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Are the Giants really ‘lacking’ at receiver?

Is this unit truly deficient?

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants all-time leader in receiving yards Amani Toomer recently flamed his former team’s wide receiving corps.

“I think it’s lacking,” Toomer said, according to Paul Schwartz of The New York Post. “I’m a little disappointed with [Sterling] Shepard, I don’t know.”

Toomer also went on to question the Giants’ 2019 trading of Odell Beckham Jr.

“I’m still confused on why they got rid of Odell. Really confused,” Toomer said. “They went from having a strength to now it’s a position where they need something else.’’

Toomer did, however, offer praise for Darius Slayton, whom he said he thinks has the most upside of the group.

So are Toomer’s criticisms of the Giants’ receivers justified?

Last year, the Giants finished with the 18th best passing offense, as the group generated 3,731 yards. If you eliminate the yards tight end Evan Engram and running back Saquon Barkley provided and only focus on New York’s top three receivers (Tate, Shepard, Slayton), then you have 1,992 yards.

But you could certainly argue that number isn’t truly indicative of the trio’s talent. Shepard missed a handful of games last year with injuries, while Tate was absent from the first four games while serving a suspension.

Additionally, when the aforementioned Barkley went down with an injury, the Giants became incredibly one-dimensional on offense. With defenses being able to effectively de-prioritize stopping the run, it’s no wonder the Giants receivers struggled during Barkley’s absence.

There’s no doubt the Giants are lacking a true No. 1 wide receiver. But with the front office clearly committing to building around Barkley, investing valuable assets into a top-flight receiver wasn’t part of the plans.

Let’s take a look at Big Blue’s receiving corps for 2020.

Golden Tate

2019 stats: 49 receptions, 676 yards, six touchdowns

Many fans initially crushed the Giants signing Tate, mostly because it came shortly after the much maligned Odell trade. But Tate proved to be a huge positive for the Giants in year one of his contract. He was the perfect security blanket for Daniel Jones, and made his fair share of circus-like catches.

The obvious drawback with Tate is his age. He’ll be 32 by the time Week 1 rolls around, and he’s likely on the back nine of his career.

Sterling Shepard

2019 stats: 57 receptions, 576 yards, three touchdowns

When Shepard is on the field, he’s productive. He’s most dangerous out of the slot, and plays with a infectious energy. The Giants clearly value Shepard’s talent, as they inked him to a four-year contract in April of 2019.

The big issue with Shepard is his health. Last year, Shepard went through a pretty scary saga. After suffering a concussion — one the NFL missed — in Week 1, Shepard dealt with the same injury in Week 5. He missed the next three games, and originally cleared concussion protocol ahead of the team’s Week 9 game. But a day before the game, he re-entered the protocol after experiencing more symptoms.

If Shepard can remain healthy this year, then the Giants need more out of him. He has yet to surpass 70 receptions or 900 yards, though the talent is certainly there.

Darius Slayton

2019 stats: 48 receptions, 740 yards, eight touchdowns

Slayton was a revelation in his rookie year. The fifth-round draft pick debuted in Week 3 and immediately made an impact. Slayton finished the game with three receptions for 82 yards. Slayton clearly had good chemistry with Daniel Jones, as the rookies were often in sync.

The way the roster is set up makes Slayton the de facto top outside receiver. He’s faster and bigger than Tate and Shepard, and displayed an ability to high-point balls.

Corey Coleman

2019 stats: N/A

Coleman is arguably the Giants’ biggest wild card for 2020. After signing with the Giants amid the 2018 season, Coleman unfortunately tore his ACL last July. Coleman dazzled as a kick returner in 2018, giving the Giants a much-needed spark in that department.

While perhaps not a prototypical “complete” wide receiver, Coleman has speed to create separation and explosiveness to make plays in space.


Are the Giants lacking at wide receiver?

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