Daniel Bellinger of the New York Giants must have spent some time in the weight room — because he showed up to practice looking like Daniel Dumbbell-inger.
The Giants’ second-year tight end appeared noticeably more muscular in photos taken at organized team activities this week. And due to the stark transformation from Bellinger’s rookie season, the photos have spawned jokes on social media.
Bellinger’s new physique coincides with his new responsibilities in Big Blue’s offense.
He’s no longer the top tight end option after Pro Bowler Darren Waller arrived via trade earlier this year. Bellinger, the team’s 2022 fourth-round pick out of San Diego State, will likely be asked to block more after a 30-catch rookie season, according to Sport Illustrated’s Patricia Traina.
“As a rookie, Bellinger stood out with his blocking, both on the edge and on the move,” Traina wrote. “Now that he’s upgraded his physique and strength, imagine how much better he’ll be against the big boys he’ll likely see on the edges.”
Despite fewer targets, Bellinger’s role could still “expand significantly” in 2023, per Traina.
Waller has played in only 20 games since his last Pro Bowl season three years ago. He played in only nine games (six starts) last season. It’s no stretch of the imagination that he could miss time now that he’s in New York.
By the looks of it, though, Bellinger is more than ready to step up.
Giants’ Adoree Jackson Eager to Mentor Rookie CB Deonte Banks
Big Blue’s top cornerback is looking to mentor the team’s top rookie.
Adoree Jackson has six years of NFL experience on his resume. Now, the veteran who was once mentored by players like Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler in Tennessee is looking to advise first-round pick Deonte Banks, according to the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz.
“I’m excited,” Jackson told Schwartz and other reporters after team OTAs. “Watched (Banks’) tape. Like him. Watched him go through the walk-throughs, different things. Talked to him. He’s got a good head on his shoulder. Seems like a great guy. I was excited to get D-Banks.”
Banks’ arrival hyped up more Giants than just Jackson, too.
Draft room cameras caught defensive coordinator Wink Martindale bear-hugging Giants brass after Banks’ selection. And last year’s top pick on defense, Kayvon Thibodeaux, is thrilled at the possibility of another cornerback giving him more time to rush passers.
“I mean, we just brought in a corner,” Thibodeaux told Schwartz. “I know that will help. I’m excited to see some more lockdown coverage. I’m excited to be able to make things happen.”
PFF: Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams Tandem Named Top D-Line Duo
No NFL team fields a better one-two punch on its defensive line than the Giants.
Big Blue is shelling out big bucks for Lawrence and Leonard to live up to lofty expectations.
Williams carries the third-highest cap hit in football, according to Spotrac. Lawrence, who broke out as a second-team All Pro in 2022, just received a major contract extension. Both are expected to key a Martindale defense that lives by the havoc it can wreak on quarterbacks.
The good news? New York is deeper behind their D-line duo in 2023.
Lawrence and Williams both played over 75% of the team’s 2022 defensive snaps, per Traina. But this year, they’ve added pieces up front like A’Shawn Robinson, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, and seventh-round pick Jordon Riley.