The New York Giants are revamping their offense this offseason. The Giants averaged a putrid 17.5 points per game in 2020. Dave Gettleman and John Mara promised to add playmakers to New York’s offense this offseason. However, the Giants are tight on salary cap space and have begun cutting players to make room.
This week, the Giants released veteran wide receiver Golden Tate after two years with the team. Cutting Tate freed up $6.2 million in salary cap space. But now the Giants’ offense, which already lacked playmakers, is without its starting slot receiver. New York is already expected to target outside wide receivers in free agency and the draft, but they will need to find a new receiver to man the slot.
Thankfully, the 2021 NFL Draft is loaded with wide receiver talent. There are talented wide receivers for the Giants to target on the outside or in the slot. In the middle rounds, New York might be able to find a gem of a slot receiver to replace Golden Tate.
Slot receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft
Golden Tate’s key strength throughout his career in the NFL has been his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. He was touted as a “YAC King” because of his playmaking ability. Clemson’s Amari Rodgers is a gym rat whose game mirrors Golden Tate’s in multiple ways.
Rodgers topped 1,000 receiving yards in Clemson’s offense this season along with 7 touchdowns on 77 receptions. He is a shorter wide receiver at 5 feet 9 inches but he has a surplus of strength and size at 211 pounds. Amari Rodgers moves like a running back but is aggressive at the catch point and has the ball skills of an outside wide receiver.
Amari is an exciting slot receiver prospect. He has reliable hands and solid athleticism, combined with his stocky build and physical playing style. Rodgers looks like a young Golden Tate clone at times on the field. In the 2021 NFL Draft, Amari Rodgers is expected to be drafted in the later rounds, making him a perfect target for the Giants to take a chance on as an additional slot receiver.
Amon-Ra St. Brown
USC has been churning out talented wide receiver prospects on an annual basis. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Pittman Jr., and now, Amon-Ra St. Brown. The brother of the Green Bay Packers’ Equanimeous St. Brown, Amon-Ra, is entering the NFL this year. While he played primarily on the outside in college, St. Brown could find himself playing a slot receiver role at the next level.
Amon-Ra is a 6 foot 1 inch, 195 pound wide receiver that the Giants could consider targeting in the second or third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. St. Brown is skilled at the catch point and demonstrated versatility in college. He lined up in the slot and outside and made plays from both positions. St. Brown was a playmaker for USC, recording 13 touchdowns in his final 19 games along with 1,520 receiving yards.
His experience in the slot and outside could make St. Brown an enticing prospect for the Giants, a team that needs help at both wide receiver positions. His experience at both positions also gives Amon-Ra a full route tree at his disposable to unleash in his rookie season. Amon-Ra St. Brown might not be that dominant primary receiving threat the Giants are hoping to find, but he could be an excellent complimentary piece in Jason Garrett’s offense.
The Giants could target an exciting slot receiver prospect out of Ole Miss in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Elijah Moore is the next best receiver prospect to enter the league out of Ole Miss. Of course, DK Metcalf and AJ Brown are Ole Miss products that have turned into dominant primary receivers for their respective NFL teams.
Elijah Moore is projected to be a prototypical slot receiver in the NFL, despite playing his fair share of snaps on the outside in college. Moore is a tough receiver that is not afraid to make ugly plays over the middle of the field. He runs some impressive routes and has some of the most reliable hands in the draft class. Moore only dropped 2 passes in his 2020, per PFF.
He did line up outside sometimes, but Elijah Moore only faced press coverage 38 times. Elijah looks plays like a young Cole Beasley and should make an impact immediately in the NFL as a slot receiver.