Why rookie Daniel Bellinger could be the Giants’ starting tight end in 2022

daniel bellinger, san diego state, giants

The New York Giants addressed all of their major needs in the 2022 NFL Draft. With their first two picks, the Giants addressed their two biggest needs in offensive tackle and pass-rusher. But in the middle and late rounds of the draft, the Giants were strategic with their draft picks. One position that the Giants needed to gain talent at was tight end. The Giants might have found their starting tight end for the upcoming 2022 season in fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger.

Why Daniel Bellinger could start for the Giants

The Giants drafted tight end Daniel Bellinger with the 112th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. This was the fourth-round pick that the Giants received in their 2021 trade-down with the Chicago Bears. The Giants selected the San Diego State tight end with this pick, potentially yielding a starter in the fourth round.

Daniel Bellinger could be the Giants’ starting tight end this season. The San Diego State product is as sure-handed as they come and appears to be a perfect fit in Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka’s offensive scheme. Bellinger was utilized a lot on screens and short passes during his collegiate career. Over in Kansas City, Mike Kafka and the Chiefs turned Travis Kelce into one of the NFL’s best tight ends using him in a similar fashion to the way San Diego State used Daniel Bellinger.

Bellinger averaged 14.5 yards after the catch per reception, which ranked first of the prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft class (PFF). Daniel Bellinger is also a willing blocker and a secure catcher. He had 0 dropped passes in the 2021 season to go along with a 4.2% drop rate for his entire collegiate career.

Daniel Bellinger is an athletic tight end with a well-rounded skillset. He is 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, and moves quickly with the ball in his hands. Bellinger racked up 31 receptions for 357 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2021. The Giants needed to find themselves a new tight end, and it seems like Joe Schoen delivered with the draft pick of Daniel Bellinger in round four.

Alabama OT Evan Neal listed as Giants’ most likely pick at five overall by ESPN

evan neal, giants

The 2022 NFL Draft is only a day away. The New York Giants are in an exciting position with two top-ten draft picks in the first round. The Giants hold picks five and seven overall this year and are excited for the opportunity to land two of the best prospects in this year’s class. New York’s options are plentiful, but most analysts predict that the team will be drafting an offensive tackle with its first pick. The question is, which tackle are the Giants most likely to select? Based on things he is hearing around the league, Jordan Raanan of ESPN lists Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal as the most likely player to be drafted by the New York Giants with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

There are many strong options in contention for the Giants’ fifth overall pick. Other offensive tackles like Charles Cross and Ikem Ekwonu are also strong possibilities. Defensive prospects like Ahmad Gardner could also be considered. But, as Jordan Raanan points out, “Neal makes a ton of sense for the Giants.” Evan Neal has experience playing both left and right tackle, giving him an edge over the other offensive tackles in this draft class.

Why Evan Neal makes the most sense for the Giants

The New York Giants need to upgrade their offensive line. Left tackle Andrew Thomas developed into a great player last season, but opposite of him, there is a huge hole at right tackle. The combination of Nate Solder and Matt Peart proved to be insufficient during the 2021 season. Thankfully for New York, there are a few offensive tackle prospects that make up the top talents in this year’s draft class.

The Giants have options at five overall if they are selecting an offensive tackle. Evan Neal (Alabama), Ikem Ekwonu (NC State), and Charle Cross (Mississippi State) are all strong contenders. Really, the Giants cannot go wrong. However, Evan Neal stands out as the best fit for Big Blue.

Evan Neal is the only one of these offensive tackle prospects that has spent a significant amount of time playing right tackle. Neal started at right tackle for Alabama in 2020, playing a total of 765 career snaps at the position. In comparison, Charles Cross played 4 career snaps at right tackle and Ikem Ekwonu played 1 career snap at right tackle.

Evan Neal is a mammoth of a human being with a well-rounded skill set as an offensive tackle. He is solid as both a run-blocker and a pass-protector. Neal competed against the best of the best at Alabama and should have little struggle while transitioning to the NFL game. The New York Giants would be wise to make Evan Neal the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

New York Giants could double down on the offensive line with a trade down in the first round

zion johnson, giants

The New York Giants are interested in trading down in the first round of the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. The Giants hold two top-ten picks in this year’s draft. The fifth and seventh overall picks are highly valuable and the Giants could greatly improve their team with this draft capital. New York has the ability to draft two top-ten prospects with these picks. But they could also trade down in the first round and gain even more capital. The Giants are almost inevitably drafting an offensive lineman in the first round of this year’s draft. Could they target two offensive linemen in a trade-down scenario?

