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New York Giants Tight Ends Preview: Starting Anew – Sports Illustrated

The New York Giants tight ends underwent the greatest overhaul this offseason, as the team moved on one way or another from their three primary players at the position last year.
Kyle Rudolph was a salary cap transaction following a disappointing and rather unproductive (for him) first year as a Giant. Kaden Smith was waived with a knee issue after failing his physical, and Evan Engram, the team's 2017 first-round draft pick, walked away in free agency after five mostly pedestrian seasons with the Giants.
The Giants re-signed Chris Myarick, who had been on and off their roster last year, and acquired two free agents in Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins.
In the draft, New York took its tight-end renovation project further, selecting San Diego State's Daniel Bellinger in the fourth round (No. 112 overall). They also signed undrafted tight ends Austin Allen from Nebraska and Andre Miller from Maine.
Aside from Myarick, the Giants put together a new tight end cast for the 2022 season, which has posed the question of how the Giants will maximize the highest level of success this group has to offer.
Ricky Seals-Jones (5 Years): After showing spurts of his potential throughout his five-year tenure in the league predominantly as a backup, the 27-year-old Seals-Jones is projected to be the starter on this offense, at least early on. But that could change as training camp unfurls, and others get an opportunity to show what they have.
Jordan Akins (4 Years): During his four seasons with the Houston Texans, Akins never quite established solid footing. After posting two encouraging performances in 2019 and 2020 (surpassed 400 yards in each season), Akins’ productivity took a bit of a hit last year, and he’ll need to do much better if he aims to be the main backup on this Giants tight end unit.
Chris Myarick (2 Years): Although Myarick is fairly new to the league, his inline playmaking and blocking ability have made him a valuable piece for the Giants. Last season, Myarick’s sole touchdown catch came against the Eagles in their Week 12 matchup.
On this play, the ball slipped through his hands, yet somehow, Myarick managed to hang onto it by squeezing the ball between his two legs to secure the six points.
The New York Giants will begin shaping their roster when the full team reports for training camp on July 26. Ahead of that date, we look at how each unit currently stacks up strenth wise.
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Daniel Bellinger (Rookie): The Giants' fourth-round draft pick is viewed as the position's future, and his spring performance gave glimpses of why that is. Bellinger ran polished routes, caught just about everything thrown within his catch radius, and, while working on the blocking sled, drove up from his hips while keeping his hands inside his target's frame. In short, Bellinger appears to have all the tools to become the Giants' starting tight end by the end of the season.
Austin Allen (Rookie): Allen faces an uphill battle on a team that will probably not carry more than three tight ends on the 53-man roster. That said, the 6-foot-9, 255-pound Allen is the biggest tight end on the Giants' roster, and size is something that can't be taught. He was also a productive player at Nebraska, having set a school record year for tight ends as a red-shirt senior (38 receptions for 602 yards and two touchdowns). His size and production might be too tempting for the Giants to discard.
Andre Miller (Rookie): Miller is the "smallest" tight end at 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds. He was utilized mostly as a wide receiver during his four-year career at Maine. Miller improved each year and had his best performance as a senior, posting 41 receptions for 706 yards and three touchdowns.
That said, the competition at receiver and tight end is stiff, and if tight end is indeed in Miller's future, he likely will need at least a year of seasoning on the practice squad.
Best Case Scenario: The Giants invested a fourth-round pick in Bellinger and have high hopes for his development. Ideally, Bellinger has a healthy breakout year and becomes the starting tight end (and main receiving option). Meanwhile, Seals-Jones, signed to a one-year contract, settles into the TE2 position.
Worst Case Scenario: As the Giants saw last season, injuries can derail a team’s success. And while Daboll historically hasn't leaned heavily on 12- and 13-personnel sets, losing Bellinger and/or Seals-Jones for any length of time could alter what the team hopes to do on offense. Likewise, if Bellinger doesn't develop into the player the Giants think he can be (and what he showed during the spring), that won't fare well for this team.
Sleeper: Nebraska alum Austin Allen is the guy in this position group to keep an eye on. We mentioned his size, but let's talk quickly about what he brings to the table beyond that: good power as a downhill, moving-shield-type blocker, and great hands. His size makes him a good red zone target, and given his ability to hang onto catches through collisions and open up himself against zone coverage, he is a reliable pass-catching option. Allen might not make the 53-man roster if the positions' numbers stay as is, but he has some intriguing characteristics worth developing.
On The Bubble: Akins brings experience to the table and has been a solid receiver, hauling in over 72 percent of his targets in his last two seasons. He projects right now behind Seals-Jones and Bellinger. Since there are only so many balls to go around in the offense, unless Akins can wow the coaches with his blocking and special teams play, he could find himself on the outside looking in.
On paper, the Giants appear to have upgraded their tight end unit with a combination of youth and experienced talent that could allow them to deploy a committee approach. Bellinger is the central figure in that group, an exciting yet promising prospect. Seals-Jones is coming off a decent season in Washington and still has value, and Akins and Allen are good depth pieces capable of contributing.
That said, the jury is still out on this group until we see what Bellinger can do during the regular season, and with so many new faces in a brand-new system, how the chemistry with quarterback Daniel Jones progresses. 
Olivier Dumont is a graduate of SUNY Rockland Community College, where he was the Sports Editor of the Outlook. After obtaining his Associate of Liberal Arts degree, he transferred to both Hunter and Baruch Colleges as part of the CUNY Baccalaureate Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies. He graduated with a BA degree with a concentration in Sports Journalism. 


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