The New York Giants will be without one of their rookie draft picks for the remainder of training camp — and likely beyond.
Safety Dane Belton, a fourth-round pick out of Iowa in the 2022 NFL Draft, was spotted in a sling at Monday’s training camp practice and reportedly has a broken collarbone.
Jordan Raanan of ESPN was first on the breaking news:
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“Giants rookie safety Dane Belton has a broken collarbone, per sources,” Raanan reported on Twitter. “Tough break for the fourth-round pick. Was making a real strong impression. Belton will be sidelined an extended period of time. There still remains hope he can be ready for the start of the season.”
Tom Rock of Newsday also chimed in on the news and was not as optimistic, saying that it’s “probably a mid-season return” for Belton.
Here’s a photo of Belton at Monday’s practice in a sling, via Dan Duggan on Twitter:
Before suffering his injury, Belton was seeing the field as the Giants’ third safety behind starters Xavier McKinney and Julian Love. During a practice session over the weekend, he made a leaping interception against starting quarterback Daniel Jones.
Heading into this year’s draft, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com described Belton as a “physical” defender with the ability to cover tight ends.
“Belton’s interception total and overall ball production from Iowa’s ‘Cash’ spot certainly grab your attention, but they might not be indicative of his NFL projection,” Zierlein wrote for NFL.com before the draft. “Belton has average size, can line up over tight ends and excels in short-zone coverages, where his ball skills and anticipation bring him to the action.”
The loss of Belton is concerning, as the Giants were already shaky in the defensive backfield and are now missing a promising rookie.
Who is the Next Man Up to Replace Dane Belton?
Losing Dane Belton definitely hurts, but the Giants are somewhat prepared after bringing back veteran safety Andrew Adams last week. Adams is a former undrafted free agent who spent his first two seasons with the Giants, after going undrafted in 2016.
Adams, 30, spent the past four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he became a Super Bowl champion following the 2020 NFL season. He has seven career interceptions in 87 games played (35 starts) with the Giants and Bucs.
Adams’ experience makes him the top candidate to replace Belton in the safety rotation, but Jarren Williams is another option the Giants could consider. Williams has been with the Giants the past two seasons, appearing in eight games with two starts (both in 2021).
Which Free Agents Are Still Available at Safety?
There aren’t a ton of inspiring options on the open market at safety this late in the offseason, but one name that should intrigue Giants fans is Landon Collins.
Collins, 28, is currently unsigned after being released by the Washington Commanders earlier this offseason. The Giants selected Collins in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and he made the Pro Bowl three times in four seasons with the team (2015-2018). In 2016, the last time the Giants made the playoffs, Collins was a first-team All-Pro.