The Expanding Role of Daniel Bellinger

Daniel Bellinger

Daniel Bellinger may turn out to be the steal of the draft for the New York Giants. The rookie was selected in the 4th-round out of San Diego State and had a very impressive training camp. Not only did he make the team, he is the number one tight end on the depth chart. And with every game he plays, his role in the offense expands.

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Daniel Bellinger is Improving His Skillset as a Pass-Catching Tight End

At San Diego State, Bellinger was primarily used as a blocking tight end as opposed to a pass-catching tight end. And that is a big reason that he fell into the 4th round. But Bellinger strives to be used in every facet of the game. Fortunately for him, he was invited to Tight End University over the summer to improve his game alongside superstar tight ends across the NFL.

Tight End U is a camp put on by George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Greg Olsen with the goal of raising the overall level of the tight end position. The camp is riddled with the league’s best and was an incredible opportunity for Bellinger. To see the drills these guys do to improve and to have the opportunity to bounce questions off of them is especially important for a rookie. He has been taught the little nuances that separate the good tight ends from the best in the world. And he began using this knowledge before he played a single game in the NFL.

Developing Chemistry With Daniel Jones

It is tough to develop chemistry with your quarterback in such a short amount of time. Repetition is the only way to understand the tendencies and rhythm of another player. But in just three weeks, it seems as though Bellinger is winning over the trust of quarterback Daniel Jones. They are becoming more comfortable with each other each week. 

Week By Week Progression

Bellinger wasn’t targeted in the passing game in Week 1 but was involved in the run game. He helped Saquon Barkley explode for 164 rushing yards on 18 carries. In Week 2, he was able to haul in his first NFL touchdown catch for 16 yards as he dove for the end zone and broke the plane. And in Week 3, his role continued to expand. Bellinger caught four passes for 40 yards and was targeted the second most of any player on the team. The Giants are in dire need of playmakers not named Saquon Barkley to step up. Despite Jones playing well, the receivers have not. And that may signal an even larger role for the rookie tight end moving forward.

Giants Receivers Aren’t Producing

The Giants have spent big money on wideouts and have not gotten production from them. Kenny Golladay signed a $72 million contract and has effectively been benched for practice squad players. He only got two snaps in Week 2 and was upset about it. But he was unable to catch any of his three targets in Week 3, including a 4th quarter drop that was followed by boos from the home crowd.

Kadarius Toney was a first-round rookie in 2021 but has been plagued by injuries so far in his career. He was unable to play last week with a hamstring issue. And, to the horror of Giants fans, Sterling Shepard tore his ACL on the final offensive snap of the game on Monday night. Jones will be without his most proven receiver for the rest of the year.

But as his trust in his wideouts diminishes, Jones seems to be turning to the rookie tight end more and more. And without his favorite receiver moving forward, it seems inevitable that Bellinger’s role in this offense will only grow as the season continues.

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