On the day he was drafted – April 30, to be precise – Daniel Bellinger listed the tight ends he watched especially closely. Travis Kells in passing game. George Kittel in the pass and run game. Dallas Goedert for his holistic technique.
Less than two months later, Bellinger was hanging out with these established NFL players, and several other marquee tight ends as well. The Giants hope that what Bellinger picked up during that brief stay in Nashville is on par with their promising rookie this season.
“It was untrue, because a year ago I was watching these people on TV, waiting for the opportunity,” Bellinger told The Post. “Next year I’m going to be talking to these guys, chopping it up, talking about football and seeing how they work. It was really cool.”
After his first spring assignment with the Giants and before reporting to his first NFL training camp, in late June Bellinger joined the second Tight End University, a special camp and the brainchild of Kells, Kittel, and former NFL tight end. Traveled to Vanderbilt University to attend. Greg Olsen becomes broadcaster. For three days, Bellinger — a fourth-round draft pick from San Diego State — gathered other rookies, mid-level veterans and established stars and analyzed all things tight ends.
Putting his astonishment aside, Bellinger absorbed everything he could and the results are visible so far this summer.
45 in the short and intermediate passes during the first four days of Giants camp in blue howling, mostly from Daniel Jones, shows how the coaching staff views Bellinger. He’s been dealing mostly with the opening offense and it won’t be a surprise if this is where Bellinger lines up on September 11, when the Giants open their season against the Titans in – you guessed it – Nashville.
“Looking at how they do it,” Bellinger said, recalling what he took from Tight End University. “They’re so technical in the details that once I’m able to work out those fine details, it’s so small, a move can give you 5 yards for a 10-, 20-yard advantage. Is.”
Bellinger said “the best thing” he thinks was that he exited the tight end conference, listening to Kelsey, the Chiefs star, talking about reading and reacting to what the defense was presenting. Were were
The player he admits he was most excited to meet was Darren Waller, the Ravens’ sixth-rounder in 2015, who has developed into an explosive pass-catching force for the Raiders. Bellinger is from Las Vegas and so Waller is his hometown tight end.
“I thought he was huge personally,” Bellinger said. “He’s 6-6, he’s a good guy. He does these release moves, it’s crazy. Try to learn something from him.”
Bellinger at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds of musculature has all the size he needs. The new front-office regime believes Bellinger will be a more capable interceptor and sees his modest output as a college receiver — 68 receptions for 771 yards and five touchdowns in 31 games — a function of limited opportunity. As in, not as of limited capacity.
There was a known sign from Bellinger when his San Diego state stats were mentioned.
“I got this question a lot in college, number, number,” he said. “How I look at it is, ‘How can you help a team win,’ right? If it means I’m getting 1,000 yards, fine, but if it means I get 100 yards. have to do and put our hands in the dirt – all it takes for us to win is how i see it. in college, we didn’t get that many numbers but last season we had the most wins, so my For him it is about winning and doing whatever it takes to win.
Indeed, the Aztecs were 12-2 in 2021, with Bellinger scoring a career-high 31 passes.
Bellinger reported to his first NFL camp and was immediately placed on the list physically unable to perform with a quad injury. This surprised him a bit. “I knew while I was at it I was doing whatever I could to make it go away,” he said. Sure enough, Bellinger was cleared on Day 1 and didn’t leave a single picture.
The same cannot be said for Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins, two veterans new to the tight team, who have both missed some time so far. At this point, it would be puzzling if Bellinger doesn’t emerge as the No. 1 tight end – although, to be fair, he hasn’t fully engaged in padded practice yet; Which comes on Monday.
Not every rookie gets a chance to fight for the No. 1 spot. This excited Bellinger.
“Oh yeah, I feel there’s a tremendous opportunity for that,” he said. “I’m grateful for that but I had to strike that opportunity.”