Coming into the 2015 season, it looked as though the Giants were stocked for the future at wide receiver. Odell Beckham Jr, Rueben Randle, Victor Cruz, Dwayne Harris and more made up a core at the position that was supposed to represent a strength. However, things didn't work out as well as expected. Now, the Giants have a need at wide receiver, given Randle is heading into free agency, Cruz's uncertain health and a lack of overall depth behind Beckham.
One of the Giants' targets in the 2016 NFL Draft could be former Illinois wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who stood out last week at the Shrine Game practices and excelled even more during the game on Saturday, January 23. Here's what NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks had to say about Allison's week at the Shrine Game.
Illinois WR Geronimo Allison has been the most impressive player at East-West Shrine Game practices. He is a fluid athlete with a nice combination of balance, body control and agility. As a precise route runner, Allison has consistently gotten open and displayed strong hands when snatching the ball out of the air. If he performs to the level that he has shown throughout the week, he could walk away with some hardware at the end of the game.
- Tall receiver with strong, soft hands -- ideal for a possession-type receiver.
- Quick footwork is a plus.
- Catches the ball with his hands, not his body. Snatches the ball out of the air routinely.
- Willing blocker in both the pass and run game. Noted as a tough player during Shrine Game practices.
- Heralded route-runner. Takes great angles.
- Length stands out, helps him extend to make tough catches, especially on the sidelines.
- Voted team captain several weeks throughout the year, is a very serious leader.
- Strength is an area of concern for Allison. Can he win consistently at the line of scrimmage?
- Not very good at separating. NFL corners will sit on his underneath routes.
- Certainly not a home run hitter. Allison lacks deep speed and is a below average deep threat.
- Hips are somewhat stiff, does not accelerate well coming out of breaks. Doesn't play the game fast overall.
- Still a raw player. Did not start playing football until senior year of high school.
Big Board Rankings
CBS: No. 472 overall
Does He Fit with the Giants?
Allison was one of the top performers throughout the week at the Shrine Game practices, capping it off by catching two touchdowns in the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday. Allison finished the game with six receptions for 68 yards. During his final season at Illinois, Allison led the Fighting Illini with 65 receptions and 882 receiving yards, while being named to the All-Big Ten Honorable Mention team. Allison came into the week as a sleeper prospect, but NFL scouts certainly know his name and will have him on their draft boards now. As draft analysts like to say, Allison made himself money at the Shrine Game.
The Giants lack a tall, possession-type receiver. Allison's quickness and strong hands make him a fit in the Giants' West Coast offense. Allison would be the tallest wide receiver on the Giants' roster if he was drafted. As noted earlier, Allison is raw, but his abilities make him a high-upside selection late in the draft.
Allison should be a player that the Giants look at in the later rounds of the NFL Draft if the position is not addressed beforehand. He's a willing run blocker and will assist in that aspect, which is something the Giants could not consistently do this past season. He does struggle in separating, but his creative and skilled route-running would certainly help him in the Giants offense. His speed is an issue, and adjusting to the fast pace of the NFL game will not happen overnight for Allison. However, Allison has a strong work ethic, which he credits to his mother in a revealing, but interesting interview. I don't think he's someone who can step in as a starter right away, but he is certainly worth a flier in the late rounds and could be a pleasant surprise in training camp if he can continue building momentum after a sensational week at the Shrine Game. Plus, every time he scores a touchdown, fans can yell "Geronimo!"