The rumors indicate that the Giants will be drafting the top offensive tackle available with their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Many believe the Giants will draft the best defender available with their second pick. But if they trade down, New York’s list of options extends quite far. They could still target a defender, but the Giants could even take an alternative route.

The New York Giants offensive line has been an atrocity for years. It is an issue that new general manager Joe Schoen plans on fixing immediately. Schoen will address this need in the draft, reportedly with more than one pick. He could place a heavy emphasis on rebuilding the offensive line and invest two first-round picks into the position group.

Offensive linemen the Giants could target in a first-round trade-down

The Giants are inevitably landing one of the top offensive tackles in this year’s draft class with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Either Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu, or Charles Cross are likely to wear a Big Blue cap on Thursday night. But these prospects will not fall outside the top ten. The Giants could target other offensive linemen to pair with these tackles later on in the first round, though.

After drafting a tackle with their first pick, the Giants could target an interior offensive lineman with their second pick. There are a few prospects that make sense in a trade-down scenario. Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green, and Boston College guard Zion Johnson could be late first-round picks.

Walking out of the first round with two potential long-term starters on the offensive line would be a dream scenario for the Giants. New York could then focus its attention on other positions of need during the later rounds of the draft and look toward the future with comfortability regarding their front line. If the New York Giants trade down in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, they should consider targeting a second offensive lineman to create a foundation up front for years to come.

Giants showing interest in physical Alabama linebacker prospect

The New York Giants are showing interest in many of the 2022 NFL Draft class’s top linebacker prospects. New York has shown interest in mid-round prospects like Chad Muma and Leo Chenal. Adding to that list, the Giants are showing interest in mid-round Alabama linebacker Christian Harris.

According to Jordan Schultz, the Giants had a top-30 visit with Christian Harris out of Alabama. Christian Harris is a physical run-defending linebacker that the Giants could target in the middle rounds of this year’s draft.

What could Christian Harris bring to the Giants?

Christian Harris is an incredibly athletic linebacker prospect. Harris is undersized but makes up for it with athleticism. His relative athletic score (RAS) was 9.07. Harris’s score was boosted by his elite 40-yard dash time (4.44s). Christian Harris is fast, agile, and explosive, despite being undersized for the linebacker position. He stands in at only 6-foot-one, 226 pounds. But Harris is known for playing larger than he stands.

The Draft Network describes Christian Harris as “a physical presence that can deliver physical blows to ball-carriers.” Harris is a real thumper in the running game, but he also makes an impact as a pass-rusher. According to PFF, Christian Harris ranks third amongst SEC Linebackers with the most QB pressures since 2014 with 56 total.

Christian Harris started for Alabama since his true freshman year. As a three-year starter, Harris strung together three productive seasons in his college career. His tackle, sack, and tackle for loss totals increased every year. As a junior in 2021, Christian Harris recorded 80 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks.

TDN projects Harris’s ideal role as “a space linebacker that is responsible for making tackles in space and covering TEs and RBs out of the backfield.” If drafted by the Giants, Christian Harris would be a capable secondary linebacker to play alongside Blake Martinez.

Where Christian Harris needs to improve, however, is in coverage. According to PFF, Harris allowed nearly 1,000 yards in coverage over the past two seasons. In year one, the Giants would likely utilize Christian Harris as run-defender and rotational pass-rusher. His usage will likely be limited to two downs. Christian Harris has some incredible athletic ability that could make him an intriguing prospect for the New York Giants to draft and develop in their defense.

Elite run-stuffing linebacker prospect that the Giants could target in 2nd round

chad muma, giants

The 2022 NFL Draft is right around the corner and the New York Giants are preparing to complete their roster overhaul. New York needs to upgrade many parts of their roster on both sides of the ball. New defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s scheme is reliant on good linebackers that excel in run defense. In the 2022 NFL Draft, there are prospects that would fit seamlessly into this scheme, like Wyoming’s Chad Muma.

Chad Muma is an elite run-stuffing linebacker prospect that the Giants could target in the second round of this year’s draft. The Giants need depth behind Blake Martinez, the team’s starting inside linebacker who is coming off of an ACL tear suffered in the 2021 season. Chad Muma could fit the bill and transition seamlessly into Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme.

What could Chad Muma bring to the Giants?

