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Cody Core: Let’s get to know the new Giants wide receiver

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So, what exactly are the Giants getting here?

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals
Evan Engram and Cody Core exchange jerseys during a preseason game.
Bob Meyer-USA TODAY Sports

Many New York Giants fans had never heard of Cody Core until the Giants claimed him off waivers to take the 53-man roster spot of preseason fan favorite Alonzo Russell. It’s unfortunate for Russell, but the NFL is a cold, bottom-line business and the Giants like Core, with three years of experience in Cincinnati on offense and as a core special teams player, makes them better.

Let’s get to know more about Core.

Special teams value

You hear about some players having special teams value, but for fans that is a hard thing to quantify unless you are looking at the return man. For him, you can simply judge the yards gained. Fair enough. For a guy like Core, who does the grunt work on special teams, his eight tackles doesn’t tell the story.

Just a few days ago, Matt Minich of SB Nation’s Cincy Jungle did a fantastic film breakdown of the various things Core does on special teams. Here is one of the several videos that show Core in a variety of roles.

Minich’s film study has the added benefit of teaching us a little bit about how various special teams plays actually work.

Three questions with Cincy Jungle

Since Core was with the Bengals the past three seasons, I turned to our friends over at Cincy Jungle for some information. Anthony Cosenza answered some questions for me.

What kind of player is he?

Anthony: Core has the size and speed teams covet out of the position, but he has never put it together at the NFL level. The Bengals drafted him as a height/weight/speed project to develop (ran a 4.47 40-yard dash at the Combine at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds) in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, but his main contribution to the team has been on special teams as a gunner. He has had limited opportunities on offense over the past three seasons, and while he has 30 career catches, many Bengals fans remember a couple of key drops last year.

Why did the Bengals let him go?

Anthony: The Bengals let Core go because of a combination of a new regime and a numbers game. Cincinnati felt Josh Malone (whom they just released after picking up Pharaoh Cooper on waivers) could give them similar results with higher upside. He had a nice showing in the preseason finale (five catches for 75 yards), but one of the Bengals’ deepest positions on the roster is at wide receiver.

Anything else we should know?

Anthony: What’s the old saying? “We don’t know what we don’t know”? That’s kind of how I feel with Core. The part we know is in the able special teams player, while the part we don’t is in the potential producer on offense. Does a team just need to be more patient and give him more opportunities as a receiver? Or, is he never going to put the football skills with the measurables? When I watched him on the field, he was never a guy that jumped off the screen with his abilities, but that could change with more looks and an uptick in targets.

A reunion

Core and Giants tight end Evan Engram were college teammates for three seasons at Ole Miss.

Where Core fits with the Giants?

It’s hard to expect Core, with a spotty history as a receiver and a new playbook to learn, to give the Giants a whole lot on offense over the next few weeks. The Giants will rely on the veterans they have been working with and will hope that rookie Darius Slayton gets healthy enough to contribute.

Core gives the Giants a quality punt gunner opposite Russell Shepard, and a guy who — as Minich showed — should contribute on all of the punt and kickoff coverage and return teams.

Receiving highlights