It has been quite some time since the New York Giants had a well-rounded tight end. Many remember the days of Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard — both players came up big during the team’s Super Bowl runs back in 2007 and 2010.
However, Big Blue has rolled with Evan Engram the past few seasons, a polarizing athlete who provided superior agility and speed from the position but failed miserably to catch the football and underwhelmed as a blocker. Engram spent five seasons with the Giants, but new management is looking to go in an entirely different direction.
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The New York Giants might’ve snagged a gem in Daniel Bellinger:
In the most recent NFL draft, the Giants drafted Daniel Bellinger out of San Diego State. Bellinger is a 6’5″, 253-pound tight end who features phenomenal hands. Bellinger didn’t drop a single pass in 2021, hosting a 4.2% drop rate in his career. In addition, he’s a fantastic run blocker who can hold his own in pass protection as well.
Bellinger recently spoke about the transition to the NFL and the small differences in route running. He specifically noted the small details being a far more prominent variable at the next level, whereas the collegiate field was far more talent-based.
“This level is a lot more particular on the small details, whether it’s one-foot step, one kind of leverage on a route, compared to college,” Bellinger stated via the Giants’ official podcast. “College wasn’t as particular on the small details because sometimes you’re just straight up better than the guy across from you. But at this level, everybody is good. More often than not, the guy across from you is going to be better. So, in order to beat him, you have to win with small details and the small technical things in that kind of aspect.”
Bellinger knows he has several skill sets that can translate to the NFL. He specifically hits on his hybrid mentality, featuring as a receiver and blocker in multiple phases.
“I’m all over, a hybrid,” Bellinger said. “Of course, you know the tight ends run block, pass block. But definitely one that’s going to get his hand in the dirt, and another that’s going to get open and catch some balls. One that does kind of both … I want to show that I do have a lot of potential, not just in the run game, but in the passing game as well.”
Having an aggressive tight end in the trenches will be music to Giants fan’s ears after years of inadequacy.
Bellinger only tallied 353 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver last year, but his upside is undeniable. He featured the biggest hands of any tight end in the most recent draft class, ranking in the 99th percentile with 11-inch hands. In addition, he was above average in multiple athletic scores, including bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, and three-cone. He also ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, indicating his straight-line speed.
Drafting Bellinger in the 4th round looks like a steal up to this point, but the coaching staff will ultimately determine how far he goes.