New York Giants: Is Darius Slayton trending toward WR1 status?

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

After a strong rookie season where New York Giants receiver Darius Slayton posted 740 yards and eight touchdowns, the expectation was that he would improve in 2020. Some even coined him a possible wide receiver one in the NFL, showing off stellar developments in his route running and catching ability.

Dating back to the beginning of his first rookie camp, Slayton was dropping passes at an astronomical rate, but he has solved that issue and is one of the more reliable receivers for the Giants this season. Through 10 games, Slayton has 584 yards and three scores, catching nearly 60% of balls thrown in his direction.

He is on pace for 934 yards receiving end five touchdowns, but Slayton doesn’t live and die off the deep ball anymore. He’s averaging more yards per game and the same yards per reception as last year, his rookie season. His ability to run more efficient slant routes and digs has helped quarterback Daniel Jones in the passing game.

Is Darius Slayton a WR1 for the New York Giants?

At this point in his career, Darius seems to be trending toward ‘great’ status, but I don’t think he will ever reach WR1. He simply doesn’t have the elite playmaking ability and consistent hands you would see in a player like Julio Jones or DeAndre Hopkins. He’s a more slender receiver at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, utilizing his agility and speed to get open.

That doesn’t mean he can’t be incredibly efficient alongside Sterling Shepard and potentially another pass catcher in 2021. The Giants could target free agents like Allen Robinson or Kenny Golladay, who are bonafide top receivers and would bring a stellar presence to the offense.

Nonetheless, it is important to have secondary receivers that can perform exceptionally well on a weekly basis, and Slayton fits that bill perfectly. Not only has he developed into a much more refined route runner, but he pushes the defense and stretches the field, opening up the running game and play action.

Through 10 weeks, he has a 73.2 overall grade, tallying 30 first downs and four drops. Aside from the first two weeks of the season, Slayton has been solid when targeted in the passing game but is actually dropping the ball more than he did in his rookie season when he recorded just three.

I believe an uptick in targets might be the result, but he has proven to be a play-maker for the Giants and one they can rely on.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard key to offense’s success

New York Giants receiver, Sterling Shepard.

The New York Giants suffered a heart-breaking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night. But the Giants’ offense had one of its best performances of the season in that game.

New York’s offense put together three touchdown drives, including one 15-play 75-yard scoring drive. That drive was capped off with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Shepard played his first game since Week Two as he has been recovering from a turf toe injury on injured reserve.

In his first game back from injury, Sterling Shepard was excellent and proved just how important he is to the Giants’ offense.

Sterling Shepard Week 7 Stats and Highlights

Sterling Shepard was the Giants’ leading receiver on Thursday night. He totaled 6 receptions for 59 yards and 1 touchdown on 8 targets.

The key to Shepard’s success is his route running. Sterling is by far the Giants’ best route runner. He is able to run elite routes to separate from defenders and get himself open against tight coverage. Shepard averaged an impressive 4.5 yards of separation according to Next Gen Stats.

Sterling Shepard’s consistent separation is crucial for the Giants’ offense. The rest of the team’s playmakers on offense often struggle to separate on their routes. Darius Slayton is only averaging 2.1 yards of separation and Golden Tate is averaging 2.7 yards.

The Giants’ offense severely missed having Sterling Shepard on the field. But now, with Shepard healthy and back in the starting lineup, the Giants’ passing attack should improve drastically. The Giants finally have a wide receiver who can get open consistently. Expect to see Sterling Shepard finish the 2020 NFL season strong for New York.

New York Giants: WR Darius Slayton emerging as a premier playmaker

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants‘ offense has been one of the worst in the NFL through five weeks of the 2020 NFL season. Daniel Jones and the offensive line have struggled to get the offense rolling this year. There has also been a slew of injuries and some questionable play calls within Jason Garrett’s offensive scheme.

The Giants’ offense has been held back by a variety of factors. But, in the darkness, there has been one glimmer of hope. Wide receiver Darius Slayton has been excellent, despite the offense’s struggles, and appears to be emerging as a premier playmaker in New York’s offense.

Darius Slayton 2020 Stats and Highlights

Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton are both competing in their second professional seasons. Jones was the Giants’ first-round pick in 2019 and Slayton was selected in the fifth round of the same draft. The two players developed special chemistry in their rookie season. So far, as sophomores, their chemistry seems to be even stronger than it was last year.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has struggled in 2020. He has thrown only 2 touchdown passes in five games compared to 8 turnovers in the same span. But Darius Slayton has been, by far, his most reliable receiving option and his biggest playmaker.

