The New York Giants kicked off their 2023 off-season training program with the first day of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on Monday.
With fresh faces spread throughout the squad and a sense of optimism brewing, the Giants aim to make significant progress in the coming season. This optimism is fueled by a robust rookie class and numerous high-quality free-agent signings.
Noteworthy performers from the New York Giants’ Day 1 of OTAs include:
1.) Darren Waller
One of the New York Giants’ most significant offseason acquisitions was Darren Waller, previously of the Las Vegas Raiders. In this exchange, General Manager Joe Schoen parted with their third-round pick.
Waller boasts two years at the NFL level with over 1,100 yards, achieved a career 70% catch rate, and scored nine touchdowns during the 2020 season, his best to date.
In an effort to compensate for the lack of a WR1, Waller provides a similar level of output when fit. During the first day of OTAs, Waller was heavily involved, particularly in the red zone, where he caught two over-the-shoulder touchdown passes.
According to the Giants, he may have secured a third touchdown reception, but it was unclear whether he remained in bounds.
It’s evident that the Giants have ambitious plans for Waller as a driving force in the red zone, a prospect that should excite the fans.
2.) Daniel Bellinger
The Giants’ other starting tight end, Daniel Bellinger, also performed well during Monday’s session.
In his 2022 rookie season, he caught 30 passes out of 35 targets, achieving an 85.7% catch rate and 268 yards. He also scored three touchdowns. Although Bellinger’s primary value lies in his pivotal blocking role in the run game, he’s an effective pass catcher that should significantly bolster the passing attack.
3.) Nick McCloud
In 2022, the Giants heavily relied on cornerback Nick McCloud to step up. This former undrafted free agent, signed by the Buffalo Bills in 2021, participated in 583 total snaps, conceding 296 yards in coverage and four touchdowns.
Considering the challenging position he found himself in, McCloud performed admirably, and he’s expected to compete for a backup spot in the cornerback unit.
After drafting Deonte Banks, the Giants have their starting lineup set. However, McCloud could serve as a primary backup, adding depth to the backend.
On Monday, McCloud deflected two passes to prevent touchdowns, one of which was against Waller.