Last season, the New York Giants expected Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate to be their leading receivers, and ended up with a surprise as Darius Slayton had a breakout performance filling in for both players at different points in the year.
Slayton was the leading receiver on the team as a rookie, during their first season in recent years without Odell Beckham Jr. headlining the wide receiver position as the number one option. While no Giants receiver broke 1,000 yards receiving last year, Slayton came the closest with 740 yards and also led the team in touchdowns with 8, after appearing in 14 games and starting 9 of them.
To make the numbers more impressive, it’s worth noting that Shepard, Tate, and Corey Latimer each had one more start than Slayton did. Going into the second season, of course, it looks like the young receiver is primed for a jump forward as one of the main weapons on a team that’s still looking for a prolific option at wide receiver.
“My confidence is something that built as the year went on last year. Hopefully this year, I’ll be able to hit it Week 1 running. It’s mostly internal. It’s just all in your head to me. Especially for receivers, to get the ball you’ve got to catch it, catch it low, high, behind you. I think it just starts from having unwavering faith in your hands basically,” Slayton said in an interview with Giants.com.
Unfortunately, the usual offseason training for both Slayton and other members of the Giants has been disrupted by the current pandemic. While training camp is set to happen next month, the Giants have had to run a virtual offseason program up to this point, and it remains to be seen how the lost in-person training time will affect the team when the season does finally come.
“You just start to feel the need for it,” Slayton said, referring to the face to face training that’s been skipped so far during the offseason. “Even with fans, I think you start to feel the need for it after a while. So my body is itching to get back out there, itching to compete and just trying to see and meet my teammates in the flesh and be able to hang out with them again – all those things that come with it.”
He says that both he and Daniel Jones are working hard and that both players will be ready when they make it back to the training facility.
Whether the duo will improve through the 2020 season remains to be seen, but with the Giants not having fully replaced Beckham yet and with Shepard’s concussion problems from last year, it’s not unreasonable to think Slayton does have a big chance to assert himself as the team’s top receiving threat this year.