Darius Slayton has caught each of Daniel Jones’s two touchdown passes this season, both coming in Week One against the Steelers. He has also hauled in 23 receptions on 40 targets, totaling 365 yards.

Slayton is coming off of arguably the most impressive performance of his career in Week Five versus Dallas. In this heartbreaking loss, Slayton was phenomenal, totaling 129 yards on 8 receptions and 4 missed tackles. He was a threat before and after the catch. Slayton also had a 30+ yard receiving touchdown wiped away by a penalty in that game.

This Week Five performance earned Slayton a spot on Pro Football Focus’s Team of the Week. Slayton earned an elite 91.2 receiving grade against the Cowboys.

Entering Week Six, Slayton is primed to face off against the Washington Football Team. They too have a talented second-year wide receiver in Terry McLaurin. Giants fans are hoping to see their young wide receiver outplay the other and lead the Giants to their first win of the 2020 NFL season.

New York Giants: Darius Slayton still listed as limited on latest report

The New York Giants need all the weapons on offense they can get when they face Washington in their next game. The team is still hunting for their first win and is missing both Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley – and while Shepard is set to return to practice this week and was working out with trainers recently, he won’t be back in time for the Washington game.

Therefore, any more injuries on offense will put the Giants into an especially bad spot going into this game. Unfortunately, it looks like they still have to deal with one at an important spot. Wide receiver Darius Slayton was listed as injured on the team’s most recent injury report.

Top wide receiver in question

Slayton is participating in practice but thanks to a foot injury, that’s only limited participation. That’s not great news right now for the Giants because Slayton is by far their top receiver. Slayton not only has a pair of touchdowns but has significantly more receiving yards than the players that are behind him on the list – Evan Engram and Golden Tate. Thanks to his injury, Sterling Shepard only has 76 yards despite being projected as one of the receiving leaders.

Perhaps more importantly, Slayton possesses good chemistry with quarterback Daniel Jones. With Jones under enough pressure right now, the last thing he needs is having to play an upcoming game without his favorite target in the passing game.

Still, the fact that it’s only midweek rather than later in the week is a reason to have some hope in this case. There’s still time for Slayton to shed the limited designation and return to playing at full speed before the Giants take on Washington on Sunday.

But will the receiver be in top shape for that matchup given the injury trouble that’s present now? That’s something we might not know until the Giants take the field and look to avoid an 0-6 start.

Giants’ Passing Game Targets Shift with Barkley, Shepard Out

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants will be without running back Saquon Barkley (knee) for the remainder of the season and Sterling Shepard which will change the target/touches dynamic of their already challenged offense.

The Giants are the lowest scoring team (they have 29 points, one less than the Jets after two games) and now must figure out who will be their “go to” players going forward. Currently, wide receiver Darius Slayton and tight end Evan Engram lead the team in targets in the passing game with 15 apiece. That is likely to continue, as both players are two of the most attractive targets in the league at their respective positions, in the coming games.

But who else on the Giants’ offense could benefit?

Golden Tate returned last week after missing the opener against Pittsburgh with a hamstring issue. Tate caught all five of his targets for 47 yards last week against the Bears. You can expect this reliable veteran who has become a favorite of quarterback Daniel Jones to see an uptick in targets until Shepard returns.

Barkley had nine targets in the five and half quarters he played this year and was a key cog in the passing game. Luckily for the Giants they now have three backs who can all catch the football out of the backfield: Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman and Devonta Freeman. In the beginning, we will likely see more of Lewis and Gallman due to their familiarity with the offense but it is expected that Freeman will be asked to contribute more and more as the season unfolds. This should be interesting.

At the wide receiver position, the Giants aren’t very deep. After Slayton and Tate, there’s only Damion Ratley and C.J. Board. The team has decided to house four tight ends on the roster (Engram, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, Eric Tomlinson) instead. The Giants will need Board and Ratley to produce in three-wide sets and we just haven’t seen enough of either to predict how that is going to play out.

At tight end, only Smith can be relied on as a pass catcher behind Engram. He has become a favorite of Jones, especially in the red zone should the Giants ever get there again.

Do the New York Giants have a WR1 in Darius Slayton?

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

When you compare New York Giants’ wide receiver Darius Slayton’s route chart to 2019, the majority of his action came in the deeper portion of the field. A lot of streaks and hooks are his bread and butter, but in week one of the 2020 regular season, he displayed immense maturity in his route tree.

