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Pair of Las Vegas high school products selected in NFL draft

Updated April 30, 2022 - 5:28 pm

Palo Verde High graduate Daniel Bellinger knew the New York Giants were highly interested in him when assistant general manager Brandon Brown treated him to a rooftop dinner in San Diego.

The Giants followed through Saturday by selecting Bellinger, a tight end from San Diego State, in the fourth round of the NFL draft with the 112th pick overall.

Bellinger was the first player with Las Vegas ties to be selected in this year’s draft.

The second was Michigan State wide receiver Jalen Nailor (5-11, 186), who went to Bishop Gorman. He went in the sixth round and 191st overall to the Minnesota Vikings.

Nailor is a big-play threat, three times averaging more than 17 yards per reception for Michigan State. He dealt with injuries, however, that limited the production for the three-year starter.

Bellinger said his hear was pounding when he received the call from the Giants. “It was a great process with them. I enjoyed every single second talking to the coaches and the assistant GM.”

Bellinger (6 feet 4 inches, 253 pounds) caught 31 passes for 357 yards last season and didn’t drop a throw.

“I’ve been playing the game since I was 6 years old,” he said. “So just playing catch with my dad and never dropping the ball, because he would get mad at me even as a little kid dropping the ball. So I take a lot of pride in making sure I don’t drop the ball too much.”

Blocking could be his strength, however, and Bellinger said he strives to excel at both parts of playing tight end.

“I think I can do a good job blocking, and I can stretch the field and make plays when I need to,” he said.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen called Bellinger “a guy that we liked — size, speed, athleticism. Should be able to help us on special teams.”

Of the decision to draft Nailor, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said, “You always want guys to shorten the field for us. That’s ultimately what the goal is. … He’s got a really good separation skill set, a playmaker. We have playmakers on this team. We want to add competition. The NFL season is long. It’s a bit of an attrition game. We want to make sure we have depth on the roster.”

Two other Gorman products, Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (6-2, 300) and Miami safety Bubba Bolden (6-2, 209), were not selected. Garrett probably will sign as undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans, according to On3 Sports. There was no immediate word on Bolden.

Former UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers (6-5, 233), who ended his college career as a backup QB at Ohio, was not taken. He appeared to have an outside shot of being drafted as a tight end, but could sign as a free agent.

Two other Rebels were considered long shots — running back Charles Williams (5-9, 200) and guard Julio Garcia (6-3, 320). A free-agent deal doesn’t appear promising for either, though it’s possible a team will need to fill out a training camp roster and look for depth players.

UNLV has not had a played selected since center Joe Hawley went in the fourth round of the 2010 draft to Atlanta Falcons.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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