For much of the 2017 season the New York Giants’ receiving corps looked more like what a team would field in the fourth quarter of a pre-season game than in a regular season game.
It’s rare that an entire position group can be changed in a single week, but that’s what happened after a disastrous Week 5 game that saw the Giants’ top four receivers suffer significant injuries (three landing on injured reserve). But even before that, the Giants’ receivers didn’t live up to expectations. Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard all dealt with pre-season injuries, and the team’s depth simply couldn’t pick up the slack.
Most of the conversation around the Giants is in relation to their offensive line and linebacker units, but 2017 exposed their receiving depth as a potential issue.
The Giants might want to address that issue in the 2018 NFL Draft, as well as provide themselves some insurance for Beckham and Shepard’s impending free agency over the next two years.
LSU’s D.J. Chark could provide them with the tall, fast receiving threat they have lacked, and perhaps be a potential replacement for Marshall.
- Blazing speed. Sudden off the line and fast long speed as well.
- Long frame (height and long arms) gives him a big catch radius.
- Decent short-area quickness for a taller receiver.
- Decent and dedicated blocker despite his slight build.
- Can adjust to the ball in the air.
- Played both outside and in the slot.
- Severely hampered in college by spotty quarterback play.
- Lanky build might make make him struggle with press coverage in the NFL.
- Made some spectacular catches, but also suffered some concentration drops.
What they’re saying
Tall and fast, Chark is a linear route-runner who may need a limited route tree, but who has the potential to back safeties off the line of scrimmage. Chark will be coveted by play-action passing attacks looking to win with chunk plays down the field, but he’ll need to improve his ball skills to take advantage of all that speed. Chark could struggle early on against press coverage, but he has the ability to become a solid WR2.
D.J. Chark is going to be a tricky evaluation for NFL teams.
His ability stretch and blow the top off a defense is easy to see on tape. Even when he isn’t getting the ball, he shows the potential to simply run past defenders, and his 6-foot-2½ frame and 33-inch arms make for a sizable catch radius.
However, it is tough to get a good read on him as a pass catcher simply because of LSU’s passing game. Their quarterbacking was spotty at best, with the accuracy and precision of the passes often in question. Chark was rarely targeted and the offense almost exclusively used Chark as a decoy, on jet sweeps, hitch routes, and post routes. How much of a route tree he is able to run has to be questioned by the NFL at this point.
But despite the limitations of their passing game, he did see his production rise from his junior year to his senior year, going from 26 receptions for 466 yards (17.9 yards per catch) in 2016 to 40 receptions for 874 yards (21.9 yards per catch).
Zierlein mentions that Chark could be a dangerous weapon in an offense that features play-action passes, and as it so happens, Pat Shurmur’s offense features a very high rate of play-action passes (nearly one third of pass attempts in 2017).