The offensive player the New York Giants should be most excited about

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Darius Slayton, Saquon Barkley
Nov 10, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) celebrate after a touchdown against the New York Jets during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The most talented offensive player for the New York Giants is undoubtedly Saquon Barkley. In 2019, he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that significantly limited his production. Compared to 2018, Barkley enjoyed about 300 fewer yards, and cut his touchdown totals in half. His receiving numbers were nearly cut in half as well, indicating a major decrease in efficiency, which was directly correlated to his injury.

Nonetheless, everybody realizes Barkley’s talent and how quickly he can influence any given contest. However, the offensive player we should all be thinking about is wide receiver, Darius Slayton.

The New York Giants might have something special in Darius Slayton:

Slayton was fantastic during his rookie season in 2019, posting 740 yards and eight touchdowns. He led the team in both categories and was tied for first in touchdown catches among rookie past catchers. The most exciting aspect of Slayton was how quickly he developed from rookie minicamp to the regular season. He started off his career, dropping everything in sight but promptly turned that around became one of Daniel Jones’s most sure-fire targets. His 57.1% catch rate was not exactly where you might want it to be, but as a fifth-round pick, you can’t expect him to have it all figured out in year one.

While his production doesn’t resemble Odell Beckham Jr.’s in his rookie campaign, Slayton is already leaving a mark as a late-round pick. The development he saw in his route tree was impressive, utilizing his speed and lateral quickness to improve his slant routes and vertical abilities.

The influence of a top wideout can be significant, referring back to both Philadelphia Eagles matchups from the 2019 season. In their first contest, Darius posted 154 yards and two touchdowns, catching 62.5% of his targets. This production ultimately forced the Eagles to game-plan around him in their second game of the season in week 17.

In Slayton’s second game against Philadelphia, he only totaled 50 yards and didn’t manage to get into the end zone. This attests to how the Eagles valued him on the Giants’ offense and what they were willing to do to ensure he didn’t thrash them for a second consecutive time. When you have defensive coordinators focusing on specific players, you know they are serious threats and can change the game at any moment. The fact teams are beginning to realize the former Auburn wide receiver’s abilities and planning to stop him is a big sign that his development was a major success.

If he can continue to develop his route tree and improve his hands, Slayton can easily become the top receiver for the New York Giants.