a different direction this past off-season, as Engram signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Giants wanted blocking, and they got it:
New general manager Joe Schoen drafted San Diego State TE Daniel Bellinger in the fourth round, providing a great blocking option from the position with upside as a receiver.
Bellinger is already making an impression during mini camp, utilizing his strong hands and blocking pedigree to help carve out a legitimate role for the 2022 season. Last year with San Diego State, Bellinger finished with 353 total yards and two touchdowns. Impressively, he didn’t drop a single pass in 2021 and has a 4.2% drop rate in his entire career. That will be a welcomed statistic for most Giants fans.
When asked about a specific skill set, Ballinger harped on his ability to block well.
“I like being able to block somebody,” Bellinger said, per Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com. “I feel like that‘s football. It’s how I grew up, with a mindset that, hitting somebody is football. So blocking somebody is football. I love blocking.”
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At 6’5″ and 253 pounds, Bellinger has great size at the position and phenomenal straight-line speed. At the NFL Combine, he ranked in the 82nd percentile in the 40-yard dash, earning a 4.63 second time. He also has some of the biggest hands in the position, ranking in the 99th percentile with 11-inch hands.
New tight ends coach Andy Bischoff has raved about Bellinger’s skill set, indicating he has all the tools to become a great player in the NFL.
“He’s one of those rare guys today that can really do it all,” Giants tight ends coach Andy Bischoff said of Bellinger. “He can block, he can protect and what we want him to do is get open against man coverage. He can do all those things.”
Bischoff has an impressive history of developing tight ends. Notably, he helped groom Mark Andrews into one of the best players at the position. Bellinger and Andrews have an eerily similar frame, which is something the Giants can work with this off-season and into the 2022 campaign.
Considering Big Blue signed Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins to one-year contracts, they are better off developing Bellinger as a rookie than placing him behind several journeymen options. Nonetheless, the depth chart is far from settled, but Bellinger’s positive impression is already indicating a bright future.