Could Giants practice squad steal turn into top offensive weapon?

New York Giants wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins (18) gains yards after the catch during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Giants picked up wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins from the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad last season, few could have predicted the true impact he was going to have on their offense given that he had flown so far under the radar throughout the beginning of his career.

Now, Hodgins has a chance to become the team’s top receiving target in 2023, taking charge within a revamped and dynamic WR room that includes free-agent signee Parris Campbell and third-round draft pick Jalin Hyatt.

Isaiah Hodgins’ impressive 2022 campaign

The 24-year-old played eight games for the Giants in 2022, where he caught 33 of his 42 targets for 351 yards and recorded four touchdowns. His ability to get first downs and create separation from defenders quickly made him Daniel Jones’ number-one target, and he showcased his dynamic playmaking on the national stage in the Giants’ Wild Card matchup against the Minnesota Vikings last season.

Hodgins totaled eight receptions on nine targets for 105 yards and one touchdown. This was Hodgins’ first-ever playoff appearance and his first time ever surpassing 100 receiving yards in a single game. His efforts against Minnesota helped propel the Giants to their first playoff win in over a decade.

Strengthening bonds at Giants training camp

What makes Hodgins’ 2022 season even more impressive is the fact that he did not have a full training camp to learn the offensive scheme and develop chemistry with his quarterback. Rather, he was inserted onto the depth chart mid-season due to the myriad of injuries that plagued the Giants’ receiving corps.

This year, Hodgins is receiving the full training camp experience under the tutelage of head coach Brian Daboll. The summer practices also afford him an opportunity to strengthen his chemistry with Jones.

Why Isaiah Hodgins could break out in 2023

This extensive preparation lays a strong foundation for a breakout performance in 2023 as Hodgins positions himself to become one of Jones’ most reliable weapons. Jones has not had a true number-one receiving option at any point in the first four seasons of his career, leaving the door wide open for Hodgins to become a dependable primary target.

It will be interesting to see how Hodgins performs after spending an entire training camp practicing with the team. Now Hodgins will be in the starting lineup from Week 1 onward. Based on what he put on display last year, it should be entertaining to watch Hodgins embark on a breakout campaign this season.

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