Heading into OTA’s and later on training camp, the New York Giants will have no shortage of receiving talent. NFL.com already ranked the Giants receiving unit as the fifth best in the league, and with the Giants offense being more accustomed to the new offensive system of Ben McAdoo, the teams passing attack should be much improved.
The team will have many difficult decisions to make though, as multiple players will be vying for the 4-6 slots on the team. Even the order of the six receivers the Giants will carry is completely up in the air. With 12 receivers currently on the team, these are the six we most likely will see on opening day in September
1. Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham Jr. took the league by storm last season, and clearly has earned the number one slot on this Giants team. His stats were staggering for a rookie- he put up 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games. He did all this with Victor Cruz sidelined for the majority of the season as well, making Beckham Jr. the top receiver.
With the ineffectiveness of Rueben Randle for the majority of last season, Beckham Jr. was constantly double teamed and covered by the oppositions top corner. In a game against Seattle for example, he put up 7 receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns against Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom. With a better receiving group around him as well as a more accurate Eli Manning with a superior offensive line, he could be in for an even better showing this season.
2. Victor Cruz
Cruz suffered his crushing knee injury in Week 6 last season, sidelining him ever since. Even in those six games though, he was rather average. He has 23 receptions for 337 yards and a touchdown. With Beckham Jr. helping take pressure off him as well as a better understanding of the Giants new system, he should be improved this season, if he can remain on the field.
Fans have seem to forgot how explosive Cruz really can be. He played 14 games in 2013 and had a bit of a down year, but the entire Giants offense did with him. In his first two seasons though, Cruz combined for 2,628 yards receiving and 19 touchdowns. If he can stay healthy, he very well could get back to his elite level and form an explosive duo alongside Beckham Jr.
3. Rueben Randle
Randle had a very disappointing season last year, although his stats were not that bad. He had 938 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns on 71 catches. He did struggle mightily throughout the season before having two excellent games to end the season, combining for 12 catches, 290 yards and a touchdown in those games.
This is a contract year for the LSU product, so expect him to have a good season in an attempt to gain a big contract next spring. With both Cruz and Beckham Jr. also on the roster, he will be covered by the #3 cornerback most of the time, which could lead to some favorable matchups. Randle has shown the ability to be a very good third receiver, and if he can gain consistently, he will be huge for the Giants next season. They’ll need him, as Victor Cruz needs an insurance option if he struggles recovering.
4. Geremy Davis
New York snagged Davis in the 6th round, adding even more young talent to a stacked receiving group. Davis is a big strong target who could see red zone targets fairly often. He was the strongest receiver in this draft class actually, finishing with 23 225 pound weight lifts, the most among all receivers.
Davis set the UConn collegiate records for single season receptions and yards last season, a great accomplishment on a terrible Husky team. He does lack ideal spead and route running ability, but his strength and excellent hands make this an understandable pick. Him and Larry Donnell should be two top red zone receivers this season.
5. Dwayne Harris
The Giants surprisingly went out and gave the Cowboys special teams specialist a 5-year, $17 million contract. This signing received mixed reviews, mainly due to the fact he is not an established receiver. He has only 33 receptions for 418 yards and 3 touchdowns over three seasons with the Cowboys.
He’s primarily been used as a deep threat, sparingly so. Harris does have good hands but it’s unknown whether or not he will be able to be a true backup to Victor Cruz in the slot. That’s why he is five for now and behind Davis and Randle. If he proves himself as the season progresses though, the Giants will not hesitate to give him an increased role. They clearly see potential in him, the reason why he has such a big contract for a player of his caliber.
6. Marcus Harris
Picking the final receiver will be no easy task for the Giants, but Marcus Harris will be the best choice. He was set to be the final receiver on last years roster before he tore a bicep in his hip, ending his season. He had 9 receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown last preseason, and he’s picking up right where he left off this season. Harris also is solid on special teams, giving him extra leverage. He’s been excellent in OTA’s so far, really giving him a great shot at making the Giants this season.
Missed the Cut:
Parker was rather good for New York last season, stepping up after multiple injuries and uninspiring performances. He had 418 yards receiving on 36 catches, a solid year for someone who barely made the roster. Unfortunately for him though, he probably will not be on the roster this season. His need as a kick returner is gone after the signing of Dwayne Harris, and the potential of guys like Geremy Davis and Marcus Harris is intriguing.
Washington’s lack of playing time last season was frustrating for many, as he dazzled in the preseason. He did have one touchdown reception, but only received targets in three games. What’s really been holding him back is his inability to fully grasp the playbook. Taking in a complicated NFL set of plays isn’t an easy task for a rookie, but Washington reportedly particularly struggled. With head coach Tom Coughlin being a coach of fundamentals, something like that would greatly irk him, leading to minimal playing time. Washington’s lack of special teams experience also hurt his cause, sending guys like Harris and Parker above him. It will be an uphill battle for him to make the roster, despite his natural receiving talents.
Possibly a name many Giants fans haven’t heard of, Ben Edwards is an undrafted rookie wide receiver out of Richmond college in Virginia. He had a decorated college career, leading to a shot to make the Giants 53 man roster. Edwards is a possession reliever, similar to someone like Wes Welker. He’s 5’10 and 197 pounds, but he really plays like a much bigger target. He is fearless over the middle of the field, and has smooth hands to make catches look simple. He also received numerous punt returns, and played as a special teams gunner. His history of injuries will make it hard for him to rise up on a stacked Giants receiving unit though.