The New York Giants entered the 2022 offseason with questions at tight end. They moved on from multiple veterans they had a year ago. Joe Schoen was limited with cap space, and the team could not add a proven player in free agency. Then, in the draft, the Giants finally got a tight end with upside in the fourth round.
That fourth-round selection, Daniel Bellinger, has stepped up for the Giants on their way to a 4-1 start.
Physically, Bellinger was a prospect with good enough and above-average hand size. Athletically, he proved himself very well with speed and explosiveness.
The rookie just turned 22 years old a few weeks ago and is off to an encouraging start in this new era of Giants football.
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First-year TE Daniel Bellinger has stepped up for New York Giants:
To date, Bellinger has logged at least 29 snaps in every game for the Giants. Each week, his percentage of snaps played has done nothing but rise.
In the passing game, Bellinger has been targeted 12 times this year and caught 10 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Where Bellinger has also given the Giants key contributions is in the running game. Per PFF, Bellinger has earned a stellar run-blocking grade of 60.6. He has committed just one penalty and, in three games, has had a run-blocking grade of 62.9 or better.
Giants head coach Brian Daboll recently spoke on how he has coached Bellinger, “I’ve been on him, pretty early on.” Bellinger has the right approach as a rookie and has embraced Daboll’s tough coaching, “I just think he’s hard on all young players, not just myself, all the rookies, I just know he has been on me to keep pushing and keep getting better. He’s been on us a lot.”
Bellinger spoke on trusting Daboll with his terrific experience, saying, “He does know a lot about the tight end position, you can see that with how he gets on the tight ends specifically.”
Tight end is one of the hardest positions to make an immediate impact as a rookie. Coach Daboll understands that and ultimately feels good about where Bellinger is at. He stated, “He’s come a long way … He’ll be the first to tell you he’s got to keep improving. I’d say he’s a tough-minded individual. Tight end is a difficult position to go from college to the NFL. We ask him to do quite a bit, been very happy how he’s approached things.”
Bellinger had some production in his final three years of college. He was an intriguing prospect with some of his measurables and athletic traits. Most importantly, he seems to be working hard, accepting coaching, and eager to keep getting better. Bellinger could end up being a pivotal addition in Schoen’s first draft as the Giants’ lead decision-maker.