5 Predictions for Martellus Bennett's First Season as a New York Giant
When the New York Giants lost starting tight end Jake Ballard to a torn ACL in the Super Bowl, they knew they needed to quickly find a replacement once free agency started in March. To no one's surprise, they signed a tight end in the first week of free agency.
They brought Martellus Bennett in for a visit, and not long after he was a New York Giant. So what does Bennett, a former second-round pick, bring to the table?
Here are five predictions for Bennett's first season with the Giants.
He Will Catch at Least 7 Touchdowns
Given the nature of the Giants' offense, both the fact that it is a top-10 unit and one that loves to pass the ball, Bennett will get his opportunity to score points.
It also helps that he stands a whopping 6'7'' and has basketball in his background. His big body can hold off smaller corners, and he can leap with just about anyone in the league, so he will be a valuable asset in the red zone.
He caught four touchdowns in his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys, but has since been used in more of a blocker role. As the Giants' starter, he'll get more opportunities inside the 20.
He Will Catch at Least 45 Passes
Forty-five catches may not seem like a lot, but with how much the Giants give the ball to their wide receivers, 45 from the tight end should be considered a victory.
They haven't had a tight end with more than 50 catches since Jeremy Shockey had 57 in 2007, and the offense has still been a top-10 unit nearly every season since.
That said, Bennett provides a combination of speed and athleticism the Giants have lacked at the position the past few seasons, so Eli might be more inclined to feed him the rock if he can win his matchups with linebackers.
He Will Have 5 Infuriating Dropped Passes
One problem that Bennett had with the Cowboys was he was known to drop a pass every now and then. Tight end coach Mike Pope will be able to help Bennett with this problem, but it will not completely go away.
Let's hope I'm wrong about this one, considering the Giants have had problems with drops in the past (2010 anyone?).
Hey, not every one of these predictions can be positive. Bennett will have a decent season, but he will infuriate fans with the occasional untimely drop (is a drop ever timely?).
He Will Help Improve the Run Game
Bennett's ability as a run-blocker had to be what attracted Jerry Reese and the Giants' front office in the first place. Yes, he is blessed with terrific athleticism, but his ability as a run-blocker is extremely underrated.
He played in a run-first offense in college at Texas A&M and spent most of his four years backing up Jason Witten with the Dallas Cowboys. Bennett has elite strength at the position. The Cowboys utilized that, and so will the Giants in order to help their running game.
The Giants finished dead last in the regular season rushing the football, so they need all the help they can get.
He Will Adjust His Attitude
Per Chris Johnson of GiantsFootballBlog.com, part of the problem for Bennett in his time in Dallas was his attitude on and off the field. He was accused by many for not having a great attitude about being a backup, and he made Cowboys fans sick with all of his ridiculous YouTube videos.
That's all behind him, and with a chance to be a starter and a huge piece to what the Giants are going to do this season, he will get his act together.
Not to mention, joining a team that has had success winning championships generally changes attitudes for the better. The Giants, in particular, are a team full of veterans who will not take any nonsense, on or off the field.
According to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Bennett did make headlines when tight end coach Mike Pope revealed Bennett weighed in at 291 pounds in May's minicamp, but he insists it is because he has been killing it in the weight room.
Despite that, I believe Bennett will change for the better and have a good season for the Giants.