Slayton finished the contest and the eventual loss of the Pittsburgh Steelers with six receptions, 102 yards, and two touchdowns. He has quickly become quarterback Daniel Jones‘s favorite target and continues to produce on a weekly basis. From the contest, his chart includes posts, hook routes, drag routes, and more. This is a noticeable development in his ability to expand and improve his skill set — a very positive sign for a receiver that was drafted in the 5th round last year.

The New York Giants have a budding star:

With options on the roster like Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram, some might think that more talented players would bury Slayton. Nonetheless, he has turned into a cemented option and potentially a WR1 for Jones in the passing game.

In 2019, Slayton earned a 57.1% catch rate over 14 games. So far, in one contest, he has a 66.7% catch rate and 11.3 yards per target. His sample size is much smaller, but he’s trending in the right direction for the Giants. Dating back to his week 17 performance, Slayton finished his 2019 campaign with 154 yards and two scores. A majority of his routes were deep boundary routes.

Interestingly, Slayton only ran five routes that weren’t beyond 20 yards downfield. On Monday night against the Steelers, he ran seven routes that didn’t go beyond 20 yards. That is a clear indication that they see him as a smooth route runner who has improved during the off-season. That is a huge sign for Jones and his wide receiver corps. If he can continue to produce and improve on his skill set, the Giants might be set on the outside for years to come.

New York Giants: Recapping Today’s Practice

The New York Giants practiced today after taking Saturday off. The offense and defense faced off earlier this Friday for the first intra-squad scrimmage of training camp. Today, though, the team had a standard practice. Despite the COVID scare in the NFL today, the Giants still held their walkthrough.

In the NFL, multiple teams had positive COVID tests from Saturday’s daily testing. The Giants were one of the teams that had staff members test positive. But, according to reports, the tests around the league were false positive. There was an issue at a lab in New Jersey. The Giants and all other teams affected took the necessary precautions, but it appears that these tests were inaccurate and there is not actually a spike in COVID cases within the NFL.

Today’s Practice Recap

The Giants had a light practice today. It was an easy Sunday as the players continue to recover from their hard scrimmage on Friday. The team is likely to speed things up again tomorrow, though, after today’s practice was “little more than a walkthrough.”

Two key players did not participate in today’s practice: linebacker Ryan Connelly and fullback Eli Penny.

Quarterbacks coach Joe Schuplisnki offered some praise for the team’s young quarterback, Daniel Jones, today. Schuplinski explained that he worked out Daniel Jones before the 2019 NFL Draft (with the Patriots) and thought his “arm looked good.” But the quarterbacks coach thinks Jones’s arm “looks even stronger now.” Schuplinski said this has been “eye-opening” for him.

Practice Highlights

Second-year wide receiver Darius Slayton made an impressive toe-tap touchdown catch today:

Post-Practice Quotes

The Giants have practiced hard throughout training camp. It has been high-intensity, but there have not been any fights yet. If fights do happen, though, head coach Joe Judge has a response plan:

“If you fight in a game, you get penalized and get ejected. We’ll play nasty, not dirty. If you get thrown out for fighting in a game, you can get kicked out of practice.” – Joe Judge on team fights during practice via Matt Lombardo

Joe Judge is still delivering on his promises: this will be a disciplined, no-nonsense team under his control. Judge has been receiving plenty of praise and criticism for his hard, disciplined practice style so far. But the players and assistant coaches have all had positive things to say about Judge. Outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema said today: “There’s no falseness to it, there’s no just trying to put a certain look. It’s just him being real.” Judge has made an authentic, genuine impression on his staff.

Is A Breakout Season In Store For New York Giants WR Darius Slayton?

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants’ offense showed an abundance of potential in 2019. The Giants had young playmakers make an impact, like Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones, and Darius Slayton. But they were never all on the field together at the same time last season. Each player dealt with an injury at one point or another, keeping the team’s offense from maximizing its true potential.

Entering 2020, everyone seems to be healthy. Even Evan Engram is healthy along with the rest of the offensive playmakers. Hopefully, it will stay that way. One of the Giants’ playmakers who stayed healthy for the majority of the 2019 season was Darius Slayton. Big Play Slay appeared in 14 games for the Giants and quickly emerged as one of the team’s best players.

Darius Slayton Stats And Highlights

The 2019 fifth-round pick out of Auburn was a true diamond in the rough in last year’s NFL Draft. Initially touted as a deep-threat receiving prospect, Slayton quickly expanded his game in the pros. At the beginning of his rookie season, Pat Shurmur utilized Slayton as a pure deep-threat. The overwhelming majority of Darius’s routes were vertical/go routes. But as the season progressed, so did Darius Slayton, and he really expanded his route tree. This lead to success for the speedster from Auburn.

