The New York Giants made it a priority to overhaul their wide receiver unit this off-season, but they are playing a risky game with a number of injury-prone players they’ve added to the mix.
Ultimately, they have a few reliable names, notably Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins, but neither are top wideouts that justify a large target share — they’re impact players and their respective ways.
Big Blue has the opportunity to draft a receiver in the first round next week, but it is entirely possible to go in a different direction, landing a starting cornerback or even a top center. While the receiver unit is objectively better than it was in 2022, things could easily crumble if injuries take over.
The Giants’ WR plan is a risky one:
Aside from Hodgins and Slayton, the Giants are committing a ton of faith to players who historically haven’t been durable.
For example, Sterling Shepard hasn’t played over seven games since 2020, playing just six in 2021 and three last year before tearing his ACL against the Dallas Cowboys. Newly signed slot receiver Parris Campbell enjoyed his first full season in 2022, playing all 17 games. Campbell suggested that he has a better pulse on his health, but having never played over seven games before this past season indicates that could be a mirage.
General manager Joe Schoen executed one big trade this off-season, landing Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders. While Waller is considered a tight end, his impact comes in the passing game, and he acts as a de-facto receiver. At 30 years old, Waller has a pretty serious health history, playing just nine games last year and 11 games in 2021. He’s several years removed from his last 1000-yard season, but he offers WR1 production when available.
Essentially, the Giants are trying to skirt around having to draft a receiver this year with some of these acquisitions. Three of their primary targets are regularly injured, and Wan’Dale Robinson, their second-round pick from last off-season, is returning from an ACL tear. That is not even to mention Collin Johnson also underwent ACL surgery in 2022.
Big Blue did change the turf at MetLife Stadium, which should help decrease the number of knee injuries sustained in the future. However, the Giants could find themselves grasping at straws once again if the injury bug hits. It wouldn’t be a terrible move to draft the receiver in the first or second round, bolstering the unit and providing essential depth. Ultimately, it depends on how the draft board shakes out and if Schoen finds the value he’s looking for with quality upside.