Could Giants’ 2nd-year wideout overtake their leading receiver on the depth chart?

East Rutherford, NJ -- June 11, 2024 -- Wide receiver, Jalin Hyatt at the NY Giants Mandatory Minicamp at their practice facility in East Rutherford, NJ.
Credit: Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants revamped and bolstered their receiving corps this offseason. After adding Jalin Hyatt to the mix in the third round of last year’s draft, Big Blue doubled down on their commitment to upgrading the position with first-round pick Malik Nabers this offseason.

Hyatt and Nabers looked stellar throughout the Giants’ spring practices, instilling confidence in the coaching staff that the offense should be much-improved this season. However, the rise of Hyatt entering his second season could spell trouble for the team’s leading receiver from 2023. Darius Slayton is entering the final year of his contract on shaky ground as Hyatt could push to overtake him on the depth chart this season.

Could this be Darius Slayton’s last season with the Giants?

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) gets ready to score a touchdown during a 24-point Giants first half, Sunday, January 7, 2024
Credit: Kevin R. Wexler / USA TODAY NETWORK

While spending the majority of the offseason in a holdout for a new contract, speculation began to surround Slayton’s future. The veteran wideout did not request a trade this spring, however, he will now become a prime trade candidate during the regular season if the Giants feel comfortable with the rest of their performers before the deadline.

Slayton led the Giants in receiving yards last season — his fourth time accomplishing this feat in the last five seasons. Since being drafted by Big Blue in 2019, Slayton has been one of their most consistent and reliable performers. He’s totaled at least 700 receiving yards four times in his career and set a new career-high with 770 yards this past season.

Despite being the most established and reliable playmaker on the Giants’ roster, Slayton’s spot on the depth chart seems insecure entering this season. Hyatt could push the coaching staff to place him in the lineup over Slayton this season.

Jalin Hyatt could make a push into the Giants’ starting lineup

nfl: new england patriots at new york giants, jalin hyatt

Hyatt generated a lot of excitement this spring as a frequent standout performer during OTAs and minicamp. He was constantly making plays, scoring touchdowns, and looking like one of the best players on the practice field. As a result, Hyatt is viewed as a prime breakout candidate for this upcoming season.

But Hyatt’s breakout will only occur if the Giants give him enough playing time and opportunities to make plays. Last season, Hyatt was only on the field for 557 snaps, just 51% of the team’s offensive snaps on the year. In that sample size, the Tennessee product flashed his potential and made some big plays, but he will need to become a more consistent playmaker to maintain his spot on the field in 2024.

His total of 23 receptions on 40 targets for 373 yards as a rookie was fine, but obviously left plenty of room for improvement. But the 22-year-old looks ready to take that step forward this season — albeit likely at the expense of Slayton.

The Giants’ projected starting trio of wideouts this season includes Nabers, Wan’Dale Robinson, and one of either Hyatt or Slayton. As the veteran of the room and the team’s leading receiver last season, Slayton will likely open the season in the starting lineup. But for how long can he manage to keep Hyatt at bay?

The potential is limitless for Hyatt, who was among the 2022 NFL Draft class’s top wide receiver talents. He has elite speed and a knack for creating explosive plays on offense.
Still under his rookie contract for three more seasons, the Giants could increase their potential and decrease their costs by rolling with Hyatt over the veteran Slayton. The odds of the Giants’ second-year wideout overtaking Slayton’s spot in the depth chart will only increase with a strong summer of practices.

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