Giants Advised to Make Darren Waller ‘Contingency Plan’ in Draft

Darren Waller

Getty The New York Giants need a "contingency plan" for the 2024 NFL draft while TE Darren Waller mulls retirement.

Ongoing uncertainty about the future of Darren Waller means the New York Giants should consider a “contingency plan” like selecting Georgia’s Brock Bowers sixth overall in the 2024 NFL draft.

Waller might retire, so Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski believes Bowers deserves consideration among weapons the Giants might add via the draft. Although wide receiver is an obvious need, Sobleski thinks “Bowers shouldn’t be taken out of this conversation simply because he’s a tight end. That’s really the wrong way to look at it. Bowers is an offensive weapon with the ability to create chunk plays with each touch.”

Sobleski also thinks the Giants represent “the best potential landing spot for Bowers financially since being taken sixth overall is likely the earliest he’ll go.”

Although taking Bowers would be something of a curveball from the Giants on draft day, Sobleski’s view has supporters. Among them, Connor Rogers of NBC Sports also believes “the Giants should operate with the thought that Darren Waller is not much of a factor in their future and Bowers would line up everywhere in Brian Daboll’s offense.”

Brian Daboll’s Presence Makes Brock Bowers a Smart Pick

That last note about head coach Brian Daboll is key. He established his credentials working with some of the game’s best tight ends during his days as an assistant with the New England Patriots.

Daboll helped Martellus Bennett and eventual four-time Super Bowl winner Rob Gronkowski dominate defenses, per “Under his tutelage, Rob Gronkowski was selected first-team All-Pro following the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The following season, Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett combined for 80 receptions, 1,241 yards and 10 touchdowns.”

The Giants’ boss would certainly be able to do the same for a roving coverage mismatch like Bowers. Dominance came easy for the Bulldogs’ star who caught 26 touchdowns and rushed for five more during three prolific seasons, per Sports Reference.

What set 6-foot-4, 230-pound Bowers apart was versatility and a size-speed combination few defenses were able to contain. Bowers’ impressive play speed was evidenced by him having “exceeded 20+ mph at least four times in a game throughout his career,” according to Reel Analytics.

There have been concerns about Bowers’ ability to handle the more physical aspects of his position. Specifically, being able to win blocking matchups along the line of scrimmage.

This play highlighted by Ted Nguyen of The Athletic showed Bowers is at least capable of holding the point of attack and moving the pile, if needed.

There’s ample evidence Bowers could be the dynamic tight end the Giants hoped they were getting when they traded for Waller last offseason.

Darren Waller Trade Hasn’t Worked

Waller was supposed to be Daboll’s new Gronkowski, but things haven’t worked out that way. Instead, 31-year-old Waller struggled for targets and eventually ended up on injured reserve.

A lengthy injury history has Waller contemplating hanging up his cleats for good. The 2020 Pro Bowler is taking him time reaching a decision, and Giants’ general manager Joe Schoen indicated the team is giving Waller “time and space” to make up his mind, per Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports.

It’s a fluid situation, but the Giants could use some clarity. There are tight ends on the roster, including Daniel Bellinger and free-agent arrivals Chris Manhertz and Jack Stoll.

The problem is the latter pair are primarily blockers, while no member of this trio is a true game-breaker. Bowers might not be a popular pick, given other needs, but he could represent the best value for the Giants if Waller forces their hand.