When the New York Giants elected to pass on drafting a wide receiver in 2020, some people were confused by the decision. In a wide receiver heavy draft, not walking away with a talented pass-catcher to inject into the offense could be seen as malpractice.
However, the Giants had other plans for the position, signing several undrafted free agents immediately following the conclusion of the draft.
One of the players they landed was Ohio State task catcher Austin Mack. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Mack represents the biggest body in the wide receiver corps, and he showed off against the Washington Football Team in week nine.
Mack was on the field for 17 passing attempts by Daniel Jones and 21 running plays. Not only is he an effective receiver, but heâ€™s also capable of blocking in the run game, making him a dual-threat. New head coach Joe Judge has been impressed by Mack and the effort he displayed during training camp and the practice squad before being elevated to the active roster.
Against Washington, Mack recorded four receptions for 72 yards, nearly securing his first touchdown of the season and his young NFL career. He had a long of 50 yards, on a perfectly placed ball by Jones and a stellar out and up route by Austin.
That pocket for Daniel Jones, though…. What a throw and catch to Austin Mack! pic.twitter.com/yd1cQs8CPL
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) November 8, 2020
Did the New York Giants find a gem in Austin Mack?
While I donâ€™t think Mack is a No.1 wide receiver, he can be a productive player at the backend of the receiving corps. As a wide receiver three or four, he has the frame to act as a red-zone target and speed to get downfield quickly. He is a smooth route runner with about average traits in every category, which is exactly what you want for a backend active receiver. He can pick up first downs and use his frame to box out corners on hook and stick routes. He picked up three first downs of his four receptions against Washington, showing how the New York Giants plan to use him in the near future.
Following the win over Washington. both Judge and QB Jones raved about Mack’s preparation and effectiveness:
“He’s always looking for extra work,” coach Joe Judge said. “He’s that guy who leaves the field last. He’s always got a smile on his face. He takes hard coaching really well. He’s a guy we’ve been very demanding on and challenge him a great deal. Simply put, I think he’s a guy that hasn’t wasted any opportunities. He was on the practice squad, a window opened, he came in, he’s made plays — all right, ball comes his way, he’s productive with it. So really, that’s just our kind of our mode of operation. Whoever’s at the game we count on to get production.”
“We learned that this week and just prepared to play and go through the plan and get ready to play,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “Austin did a great job stepping up and made a lot of plays for us. He’s someone who you can trust to be in the right spot, who’s consistent, and brings it every day in practice. I certainly have a lot of trust in him, and like I said, he stepped up and made a lot of big plays.”
Based on all of these facts and reviews, you be the judge, do you think Mack is a diamond in the rough? I certainly do.