Giants' Positional Review: Wide receivers

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The disconnect between Hakeem Nicks and Eli Manning became symbolic for the failures of the Giants in 2013. We review the Giants' wide receiver position today.

Let's get back to our position-by-position review of the New York Giants. We have only two positions remaining, quarterback and wide receiver, as we saved the best for last. Today, we tackle a look at the wide receiver position.

2013 Overview

Disappointing. That has to be the primary word used to describe the production of the Giants' wide receivers in 2013. Victor Cruz is the only one who could be described as having a good season, and he even he only had four touchdown catches -- just one after Week 1. Hakeem Nicks? Ugh! Rueben Randle? Inconsistent? Jerrel Jernigan? Three good games, 13 invisible ones. Louis Murphy? Please!


Victor Cruz -- Cruz fell just two yards shy of his third straight 1,000-yard receiving season, a knee injury suffered vs. the Seattle Seahawks knocking him out of action for the final two games. Cruz is still Cruz, but he was adversely affected by the lack of production from Hakeem Nicks and from the Giants' tight ends. Cruz is not a big, physical receiver and he can be controlled when defenses can roll most of their attention his way -- as they could in 2013.

Hakeem Nicks -- Can we just move on from Nicks already? He gave the Giants little in terms of production in 2013, with 56 catches and no touchdowns. He gave them less in terms of effort -- skipping OTAs, barely practicing during the preseason, skipping and being late for treatments sessions. Nicks isn't acting like a player who wants to be in New York, no matter what words he uses, and there's a huge question as to how much physical ability he has actually lost over the past two unproductive seasons. Somebody might give him big money. No way it should be the Giants.

Rueben Randle -- Randle caught 41 passes and had a team-leading six touchdown catches. That is a step in the right direction after catching 19 passes during his 2012 rookie season. There were troubling signs as well, however. After catching six passes Week 5 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, Randle caught only 24 passes the rest of the season. Rather then getting better, he was blanked in two of the final three games. There is also the fact that eight of the 76 passes thrown toward Randle were intercepted, an unacceptable 10.5 percent. It will be very interesting to see how the offense installed by new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, which could have shorter routes with fewer options, will impact Randle.

Jerrel Jernigan -- Will the real Jerrel Jernigan please stand up? Is Jernigan the guy who caught only 13 passes in his first 29 games and obviously did not have the confidence of the coaching staff? Is he the go-to guy who caught 19 balls in the final three games of 2013? If he is the latter his speed and play-making ability provide options for McAdoo.

Louis Murphy -- The Giants signed Murphy hoping he would be a home-run hitter, a guy who would provide a deep threat. Murphy had 115 receptions in four seasons prior to signing with the Giants. His turned out to be a wasted roster spot, however, as he caught only six passes -- the longest for eight yards.

NFL Draft/Free Agency

The Giants figure to turn this group over somewhat. Nicks appears unlikely to be back, and there is no reason for them to bring Murphy back. That leaves only Cruz, Randle and Jernigan. There are several interesting wide receivers in both the 2014 NFL Draft class and the 2014 crop of NFL free agents. As of now that free-agent crop is headed by Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles.

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