clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Five receivers on other rosters who could help the Giants

Which receivers on other teams’ roster bubbles are worth watching?

Detroit Lions v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The New York Giants will enter 2020 with question marks at several important roster spots. Last time we looked at which centers currently on other rosters might be able to help the Giants and might become available in final cut downs.

This time, we’re going to take a look at the wide receiver position.

The Giants chose to ride with their top three receivers from 2020, a group consisting of Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton. The Giants also have Corey Coleman and Cody Core, both of whom have made their marks as special teams players rather than receivers. Last week, Football Outsiders released its annual study of receivers in the slot versus out wide, and it wasn’t particularly flattering to the Giants’ receivers.

Assuming that Jason Garrett installs the Air Coryell based offense he has always favored, the receiver position will be an important one for the Giants. The Giants could look to bolster their receiving corps by adding receivers on other teams’ roster bubbles who lose out on the numbers game.

If they do so, here are five names who could help fill out the Giants’ slot-heavy receiving corps.

1) Tim Patrick (Denver Broncos)

Patrick was once considered an undrafted gem ready to break out and become the Bronco’s next big, dynamic “X” receiver. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned, with injuries and other players breaking out keeping him from have kept him from chances to break out himself. However, he retains the kind of measurables that keeps teams interested.

At 6-foot-5, 212 pounds, he has the size and length to play the “X” receiver position. And with a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, 6.99-second 3-cone to go with a 37.5-inch vertical and 128-inch broad jump, Patrick has a rare height/weight/speed profile.

The Broncos added a pair of wide receivers in the 2020 draft in Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, both of whom have the potential to be explosive weapons in the NFL. Meanwhile, Cortland Sutton seems to have the other outside receiver position locked down, and DaeSean Hamilton is a reliable possession receiver. That likely puts Patrick as fifth on the depth chart and new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur might prefer quicker route runners with special teams upside to round out the depth chart.

But while Patrick might be the odd man out in Denver, his size and skill set fill a hole in New York. As well, one of the common themes in the Giants veteran additions is a connection with the coaching or personnel departments. Patrick was coached in 2017 by current Giants’ wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, which could give the Giants insight into Patrick as a player and the familiarity they prefer.

2) Devin Smith (Dallas Cowboys)

Giants fans might not want to hear this, but the Cowboys have the best wide receiver corps in the NFL. It was really good a year ago with Amari Cooper and the emergence of Michael Gallup, and has only gotten better with the addition of CeeDee Lamb in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Devin Smith is a former second round pick by the New York Jets, but he has never lived up to his draft pedigree. Smith’s spot on the Dallas roster could be anywhere from the fourth receiver to cut. He only had 5 catches in three games for Dallas in 2019, but has incredible explosiveness with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and 39-inch vertical. Jason Garrett is obviously familiar with Smith and that explosiveness could give the Giants the field-stretching counterpart to Darius Slayton that the Air Coryell offense needs.

3) Noah Brown (Cowboys)

Assuming the Giants’ top five receiver spots are largely locked up by Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, Corey Coleman, and Cody Core, that leaves one more likely receiver. Given that Joe Judge’s background is exclusively in special teams, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants look to fill that spot with a special teams contributor.

The 2017 seventh round pick has consistently surprised by sticking on the Cowboys’ roster, so there must be something about him that Jason Garrett likes. He isn’t a dangerous receiving threat, but uses his 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame well as a blocking receiver. Brown also puts that size to use as a member of the Dallas kick and punt return teams, blocking defenders to open holes for returners. If new Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy decides to move on from Brown, Garrett might not have a hard time selling a big, physical, hard-nosed special teams contributor to Judge and Dave Gettleman.

Bonus: The Giants could also look at former Rhode Island receiver Aaron Parker after signing his teammate lineman Kyle Murphy as an undrafted free agent.

4) Juwan Johnson (New Orleans Saints)

There are few really unique or innovative offenses in the NFL, but the Saints definitely have one. Sean Payton is a master of incorporating his running backs into the passing game, which frees up spots on his roster that teams normally devote to carrying extra receivers.

Juwan Johnson is one of several big, young receivers the Saints are asking to battle for the fifth spot on the Saints roster behind the talented trio of Michael Thomas , Emmanuel Sanders , and Tre’Quan Smith. Deonte Harris will likely take the fourth spot due to his upside on special teams as a returner. That leaves one spot open and several players in competition. Johnson is an undrafted rookie out of Oregon, and brings absolutely massive size. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds with 34-inch arms and 10 12-inch hands, his catch radius is enormous. He’s not slow for his size either, with a 4.58-second 40-yard dash and 124-inch broad jump. He wasn’t particularly productive in college, catching just 79 passes for 1,053 yards and 2 touchdowns in his last two years at Penn State and another 30 receptions for 467 yards and 4 touchdowns last year at Oregon.

But his measurables and blocking ability make him intriguing for a team that has needs in those areas and a potential roster spot to develop a young player.

5) Jody Fortson (Kansas City Chiefs)

The presence of Rysen John on the Giants roster presents an intriguing possibility. What if the team is legitimately thinking about ways to use transitional or hybrid players? The NFL as a whole is getting better about finding (or creating) roles for players who might not fit traditional molds, but it is still far from perfect.

Kansas City’s Jody Fortson is a similar player to John as a massive pass catcher who blurs the line between tight end and wideout (he is listed as a receiver on the Chiefs’ roster) and as a small school product (Division II Valdosta State).

Fortson stood out in last year’s preseason by using his 6-foot-6, 230 pound frame to bully smaller defensive backs and tilt the odds of 50/50 balls in his favor. He also showed that he could use his size to his advantage as a blocker while also having the versatility to play around the offensive formation. He also showed good hustle and competitive toughness on special teams, a trait which would likely appeal to Judge.

As with Juwan Johnson or Aaron Parker, the question with Fortson isn’t whether he is better than one of the Giants’ likely starters or fills a hole on the roster, but whether he is more likely to develop and become a contributor than the young players already on the Giants’ roster.