The New York Giants have needs for young talented players all over their roster. But while other positions might get more attention, the wide receiver group is an understated but looming need.
THe presence of Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard mask the concerns regarding the Giants’ receivers. However Beckham is only one player and the Giants could lose Shepard to free agency after the 2019 season. And while the Giants use the two tight end set more than league average (they used it on 35 percent of their snaps, compared to 20 percent league-wide, per SharpFootballStats) the Giants could also use a long-term solution for their third wide receiver position.
While they certainly could go for one of the draft’s top options with one of their first two picks, the Giants are more likely to look down the draft board if they are to select a receiver. If so, could Buffalo’s Anthony Johnson be on their radar?
- Good size for a receiver.
- Willing blocker on runs or screen passes.
- Extends to snag balls away from his frame.
- Played all over the Buffalo offense - wide receiver, slot, and out of the backfield.
- Good play strength.
- Able to create after the catch.
- Long speed is a question. Doesn’t really seem to run away from defenders.
- Average all-around athlete.
- Can waste too much energy trying to “sell” routes.
- Release against press coverage could be a question.
- Will face a jump in competition from the MAC to the NFL.
What They’re Saying
“His best features are probably strong hands and impressive awareness and elusiveness after the catch, dropping few balls and showing the ability to create on manufactured touches. Johnson can work through contact at the line of scrimmage and in the air, but finishes are inconsistent and he doesn’t look explosive enough to separate from more athletic corners in man coverage. I love that he can play inside and outside right away in the NFL, and is a capable blocker, but Johnson ceiling may be a what-you-see-is-what-you-get possession receiver whose skill set will hardly be considered irreplaceable.”
- Jon Ledyard (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
If the Giants are looking to add some size as a contrast to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard -- and don’t want to invest too much -- then Johnson likely fits as a mid-late round selection.
Johnson is an unspectacular athlete on the field -- he has some short-area quickness, but isn’t going to out-athlete NFL-caliber defensive backs. That being said, he does have the ability to get open, with a good release against off coverage and manipulating his route stems to create separation. Somewhat surprisingly, Johnson is slippery after the catch, using his play strength and field awareness to create space for himself and making the most of it.
His ability to be a moveable piece, playing both inside and outside, as well as from the backfield, and create on his own in space, all fit well within the Giants’ offense. He might need some development to get the hang of the precision route running needed to reach his ceiling in Pat Shurmur’s offense. However, he could eventually be a contributor as a possession receiver or a third option with Beckham and Shepard occupying a defense’s attention.