Heading into the 2023 season, the New York Giants have made considerable strides in developing their wide receiver corps.
Although they were unable to secure a definitive WR1, they made a noteworthy trade for star tight end Darren Waller, who boasts statistics on par with the top receivers in the NFL.
General Manager Joe Schoen opted to sign several players to contracts loaded with incentives, a strategy aimed at eliciting the best performances from each individual player. The team has revamped the slot receiver position entirely, introducing new talent that could revolutionize the way the Giants’ offense functions in future games.
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The Giants have a ton of mouths to feed:
The team anticipates the return of second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson, who sustained an ACL injury during a game against the Detroit Lions last year. Before his injury, Robinson was enjoying a promising rookie season, amassing 227 yards and a touchdown, with a catch rate of 74.2%.
With more players to distribute the ball to, Robinson should attract less defensive attention, granting him more space to work with. Known for his agility, Robinson primarily operates in shorter portions of the field, enabling him to accumulate yards after the catch.
While it’s unlikely that Robinson will make a significant impact during the first half of the season, his contributions could prove valuable later in the season and potentially during a playoff run.
Additionally, the Giants essentially swapped Richie James for Parris Campbell, a player blessed with impressive 4.30 speed and dependable hands.
In 2022, Campbell completed his first full 17-game season, but the substandard quarterback situation at the Indianapolis Colts limited his potential. Despite these obstacles, Campbell recorded a career total of 623 receiving yards and three touchdowns, indicating his best performances might yet be to come.
As Campbell primarily works from the slot and possesses superior speed, the Giants should be able to exploit the seams and utilize crossing concepts to outwit opposing defensive backs.
The return of Sterling Shepard, who also suffered an ACL injury, should not be overlooked. Shepard accumulated 154 yards and a touchdown in the first three games of the season, demonstrating his positive influence.
While Shepard’s susceptibility to injury makes him an unreliable regular starter, he could serve as an excellent auxiliary piece, providing solid blocking from the slot position during running plays.
Since the Giants no longer need Shepard as an every-play option, they can use him selectively and leverage his strengths.
In the third round of the draft, the Giants selected Jalin Hyatt from Tennessee, who gained ample experience in the slot position at the collegiate level.
During his final season as a senior, he accumulated 1,267 receiving yards and scored 15 touchdowns from 67 receptions. Observers will be interested to see how Hyatt is utilized as a rookie, likely broadening his route tree and incorporating him into the offense to capitalize on his speed.
Hyatt’s undeniable talent will demand attention from opposing defenses downfield. His presence alone should create opportunities for players like Robinson and Campbell on underneath routes and targets.
The challenge for the Giants’ offense will be to distribute the ball evenly among all these primary slot options. They might employ more bunch formations and begin allotting reps to their faster players on the outside. This doesn’t even take into account Waller, who plays over 30% of his snaps from the slot position.
Evidently, the Giants have a wealth of talent at their disposal. The task now is to devise a strategy that allows each player to thrive.