Giants’ tight end unit could be in line for another major change

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State, new york giants, theo johnson
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are awaiting an official announcement from veteran tight end Darren Waller regarding his potential retirement. Waller has been taking time to resolve personal matters before finalizing his decision, leaving a slight possibility that he might continue playing in 2024.

Uncertainty Around Darren Waller’s Future with the Giants

However, expectations lean towards Waller’s departure, which would leave the Giants with two primary tight ends and several depth pieces competing for roster spots. Daniel Bellinger, despite being underutilized in the passing game last season, is secured in one of the primary slots. Looking ahead, the Giants are expected to involve him more actively in their offensive strategies. Additionally, rookie Theo Johnson is likely to receive an increased share of targets.

Selected in the 4th round of the draft, Theo Johnson possesses a formidable stature at 6’6″ and 264 pounds, ideal for a tight end. His last season at Penn State was productive, with 341 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, particularly demonstrating his effectiveness in the red zone.

Theo Johnson’s Potential Impact

Johnson achieved a 75.6% reception rate last season, with 38.1% of his snaps coming from the slot and 48.1% in line. Of his 341 total yards, 170 were after the catch, averaging 5 yards per reception in that category. His impressive speed was highlighted at the combine, where he ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash, ranking second in athleticism score according to Next Gen Stats. has projected him as a potential starter, aligning with the Giants’ hopes for his development.

NFL: Combine, theo johnson, new york giants
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants selected Johnson with the expectation of finding significant value in the 4th round, given his third-round projection. His physical attributes are reminiscent of Jimmy Graham, possessing the mobility and hands necessary to impact the passing game. Although his route-running may need further refinement, the Giants plan to invest time in maximizing his potential, especially as a blocker in the run game.

A duo of Bellinger and Johnson is anticipated to effectively handle the tight end responsibilities for the Giants in 2024. However, if Waller decides to continue his career with the team, it could provide Johnson a valuable year to develop behind an experienced player, potentially enhancing his readiness for a more significant role in the future.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: