Martellus Bennett: From Bust in Dallas to Boom with New York Giants

Darin Pike@darinpikeContributor ISeptember 18, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:   Martellus Bennett #85 of the New York Giants pulls in a pass for a touchdown with coverage by  Brandon McDonald #33 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys used a second-round pick on Martellus Bennett in the 2008 NFL draft. They couldn't find a role for him next to their Pro Bowl fixture of Jason Witten and Bennett left in free agency during the offseason.

Teams generally look at the second round of the draft as the place to grab a starting-caliber tight end. Players that will be used to block and have a limited role in the passing game can be found in the late rounds of the draft or for cheap in free agency. 

It isn't clear exactly what Dallas expected from him, but it is hard to believe Jason Garrett when he told ESPN's Tim MacMahon that the Cowboys got what they expected from Bennett. Garrett said Bennett performed “very well” as a run blocker and pass protector and did “a pretty good job” on the rare opportunities he was given in the passing game. 

MacMahon stated it very well, "Let’s cut through the bull: You don’t draft a blocking tight end in the second round."

Their division rival saw promise in Bennett and signed him to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

It appears the New York Giants knew what they were doing.

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Despite not having a touchdown catch since his four in his rookie year, he has found the end zone twice in as many games with the Giants. Bennett has nine total receptions for 112 yards in those games.

His production in two games with New York is almost half of his average annual production for the Cowboys.

Bennett told PFT Live last March he was capable of doing more than what Dallas asked him to do. 

I want to be the No. 1 guy. I feel like I'm a 60-catch-plus guy on a team, so I want to be in a system where I could do (that).

I think a lot of people say the hybrid tight ends or the new type of tight ends are the ones to catch the ball, but I think the perfect tight ends are the ones who could actually block and do things with the ball after they catch it.

Bennett scored late in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to give the New York football Giants a 34-27 lead. He was also Eli Manning's target when the Giants cut into Dallas' lead in the fourth quarter of their Week 1 game.

The Giants have found a way to use him along with the massive Bear Pascoe and he figures to get most of the tight end looks from Manning.

Bennett will help New York move the chains and find the end zone this season. He will also be the answer for many fantasy owners attempting to find replacements for Aaron Hernandez and Anthony Gates.

New York needed to find a new third option in the passing game to replace Mario Manningham, who left in free agency. Bennett appears to be Manning's choice, which will lead to many big days to come.

The one concern with Bennett has been dropping passes and there were a pair of poor efforts on Sunday. However, Manning showed faith in him and sometimes that is all a tight end needs to get his confidence back and start making plays again.

The Giants will continue to give Bennett an opportunity to prove he is capable of much more than he did in Dallas and he will reward the Giants and fantasy football owners alike.