The battle for the third receiver position is an intriguing position battle heading into the New York Giants mandatory minicamp next week.
Once the New York Giants released six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, Brandon Marshall, there’s been much intrigue as to who would be third on the depth chart at wide receiver behind Odell Beckham Jr and Sterling Shepard.
There was speculation that they should sign former Dallas Cowboys receiver, Dez Bryant, who was eager to play against the Cowboys and extract revenge on them for releasing him.
But the Giants haven’t shown interest in Bryant and seem to have confidence on the receivers on their roster. Three players who will compete to be the third receiver on the depth chart are Roger Lewis, Cody Latimer, and Hunter Sharp.
Last season under Ben McAdoo, the Giants were in three-receiver formations 52 percent of the time. It’s expected that under Pat Shurmur that they’ll be in three-receiver formations slightly less this year. As offensive coordinator with the Vikings last season, Shurmur’s team was in three-receiver formations 46 percent of the time.
Regardless of how often the Giants are in three-receiver formations, whoever the third receiver is will play a pivotal part of the offense.
With the injuries sustained by the Giants receiving corps last season, Lewis saw an unexpected increase in playing time.
He appeared in 15 games last season and started in eight of them. He had 36 receptions for 416 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad production from a player who went undrafted in the 2016 draft. The Giants have always thought highly of Lewis and Eli Manning believes in him. His production last season is one of the reasons Marshall became expendable.
The Giants signed Latimer via free agency back in March after he spent his first four seasons with the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos drafted him in the second round of the 2014 draft (56th overall) and he has appeared in 45 games.
As a receiver, he’s been a disappointment catching just 35 passes for 445 yards and three touchdowns in his four seasons in the league. But the 6-foot-2 Latimer has been a quality special teams player as he had seven solo tackles in 2016, and averaged 23.7 yards per kickoff return last season.
Shurmur has a reputation of being able to maximize player’s potential in his offense and the Giants are hopeful he can do the same for Latimer.
Just like Lewis, Sharp went undrafted in the 2016 draft. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles is in May of 2016 but they waived him in August. The Denver Broncos signed him to their practice squad in December of 2016 and he remained with the team until they waived him in October 2017. He appeared in just one game for the Broncos.
The Giants signed him on Dec. 12, 2017, and he played in their final two games of the season. He scored his first career touchdown in the Giants season finale 18-10 victory over the Washington Redskins.
At Monday’s OTA with Beckham not in attendance and still not cleared to practice, it was Latimer playing the opposite side of Shepard with the first team offense.
Sharp took reps with the first team offense when they went to three-receiver formations, while Lewis took reps with the second team offense and had several nice receptions from passes thrown by Davis Webb.
Whether Latimer is ahead of Lewis and Sharp on the depth chart, we’ll get a better indication next week at mandatory minicamp and throughout training camp when it opens in July. But the battle to be third on the depth chart will be one of the most intriguing position battles for the Giants.