Darius Slayton

New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is really impressed with the improvement rookie receiver Darius Slayton has shown. 

Going into this season, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has a multitude of targets. With receivers such as Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Corey Coleman, Manning should have options on each passing play.

But one receiver not receiving attention is the rookie Darius Slayton.

The Giants chose Slayton in the fifth round, No. 171 overall out of Auburn University. The young receiver will look to compete for their No. 4 receiver slot, as Shep, Tate, and Coleman are working in with the first team.

Now that rookie minicamp, six OTAs, and the three-day mandatory minicamp have all concluded, Slayton has had numerous opportunities to prove himself. He did have a couple drops early on at rookie minicamp, but Slayton has gotten passed his “yips.” When it comes to his talent and the improvement he’s made, Big Blue head coach Pat Shurmur has clearly noticed.

“The guy that’s made huge improvements in my eyes has been Slayton,” Shurmur said after day three of minicamp on Thursday, per Dan Salomone of Giants.com. “He’s done a really good job. I think we were all here during rookie minicamp when he kind of had the yips, drops and what not. He’s really smoothed it out and he’s been making plays. He’s the first guy that comes to mind. This time of year (in non-contact practice), it’s more about throwing and catching and less about blocking and tackling.”

Shurmur isn’t the only coach expressing his praise towards the fifth round selection. Slayton also impressed second-year offensive coordinator Mike Shula.

“[Slayton’s] got good speed and he uses his hands you can see,” Shula said. “He’s got more confidence in his hands. He’s catching the ball more consistently. I think he’s a good route runner, that was one thing kind of coming out of the draft I was anxious to see how he did with maybe our routes, which were maybe a little bit different than the routes he ran at Auburn. He does a good job at the top end of those routes. I think we are going to continue finding out as much as we can and want to keep giving them more and more.”

Slayton will eventually compete with the likes of Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, and Russell Shepard for a reserve receiver spot. He could have a good chance to take the spot over them, but the rest of OTAs and all of training camp is still yet to happen.

There’s still time for everyone to make a name for themselves in this offense.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.