The New York Giants are nominally set at receiving options heading in to the 2018 off-season. They have Odell Beckham Jr, who re-wrote record books in his first three seasons, before having his fourth derailed by injury. Sterling Shepard is one of the most productive slot receivers in the league, and Evan Engram produced at an high level despite being the team’s sole offensive weapon most of the year and struggling with drops.
However, 2017 also showed that the Giants don’t have much behind their top receivers.
Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris might well be cap casualties as Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur re-work the roster, while the bevy of young receivers pushed up the depth chart by injury didn’t exactly inspire fear in defenses.
A wide receiver (probably) isn’t in play for the Giants’ first round pick, but they certainly could be looking at the position later in the draft. Here is my list of the best receivers in this draft class.
- Calvin Ridley (Alabama) - Ridley has been underused by Alabama since Lane Kiffen stopped calling the offense, but he is a worthy heir to Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. Ridley is a solid route runner with the ability to blow the top off a defense for a game-changing play.
- James Washington (Oklahoma State) - There will be those who crossed Washington off their board when he measured 5’10 7/8” at the Senior Bowl. However, he also boasts a thick 210 pound build and 34-inch arms to more than make up for his height. Washington is a physical receiver and his ability to find and adjust to the ball in the air is downright rare.
- Courtland Sutton (SMU) - Sutton will likely be the darling to the scouting combine, and with a powerful 6’3,” 215-pound frame, he looks like an NFL “X” receiver. He will have to overcome any skepticism related to his level of competition, as well as answer questions related to his long speed.
- Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) - An undersized receiver, Kirk is probably destined to be a slot receiver in the NFL, but he has garnered a reputation as a “baby Beckham” among scouts. Kirk’s blend of speed, agility, and fluid athleticism made him a prolific playmaker on offense and special teams.
- Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame) - St. Brown has been limited by Notre Dame’s quarterbacking, but his physical skills are intriguing. Listed at 6’4,” 205 pounds, St. Brown isn’t exactly a “big bodied” receiver, but he has the length and easy speed that reminds of A.J. Green or Martavis Bryant. He has the strength to break tackles and the ability to threaten all levels of a defense, but he should intrigue NFL teams the most as a deep threat.
- D.J. Chark (LSU) - Another long, lean fast receiver who was held back by his offense’s lack of a consistent passing game. Chark raised his profile at the Senior Bowl, showcasing both his speed and his fundamental ability as a receiver.
- Simmie Cobbs Jr. (Indiana) - Facing Simmie Cobbs Jr. in the red zone just wasn’t fair for Indiana’s opponents. The 6’4,” 220-pound receiver simply dominated red zone and contested ball situations. He has “good enough” speed, but wins with physicality, outstanding ball skills, body control, and hands.
- Dante Pettis (Washington) - Pettis doesn’t stand out physically, especially not compared to the players above him on the list. However, he might be the best route runner of the bunch, and is one of the most dangerous players in the nation with the ball in his hands. Not only did he emerge as a top receiving target at Washington, but he owns the FBS record for punt return touchdowns.
- Michael Gallup (Colorado) - Coming from a smaller school and lacking elite physical traits, Gallup is going to get overlooked. However, he is a receiver who just plays his position well. He is quick and fast enough to get separation with his route running, and catches the ball well. Gallup also reportedly raised eyebrows at the Senior Bowl for how quickly he was able to build chemistry and establish a rapport with his quarterbacks.
- DaeSean Hamilton (Penn State) - Hamilton owns Penn State’s school record for receptions thanks to his savvy route running and knack for getting open. However, what earns him this spot is how he has worked to raise his profile throughout the draft process. He emerged for scouts over the week of the East-West Shrine Game, was invited to the Senior Bowl, and improved each day there. Hamilton is also a willing (and capable) blocker, and has definite upside as a special teams player.