Even as a mid-round pick in 2011, Jerrel Jernigan came to the New York Giants with sleeper potential as a potentially explosive receiver and returner. That potential remains untapped, and entering his fourth pro season, Jernigan has quite a bit riding on 2014. Let's explore that opportunity as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp on July 21.
2013 Season in Review
Jernigan appeared in all but one game last season, starting three and finishing with 29 receptions for 329 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed the ball twice, with one attempt going for a 49-yard touchdown. That highlight is everything the Giants are hoping to see more of in 2014. Nineteen of his catches came in the final three games, when Jernigan finally showed the play-making ability the Giants had been waiting to see.
At this point, the Giants' wide receiver depth chart seems to shake out as follows: Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. as the top three. Jernigan and Mario Manningham, if he is healthy, would seem to come after that. Can Jernigan continue to flash the play-making skills he showed at the end of last season?
Jernigan is in the mix as a kickoff returner, but Quintin Demps, Trindon Holliday and David Wilson would all appear to be ahead of him. Regardless, there will be plenty of eyes on Jernigan -- just ask owner Chris Mara, who had this to say after Jernigan caught seven, six and six passes in the last three games of 2013, respectively:
"I'm not sure why it took us three years to find out Jerrel Jernigan can play," Mara said. "We finally put him in the game and he starts making plays. Sometimes you have to put young players in the game and give them a chance to fail or succeed. That's true not only with him but other guys, too."