Darius Slayton led the New York Giants in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns as a rookie in 2019. The rookie totaled 48 receptions for 740 yards and 8 touchdowns (tied for the most receiving touchdowns by a rookie in the NFL). Heading into his second season, Slayton looks prepared and ready to take that next step as the Giants’ WR1. Check out this fire touchdown catch Slayton made in training camp:

New York has lacked a big-body outside receiver in recent years. Darius Slayton started to fill that role last season and looks ready to thrive in that role this season. The Giants will be implementing a new offensive scheme under Jason Garrett. Outside receivers were featured heavily in his offense in Dallas, such as Dez Bryant and Michael Gallup. Darius Slayton should fill that Bryant/Gallup role for the Giants in 2020.

New York Giants: Darius Slayton Excited For Explosive Offense

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

Offense might be one of the bright areas for the New York Giants this year. That’s not to say that everything is perfect for them on that side of the ball. However, the future looks bright based on the pieces the Giants have there.

Quarterback Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are major young pieces on the offense that will probably have better numbers next season. And of course, Darius Slayton has emerged as the top receiver on the team. Slayton is one of the players the most excited about the new offense the team has this year. While the personnel hasn’t changed entirely, the team has a new coaching staff and new schemes.

According to Slayton, there’s big things to expect from this new offense.

Slayton makes claims of an explosive offense

The Giants have a good chance to be explosive this year. At least, that’s what Darius Slayton claims.

“I think we just have a really good chance to be explosive. I think we have a chance to be an explosive offense, a really efficient offense. I just look forward to playing this year,” Slayton said to the team website, as training camp moved into its second phase.

He would go into more detail about what the Giants are doing right. That involves changes to the schemes from new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

“I think it just does a really good job of harnessing all of our weapons on our offensive skill set…  I think the offense does a really good job holistically of getting everyone involved. Everybody will have a chance to get the ball and have the opportunity to make plays,” Slayton continued.

Slayton led the team in touchdowns last season. This year, it looks like he’ll be in the running to do the same. And like the other receivers, Slayton may just have better odds under more competent coaching than the previous regime.

New York Giants: Corey Coleman Healthy And Ready To Earn WR4 Position

New York Giants, Corey Coleman

The New York Giants‘ offense has battled injuries over the last couple of seasons. Last year, all of the Giants’ top playmakers missed time with injuries at some point or another. Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones, Evan Engram, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard were all absent at one point or another. All of those players suffered injuries midseason and did get regular-season action. But the Giants have another playmaker on their roster who suffered an injury prior to the start of the regular season, keeping him sidelined the whole year.

Wide receiver Corey Coleman tore his ACL in training camp last year. He missed the entire 2019 season. The Giants certainly felt Coleman’s absence as the season went on, seeing multiple injuries arise in the receiving corps. But entering the 2020 season, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert says that Corey Coleman is healthy and ready to go.

Tyke Tolbert On Corey Coleman

New York Giants wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert spoke with the media today as the team begins full-squad practices. Tolbert has been a coach with the Giants since 2018, making him one of the few coaches leftover from Pat Shurmur’s staff. Tolbert has done an excellent job with the Giants’ wide receivers and has received plenty of praise from his players.

Tolbert discussed wide receiver Corey Coleman today, saying Coleman is “pretty much back to what he was before he was injured.” Coleman has struggled with injuries throughout his career, so it is encouraging to hear he is healthy and ready for 2020.

Tolbert also had this to say about Darius Slayton:

Corey Coleman’s Return

Corey Coleman has been with the Giants since 2018. Since then, he has only been active for 8 games and started in 1 game. Last offseason, former head coach Pat Shurmur expressed confidence in Coleman, saying he had big plans for the receiver. Unfortunately, Giants fans never got to see those plans put into place as Coleman suffered a torn ACL early on in training camp.

Coleman is a former first-round pick that has struggled to stay on the field in his career. He has never played more than 10 games in a season. Corey was electric during his collegiate career at Baylor and has certainly flashed potential in the NFL. But he has never been able to put it all together.

Now that Corey Coleman is fully recovered from his injury, he can finally return to the field and prove the doubters wrong. The Giants have plenty of depth at the wide receiver position. They recently signed three undrafted free agents to compete for the backup wide receiver positions. Coleman will need to impress in training camp to prevent one of the rookies from taking his spot.