Giants’ veteran slot receiver makes strong case to win roster spot

nfl: preseason-new york giants at detroit lions, cole beasley
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

While the New York Giants faced a defeat against the Detroit Lions in the preseason’s opening week, there were several performances that signaled positive progress.

Wide Receiver Position in Flux

The wide receiver unit of the Giants is set for significant overturn in the coming weeks. Notably, the team recently onboarded the experienced Cole Beasley, primarily due to the anticipation of Wan’Dale Robinson being sidelined for longer. Contrary to expectations, Robinson is slated for an earlier-than-expected return, creating a possible hurdle for Beasley’s inclusion in the roster.

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Beasley’s Impressive Performance Against Detroit

Despite these challenges, the 34-year-old slot receiver showcased his skills against Detroit, registering four catches for 38 yards, with his longest reception being 18 yards. Remarkably, he maintained a perfect record, catching all passes thrown his way, indicating he still possesses ample energy.

Reflecting on Beasley’s Prolific Career

Age hasn’t dampened Beasley’s abilities. Just two years ago, he recorded a solid 693 yards with one touchdown. In 2020, he amped up his game, capturing 967 yards with four touchdowns and maintaining a commendable 76.6% catch rate.

Spanning his extensive career, which includes 153 regular-season matches, he’s accumulated 5,744 yards with 34 touchdowns. His experience, paired with the trust he earned from head coach Brian Daboll during his stint with the Buffalo Bills, remains noteworthy.

Giants’ Overstocked Slot Options

A challenge for Beasley arises from the Giants’ abundance of slot options. Wan’Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepard, Parris Campbell, and Jalin Hyatt all have potential in the slot.

Furthermore, recently acquired tight end Darren Waller is projected to occupy the slot position primarily. This arrangement might limit chances for players like Beasley.

To add context, Beasley spent 85.1% of his playing time in the slot between Buffalo and Tampa Bay, closely aligning with his career average of 86.4%. Notably, he boasts a low 4.5% drop rate, translating to just 28 drops out of 805 targets.

Weighing Beasley’s Role in the 2023 Season

For the Giants, having a veteran like Beasley could be instrumental in mentoring the younger receivers. While it wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants head into the season with seven receivers, the challenge remains in finalizing those names.

Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, and Wan’Dale Robinson appear to have secure spots. As the Giants mull over the last available slot, Beasley’s consistent talent might be the key to him securing a pivotal role in the 2023 season.