Giants’ second-year TE should not be slept on despite the addition of Darren Waller

daniel bellinger, new york giants
Dec 11, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger (82) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety K'Von Wallace (42) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants made a splash this offseason, pulling off a blockbuster trade for TE Darren Waller. The former Raiders playmaker instantly enters Big Blue’s lineup as their top playmaking option. While he will be a focal point in New York’s offense, the addition of Waller should not overshadow the potential of second-year TE Daniel Bellinger.

Giants TE Daniel Bellinger should not be slept on

Bellinger showed up to OTAs looking like a new-and-improved version of himself. He was noticeably larger, having added muscle and mass to his frame. As he enters his sophomore season, Bellinger is a player that could make a significant impact on the Giants’ offense.

As a rookie in 2022, Bellinger totaled 30 receptions for 268 yards and three touchdowns (one rushing) in 12 games. The fourth-round pick spent the majority of the season as Big Blue’s starting tight end and was putting together an impressive rookie campaign before suffering a gruesome injury in Week 7.

Bellinger suffered a scary eye injury in Week 7 that kept him sidelined until Week 13. Upon his return to the lineup, Bellinger struggled to make a full return to form, failing to haul in a touchdown reception during the second half of the regular season.

He did, however, put points on the board in the Giants’ postseason victory over the Minnesota Vikings. All four of Bellinger’s scores came from inside the red zone. When New York gets into scoring distance, Bellinger is a target that Daniel Jones can rely on.

The addition of Waller may remove Bellinger from the starting lineup. However, the second-year tight end is still expected to see plenty of playing time. Daniel Jones excels from 12-personnel (two-tight end sets), which should become a staple in Big Blue’s offense this season.

Daniel Jones on early down attempts from 12 personnel (per Warren Sharp):

  • +0.30 EPA/att (#7)
  • 9.3 YPA (#4)
  • 53% success (#12)
  • 85% comp (#3) on 48 att

Daniel Jones on early down attempts from 11 personnel:

  • +0.06 EPA/att (#15)
  • 6.9 YPA (#20)
  • 46% success (#23)
  • 69% comp (#10) on 295 att

Additionally, Waller spends much of his time on the field aligned as a slot or outside wide receiver. Bellinger is more of a traditional tight end. On plays where Waller lines up in a two-point stance, Bellinger can put his hand in the dirt and be Jones’ security blanket underneath.

The addition of Waller should not discourage fans from expressing confidence in Bellinger. In fact, Waller’s presence in the lineup may open things up for Bellinger as he faces easier matchup opportunities while defenses focus their attention on Waller. Sleeping on Bellinger could be dangerous as the stars are aligning for a breakout sophomore season.