New York Giants: One young UDFA to keep an eye on in week 6

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Austin Mack
New York Giants wide receiver Austin Mack #81 runs drills during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.

With the New York Giants gearing up to face off against the Washington Football Team in week six, all hands are on deck for what needs to be the team’s first victory of the season. Starting 0-5 is unacceptable, especially since general manager Dave Gettleman has had three seasons to change the course of the franchise.

While Gettleman has made some good moves and plenty of poor decisions, the fan base is losing patience with management and their inconsistencies. Ranging from poor draft picks to questionable free-agent signings over the years, New York needs to smell and taste a bit of success.

With the seasonal all but lost, the Giants need to begin utilizing their youth and offering high-upside players opportunities. With veteran pass-catcher Sterling Shepard missing his fourth consecutive game against Washington this week (turf toe), the Giants elected to give UDFA Austin Mack his first opportunity.

Mack has given defensive backs trouble all season long, dating back to training camp. His smooth route running and deceiving strength make him an excellent option in the receiving game.

With Ohio State in 2019, Mack hauled in 27 receptions for 361 yards and three touchdowns. His traits make him a solid prospect, and the Giants will be looking to extract some value from him on Sunday. Back during draft evaluations, scouts spoke about Mack’s natural talent as a boundary receiver. He has a physically imposing frame and fearless mentality — exactly what teams look for.

While Mack was activated two weeks ago, the Giants didn’t dress him. However, they waived former Cleveland Browns receiver Damion Ratley, this past week, elevating Austin to the active roster and all but guaranteeing him his first shot at stardom in the NFL.

Currently, the Giants’ offense ranks 31st in the NFL, averaging 16.2 points. In the passing game, they ranked 28th, averaging 203.4 yards per contest. After a solid showing against the Dallas Cowboys in week five, they will be taking on a stronger Washington unit. Washington is allowing just 226.8 yards per game through the air while Dallas is giving up 248.6.

Washington certainly has a more imposing defense, but the Giants showed a bit of creativity against Dallas that was absent through the first four weeks. Hopefully, Jason Garrett can continue to build off his promising first-half performance against the Cowboys.