Quick! Name the only TE on the 2022 roster that played for the Giants last season. Evan Engram? Nope. Kyle Rudolph? Uh uh. Kayden Smith? Sadly, no. If you said Chris Myarick, you win! Talk about a nearly complete overhaul. GM Joe (Schoen) and Coach Dabs have done some of their best work in remaking the TE position for 2022.
Out with the old…
First, the Giants said goodbye to Engram and let him hit free agency where he signed a one-year prove-it contract with the Jaguars. Then the Giants cut Rudolph in a very obvious salary dump as part of the quest to get out from under a messy cap hell created by Dave Gettleman. Kayden Smith finished 2021 on the injured reserve list with a bad knee. Apparently, he hadn’t recovered and failed his physical. So, the Giants waived him in March. Of the three, I’m saddest to see Smith go. In his time with the Giants, he showed the most promise as a blocker and receiver. Engram never really embraced the blocking aspect of playing TE, dropped too many passes, and was a failed experiment. Rudolph was in the twilight of his career, arrived with a foot that needed surgery, and never really contributed to an anemic offense. With those three gone, that leaves Chris Myarick to only remaining TE from 2021 with a stat line of 8 games played, 3 starts, 3 catches, 17 yards, and 1 TD. Oh boy…
In with the new…
So, with one TE on the roster, GM Joe set out to add position players via free agency and the draft. In March, the Giants signed well-traveled TE Ricky Seal-Jones to a one-year veteran contract of just over $1 million. The Giants become Seal-Jones’ fifth team as he enters his sixth season. Last year he compiled a 30-catch, 2 TD season with Washington. He does have a connection to Giants’ Offensive Coordinator, Mike Kafka, spending 2020 with the Chiefs. But, when you play behind perennial Pro-Bowler Travis Kelce, you don’t see the field much.
In April, the Giants signed TE Jordan Akins to the same one-year veteran contract. Drafted in the 2018 third round by the Houston Texans, Akins played four full seasons with 58 games played, 23 starts and 114 career catches. Akins chose football over baseball after giving the Texas Rangers a try for four seasons. Both Akins and Seal-Jones will compete for the TE1 position, but will also be battling Giants’ fourth-round draft pick, TE Daniel Bellinger, out of San Diego State University.
TE Dan Bellinger has had a hot start to his Giants’ career with a good showing in all the OTAs and mini-camps. Bellinger has a college reputation as a very good blocker that doesn’t mind mixing it up with the big linemen. But he has also flashed great hands and a large catch radius so far. He’s picked up the offense really well per Coach Daboll, but again, there’s been no contact yet. Bellinger will get a lot of work and looks in preseason and training camp.
Two roster invitees round out the current 2022 Giants’ TE room. Austin Allen, a 6’9” 255 lbs target out of Nebraska, and Andre Miller, a smaller 6’3″ 220 lbs former WR out of Maine. The Giants chose to have Miller try out at TE rather than WR. Allen could be a diamond in the rough for the Giants. He had a huge 2021 season at Nebraska, was named Big Ten TE of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten, and caught 38 passes for 602 yards (15,8 yds per catch).
With the 2022 TE position wide open for healthy competition, look for Bellinger, Seal-Jones, Akins, and Allen to be the leading candidates for the roster. Myarick and Miller could be on the outside looking in.
Photo courtesy of Giants.com