Chad Muma is a projected second-round pick in this year’s draft. The Wyoming linebacker prospect has been praised for his run-defending and legit size and athleticism at his position. Muma posted an elite relative athletic score (RAS) of 9.77. He has elite explosion combined with good speed, agility, and size.

The Giants would be getting a true three-down inside linebacker in Chad Muma. He excels as a run defender but also has the ability to make an impact in the passing game. The Draft Network describes Chad Muma as “excellent” in the passing game because he is “athletic enough in coverage to cover running backs on routes.” This is a trait that the Giants’ linebackers are currently lacking.

According to Pro Football Focus, Chad Muma was the second highest-graded (91.1) 2021 FBS linebacker in run defense for this year’s rookie class. In 2021, Muma generated 68 total defensive stops, three picks and 21 pressures for Wyoming (PFF). He was a tackle machine, racking up an insane 142 total tackles in the 2021 season. Chad Muma also added 8 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions this year.

The New York Giants will be in the market for a linebacker in this year’s draft. Many analysts have mocked Chad Muma and other linebacker prospects to the Giants in the second and third rounds. Linebacker has become a position of need for the Giants. As new general manager Joe Schoen rebuilds this roster, he will need to improve this position for Wink Martindale. Chad Muma has a rare, versatile skillset. Wink Martindale emphasizes versatility. The Giants could secure Chad Muma in round two and develop him into a stud in the middle of their defense.

Giants could target linebacker in 2nd round to fit Wink Martindale’s scheme

leo chenal, giants

The New York Giants entirely reworked their coaching staff this offseason. After firing head coach Joe Judge, Brian Daboll took his place and hired Mike Kafka as offensive coordinator and Don “Wink” Martindale as defensive coordinator. Kafka and Martindale are exciting hirings expected to shift the Giants’ schemes significantly. On the defensive side of the ball, Martindale is a proven coordinator who achieved great success for years with the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants need to build their roster to fit Martindale’s scheme, though, and linebacker prospect Leo Chenal might be a perfect fit in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Leo Chenal is an exciting linebacker prospect out of Wisconsin. Chenal is a premium athlete with a refined pass-rushing skillset. Wink Martindale is known to run a blitz-heavy defensive scheme. Linebackers are frequently sent as extra pass-rushers in Martindale’s scheme. The Giants could target Leo Chenal in the second round of this year’s draft and perfectly fit him into Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme.

What could Leo Chenal bring to the Giants?

The New York Giants are in need of reinforcements on defense. Linebacker is a huge need for the Giants with Blake Martinez coming off of an ACL tear and little talent on the roster behind him. If the Giants are targeting a linebacker in the 2022 NFL Draft, Leo Chenal out of Wisconsin makes perfect sense. Chenal is a phenomenal pass-rushing linebacker whose “scheme fit” according to TDN is in a “blitz heavy, aggressive defense with quality coverage options in the secondary.” The scheme described sounds a lot like Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme.

Leo Chenal earned incredibly high grades on Pro Football Focus’s scale. His 92.1 overall grade makes him the highest-graded Power 5 linebacker since 2020. In the 2021 season, Chenal recorded a 91.5 PFF Grade, the highest by a Wisconsin defender since 2014. Leo Chenal totaled 115 tackles in 11 games this past season. He also racked up an insane 18.5 tackles for loss to go along with 8 sacks on the season.

Chenal is a premium athlete at the linebacker position. He recorded a 9.99 relative athletic score (RAS) at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. Leo’s score ranked 4 out of 2188 LB from 1987 to 2022. In fact, his athletic score compares very similarly to former Carolina Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Keuchly.

Leo Chenal comes in at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds with 31-inch arms and 9.75-inch hands. Comparatively, Luke Keuchly was 6-foot-3, 242 pounds, also possessing 31-inch arms and 9.75-inch hands. Chenal and Keuchly also scored very similarly in the 40-yard dash, 10-yard and 20-yard splits, 3-cone, and the shuttle.

Video Analysis

For further analysis on Leo Chenal and the way he fits into the New York Giants’ defensive scheme, check out the episode of Fireside Giants below!

How early should the New York Giants consider drafting a tight end?

jeremy ruckert, jets, ohio state

The New York Giants have a glaring hole on offense. In 2021, Evan Engram was the team’s starting tight end with Kyle Rudolph playing as the second man in the lineup. Behind Rudolph and Engram was Kaden Smith. All three of these tight ends are no longer on the New York Giants roster. The Giants need to draft a tight end in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. But how early should the Giants consider drafting a tight end?

