It is no secret that the New York Giants have one of the weakest offenses in the NFL, based on their 17.5 points per game during the 2020 season. Losing star running back Saquon Barkley in weaken 2 against the Chicago Bears significantly hurt their chances at even mediocrity. Coordinator Jason Garrett struggled to get things going with a lack of talent. While he did manage to spur a decent run game, which averaged 110.5 points per game behind a suspect offensive line, the passing game ranked 29th in the NFL in yards per game at 189.1.
Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones threw just 11 touchdowns, one year after throwing 24 in his rookie campaign. While Garrett didnâ€™t do himself any favors regarding his passing attack, the running game earned him another season, most likely.
However, this off-season represents a great opportunity for the Giants to upgrade the receiving corps, whether it be in free agency or in the NFL draft. There are a bevy of FA options, including elite targets like Allen Robinson and second-level options such as Corey Davis and Kenny Golladay.
Three premium level receivers could fall to New York when it comes to the draft, but it is unlikely that Jaâ€™Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith make it to the 11th overall pick. The Giants, though, could watch Alabama standout Jaylen Waddle fall right into their laps, given he dealt with an ankle injury during the 2020 season, which significantly affected his statistical output.
How Waddle could transform the New York Giants offense:
Waddle is an intriguing prospect, composed of elite athleticism and defense-destroying speed. At 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds, heâ€™s not an imposing receiver by means of his frame and size, but he is slightly faster than Henry Ruggs and is capable of running an offense that is designed to get him open. If you are unfamiliar with Ruggs, he ran a 4.27 40-yard dash in 2020, blowing the top off of defenses regularly during his rookie campaign.
Believe it or not, Waddle is an even more exciting prospect, based on his route running capabilities and versatile attributes. With consistent hands and fantastic body control, utilizing him in the slot or Z receiver alignment is how a team like the Giants can maximize his potential.
Before suffering an ankle injury this past season, he posted 591 yards and four scores over just six games. He was averaging 21.1 yards per reception, indicating his ability to pick up yards after the catch and make tacklers miss in the open field. Essentially, from the Z stance, heâ€™s lined up a few feet from the line of scrimmage, making it incredibly hard for corners to press him. By using his speed, he can avoid contact and blow by them, creating significant separation, something the Giants have lacked.
He is a player that benefits from schemes that utilize pre-snap motion and bunch wide receiver sets. Waddle plays extremely similarly to Tyreek Hill in the sense that he moves around the backfield pre-snap regularly and creates separation instantaneously. Offering Daniel Jones a weapon like Jaylen would not really help his ability in the short/intermediate zones but also push the field up the seams and spray-fade routes, a route that Garrett loves to utilize from the slot/Z alignment.
The attention a player like Waddle will command also opens up the running game, and having a back like Saquon is a perfect combo. Athleticism and natural traits are not something you can teach, and Waddle has so much more than that. He would be a fantastic selection if he drops to the 11th pick, and he would like the revolutionize the Giantsâ€™ offense.
The Alabama product is also a phenomenal return man, especially on punts. While the Giants do have several options in that category, take a look at this clip for a nice surprise!
Yeahhh…. So Jaylen Waddle is nasty!!
I'd be fine with the Giants taking him — elite punt-returner and so much more. pic.twitter.com/2s5RNnObNc
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) January 25, 2021