New York Giants: Rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton emerging from the ashes

New York Giants, Golden Tate

The New York Giants spent their second of their 5th round picks on WR Darius Slayton out of Auburn. Slayton was known as a deep threat and speedster wide receiver coming into the draft. The selection appeared promising to Giants fans who watched their team lose their deep threat in their offense during the offseason. New York added another potential lethal weapon to their offensive artillery.

Slayton ran an outstanding 4.39 at the 40-yard dash during the combine along with a 40.5-inch vertical jump. Awe-inspiring numbers coming from a 6’ 1” wide receiver. The Giants were able to snag him in the 5th round of the draft after analysts had him projected to go within the first 3-4 rounds.

Coming out of college, he showed his blazing speed by posting six touchdowns of 50-plus yards since his 2017. One of his weaknesses given by NFL analyst Lance Zierlein stated that Slayton had problems countering DeAndre Baker’s tenacious coverage. Little did Zierlein know that the two once opponents would become NFL teammates through the draft process. Scouts gave him a 5.65 prospect grade, putting him in the category of “should become an instant starter.” It appeared as if the Giants had gotten a fantastic steal with the 171st overall pick in the draft.

Unfortunately, Slayton missed the first two games of the season as he dealt with a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for most of the summer. The rookie made his season debut down in Tampa Bay along with with the Giants highly anticipated 6th overall draft selection, QB Daniel Jones out of Duke.

Together the two rookies helped lead the Giants to their first win of the season by overcoming an 18-point deficit in the second half of the game. Along with Jones, Slayton shined in his NFL debut. On five targets, he caught three passes for 82 yards with his longest catch of 46 yards. He managed to display his deep threat ability by catching a 46-yard pass from quarterback Daniel Jones who was forced to move outside of the pocket to deliver a strike to Slayton. The Giants were without one of their top wide receivers, Golden Tate, for that game.

The Giants went home to face Washington during week four in hopes of collecting their second win in a row. New York was able to do that in part of their stellar defensive effort that week. Despite having a big performance the week prior, Slayton only received two targets during the game, where he caught both passes for a total of 13 yards. Unexpectedly Slayton witnessed his role in the offense decrease from the week before.

A week later, he leads the entire Giants offense in receiving yards against a strong Minnesota Vikings secondary. During the game, he was often lined up against All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Slayton found no issues in lining up against the stellar corner, putting it on display by running past Rhodes to catch his first career touchdown on a 35-yard pass from Jones. Slayton finished the game against Minnesota by catching four out of his five targets for 62 totals yards and his first career NFL touchdown.

The following week he faced another difficult matchup in Patriots All-Pro corner Stephon Gilmore. The Giants were without receiver Sterling Shepard this game, giving Slayton an increased role in the offensive playbook. He was targeted eight times this game but was only able to haul in three of those passes for 32 yards under the Thursday night lights.

How impressive has the New York Giants rookie been?

Over the past two weeks, rookie, Darius Slayton, has gone up against All-Pro cornerbacks. In those two weeks, he has accumulated a total of seven passes for 94 yards and one touchdown. Once again, there is a possibility that Slayton faces another All-Pro corner in Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals who returns to the team this week after serving his six-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Slayton is quietly making a name for himself on this Giants offense. The connection between him and Daniel Jones could be one that the Giants may get to watch for many years. Darius Slayton is making a strong case for himself to be playing alongside Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard every week. It is only a matter of time until the NFL knows who Darius Slayton is.

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