How early should the New York Giants consider drafting a tight end?

The Giants have greater needs than the tight end position in the 2022 NFL Draft. New York needs to add talent to their offensive line and pass-rushing department, first and foremost. But with the nine draft picks that the Giants possess across the seven rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, they need to target a tight end. There are a number of talented tight end prospects available in the middle rounds of this year’s draft class.

There are not many high-end tight end prospects in this year’s class (not that the Giants need to target a high-end prospect at that position). Only two tight end prospects rank in PFF’s top-100 on their Big Board this year. The Draft Network has five tight ends ranked in their top-100 prospects. But in all likelihood, the Giants will consider it to be too rich to draft a tight end with a pick inside the top-100.

The Giants are likely to wait until the middle-to-late rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft to draft a tight end. Joe Schoen helped the Buffalo Bills find Dawson Knox in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Buffalo Bills’ roster was in a similar position to that of the Giants’ current roster. Schoen and the Bills fixed their tight end problem by drafting Dawson Knox in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Knox has been the starter ever since, catching 9 touchdown passes in 2021.

When the Giants decide to draft a tight end, it will likely be in round three or later. Some prospects that they could target include the likes of Jeremy Ruckert (Ohio State), Trey McBride (Colorado State), and Charlie Kolar (Iowa State). All of these prospects are projected to be drafted in the middle rounds. Keep an eye on them when the New York Giants are on the clock.

One underrated defensive back the Giants could snag in the 2nd round

jalen pitre, giants

The New York Giants have expressed a significant amount of interest in drafting a cornerback in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Many analysts project that the Giants will select Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner with one of their two top-ten picks in the first round. But if the Giants do not take Gardner in round one, they will need to target a defensive back later in the draft. Jalen Pitre is one underrated defensive back prospect that the Giants could snag in the second round.

Jalen Pitre played a mix of safety and slot cornerback during his collegiate career at Baylor. He lined up primarily in the slot according to PFF, but Pitre was an impact run-defender. This ability could cause the Baylor star to be converted to safety in the NFL. The Giants have a need at both cornerback and safety, though. The imminent departure of James Bradberry will leave the Giants thin outside. The recent departures of both Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers leave the Giants with a lack of talent over the top. Drafting Jalen Pitre in the second could potentially fill either one of these holes for Big Blue.

What could Jalen Pitre bring to the Giants?

Jalen Pitre is an incredibly underrated prospect in this year’s draft class. Some analysts are shocked by Pitre’s current draft stock and feel like he should be a first-round prospect. Jalen Pitre’s abilities as a run-defender make him a truly special defensive back. According to Pro Football Focus, since 2020, Pitre has posted a 92.9 Run Defense Grade (2nd among FBS CBs),  34 run stops (1st), and 19 tackles for loss/no gain (1st).

The Giants already have a couple of young, promising slot cornerbacks on their roster. Both Darnay Holmes and Aaron Robinson have flashed the potential to be solid starting nickels. Jalen Pitre might not fit in with the Giants’ roster as a slot cornerback, but he could make an impact as a safety. Xavier McKinney and Julian Love are the projected starters on the back-end for New York. It would be wise for the Giants to add some more talent to the mix.

Pitre is 5’11 190 lbs and plays the game with peak physicality. He played several alignments on Baylor’s defense. As The Draft Network describes, “on any given play you can find Pitre playing FS, SS, ILB, or OLB.” TDN projects Jalen Pitre’s “ideal role” in the NFL as a “strong safety/primary role to be an inset run defender.” Furthermore, TDN says Pitre is a scheme fit for a “Cover 3 zone scheme” defense.

The Giants hired Wink Martindale as their defensive coordinator this offseason. Martindale is known to be creative with the way he utilizes his safeties. Martindale’s defenses typically feature a single-high safety in a cover-one man or cover-three zone. This could make Jalen Pitre a scheme fit with the Giants.

Jalen Pitre allowed 0 touchdowns in coverage during his collegiate career and snagged 4 interceptions. Jalen also recorded 25 total QB pressures in the 2021 season (PFF). Wink Martindale loves to get creative with the pass-rush, sending many defensive backs on blitzes.

The New York Giants need to add talent to their secondary. Jalen Pitre is a versatile defensive back that could fit seamlessly in Wink Martindale’s fast-paced defensive scheme and make an impact as early as his rookie season.

