NY Giants rookie now faces massive presure with Darren Waller not returning

Will the youngster be able to step his game up this season?
New York Giants OTA Offseason Workouts
New York Giants OTA Offseason Workouts / Luke Hales/GettyImages

After a while of speculation and rumors, NY Giants tight end Darren Waller has decided to call it a career and retire. Just like that, it's been made official that he won't be back with the G-Men in 2024 and it's a bit of a hit for Brian Daboll and Co.

However, this is something the Giants have been preparing for. It was made evident when they used their fourth-round pick on Penn State tight end Theo Johnson. Now, the first-year playmaker is going to have to play beyond his years to help fill the Waller void.

Will Theo Johnson be able to turn heads with the NY Giants in 2024?

Johnson has already been impressing this offseason and he's going to have another chance to do so at mandatory minicamp. Obviously, third-year tight end Daniel Bellinger is going to have to take a step forward in 2024 as well.

Bellinger has battled injuries during his first two seasons. First, he suffered a serious eye injury during his rookie campaign. Then in 2023, he somehow hurt himself on a failed 'tush push' attempt by the G-Men against the Seahawks. Center John Michael Schmitz was also hurt on that play.

The San Diego State product ended up playing in all 17 games, but he was limited to 25 receptions for 255 yards. Will he be able to improve on that moving forward? He should have the opportunity to do so with Waller gone, but Johnson is going to be in the mix for the starting job as well.

While Johnson has no pro experience, there's a reason Joe Schoen was so fired up that he fell to him on Day 3: the kid has reliable hands and he's a fantastic blocker too. Yes, losing Waller sucks, but Bellinger and Johnson should be able to keep things rockin' at TE this season. And with Johnson, his potential is something that should have fans excited about the regular season getting here soon.