Late Round Target: Could Martellus Bennett Develop Into A Viable Option At TE?

Player:  Martellus Bennett

Position:  TE

Team:  New York Giants

ADP:  176.32

Draft Range:  146-Not Drafted (All ADP data courtesy of www.mockdraftcentral.com)

604 yards and 4 touchdowns.  That was Jake Ballard’s contribution to the Giants last season.  Ballard is a tight end that is not a prototypical tight end and was not someone who the Giants expected to contribute last season.  His season, not to take anything away from Ballard, was a product of the Giants offense and most importantly Eli Manning.  What then should we expect from Bennett who has loads of potential and was acquired by the Giants to be their starting tight end?

Bennett is entering his 5th year in the NFL and has not yet made good on the potential the Cowboys saw in him when they drafted him the 2nd round in 2008.  Granted, he has been stuck behind Jason Witten and has shown flashes of talent, but Bennett has been a disappointment and has underachieved.  For the first time he is entering the season as the starter, however hamstring injuries robbed him of precious repetitions during OTA’s. 

The cause of that injury was actually a hot topic around the Giants as Bennett had bulked up by close to 30 pounds.  Giants tight end coach Mike Pope was rightfully concerned about this, especially as it led to missed practice time, but Bennett says he is actually in better shape than he was in the past.  Until the games begin, it is hard to make an accurate judgment on that sentiment.  While the Giants did bring him in to start and appear to be committed to that as offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said, “You are hoping Martellus [steps up]…That is why he was brought here” (click here to view the article).  At the same time, it is clear the Giants are high on fourth round pick Adrien Robertson as they see a great deal of potential in him.  So while Bennett is the starter, he is only on a one year contract with a coaching staff that has no loyalty towards him, so he better produce or else his chance will be fleeting.

Bennett has not been shy about showing off his body and providing videos of his workouts.  The proof is there as to his physical shape but what we need to see is how it will translate to the football field.  He is saying all of the right things about Eli Manning, but their chemistry is something that must develop on the field.  Currently Bennett is the 20th tight end being drafted, which in ten team leagues makes him a borderline TE3.  I do think as long as he is healthy, 800 yards and 7 touchdowns is not out of the question in the Giants offense.

I do understand that prediction might be a little inflated as it would put him into the Top 10 tight ends in the league, but he has the physical tools, talent and the quarterback in Manning.  I still would not recommend drafting him as it is debatable to draft a backup tight end regardless, but he is someone I would watch for sure.  He is not worth an early bench spot, but as soon as he has a good week or two I would stash him as a bye week replacement if you have the space.

What do you think? Is Bennett someone that you will be looking to draft late? Or will he just remain on your watch list for the season?

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

Wide Receiver Regression Risk: Whose Targets Could Diminish In 2012 (Lloyd, Bowe & More)
Breakout Potential: Why Joe Flacco Could Post A Career Year In 2012

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