Giants could pair Andrew Thomas with former Georgia teammate, childhood friend in the draft

Jamaree Salyer

The New York Giants are placing an emphasis on the offensive line this offseason. The Giants are expected to draft numerous offensive linemen with their nine picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Many predict that the Giants will take an offensive tackle in the first round, but the Giants should not cease their search for upgrades after day one. There are plenty of mid-round offensive line prospects that the Giants should consider targeting like Georgia left guard Jamaree Salyer.

Jamaree Salyer makes sense for the Giants for a few reasons. Firstly, he was an exceptional left tackle for the Georgia Bulldogs that is expected to switch to left guard in the pros, a position of need for Big Blue. Secondly, Jamaree Salyer already has a connection to the Giants via left tackle Andrew Thomas. Salyer and Thomas were not only teammates at Georgia for a brief moment, but they are also childhood friends. The Giants could pair Andrew Thomas with his childhood friend and former college teammate Jamaree Salyer in the 2022 NFL Draft.

What could Jamaree Salyer bring to the Giants?

The New York Giants could target Georgia left tackle Jamaree Salyer in the 2022 NFL Draft. Salyer played tackle in college but seems primed for a position switch in the pros. Salyer is projected as a starter at left guard in the NFL, a position the Giants could be looking to upgrade.

The Giants’ left tackle position is solidified by Andrew Thomas. Thomas, another Georgia product, was drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and developed into a stud this past year. Jamaree Salyer and Andrew Thomas are childhood friends, which could bode well for Salyer’s potential development playing alongside his buddy Thomas with the Giants.

Jamaree Salyer is a dependable offensive lineman. He has strong hands and only allowed four pressures in 2021 (PFF). Salyer is really strong and powerful and excels in pass protection. Being a solid pass-blocker is a key trait in new head coach Brian Daboll’s offensive scheme, making Salyer a good fit with Big Blue.

Jamaree Salyer could also provide the Giants with versatility on the offensive line. He primarily played left tackle in college and is expected to be a left guard in the NFL. But Salyer was used as a utility man in the first year of his collegiate career. Jamaree has experience playing minimal snaps at center, right guard, and right tackle.

The Giants should target Jamaree Salyer in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft as a developmental starter at left guard. He has the potential to start and play at a high level in the NFL. Salyer has some things to clean up in his pass-protection technique, and he needs to improve all around as a run-blocker. But starter-potential is there and Jamaree’s connection with Andrew Thomas makes him a perfect fit with the New York Giants.

Giants eyeing trade-back from 5th overall, per reports

new york giants, joe schoen

The 2022 NFL Draft is coming up and the New York Giants are rich in draft capital this year. The Giants own the fifth and seventh overall picks in the first round of the draft. This gives Big Blue an opportunity to secure two of the draft’s best prospects in this year’s class. But it also gives the Giants an opportunity to extract an incredible amount of value from a trade. According to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, a trade-down is something the Giants would “love” to accomplish.

Giants eyeing trade-back from 5th overall, per reports

The New York Giants have lucked out with the positioning of their two top-ten draft picks. Picks five and seven are positioned perfectly in front of quarterback-needy teams. Picking sixth overall is the Panthers who could be in the market to draft a quarterback. Picking eighth is the Falcons, who could also be considering drafting a quarterback.

Daniel Jeremiah provided great context on the desirability of the Giants’ fifth overall draft pick. Jeremiah explained that “if you want [a quarterback] and you think Carolina might take one at six, then you’ve got to get to five.”

“And everybody I’ve talked said the Giants would love to get out of the fifth pick.” – Daniel Jeremiah via The Pat McAfee Show

The Giants want to trade down, likely to acquire an additional first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. A trade-up for a quarterback would cost any team an arm and a leg, and the Giants would be able to gather a load of draft capital in a trade-down. However, it does not seem like there is a huge trade market for the Giants’ fifth overall pick. Jeremiah explained that “everybody [he’s] talked to wants to go in reverse,” but he has not “found anybody that’s in a hurry to go forward.”

Whether or not a team will actually trade up and target a quarterback has yet to be determined. Some rumors have swirled and reported interest in some of the top quarterbacks is buzzing, inflating draft stocks for Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett. If these rumors heat up, the New York Giants could capitalize on the desires of the market with their draft supply and acquire a king’s ransom for the fifth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.