Despite trading away Odell Beckham Jr, the New York Giants have a deep and talented receiving corps heading into trading camp.
As always, is the case with training camp, there will be some tight and intriguing position battles that will force the best players to step forward.
The wide receivers unit will garner plenty of attention in training camp, especially in wake of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade.
Despite the loss of their three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, the Giants believe they have an above average receiving group that can make plays with and without the ball.
Here’s a breakdown of the Giants wide receiver group heading into training camp.
Locks to make the team: Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Corey Coleman
The receivers who we know will be on the Giants roster Week 1 barring injury will be Shepard, Tate, and Coleman.
Shepard is entering his fourth season with Big Blue and he and the Giants agreed to a four-year extension worth $41 million, including $21.3 million in guaranteed money. The 26-year-old has yet to have 70 receptions or 1,000 receiving yards in a season. But that could all change this year as he’s poised for a breakout season.
Tate was one of the prized free agent pickups the Giants made this year. The Giants not only like Tate’s quick, precise route running, but he’s excellent at breaking tackles. Moreover, he is an exceptional downfield blocker. He’s a perfect fit in Shurmur’s offense. Tate will be looking for his third 1,000-yard receiving season over the last four years.
Some may have forgotten about Corey Coleman based on how his two seasons with the Cleveland Browns went. But he was a first-round pick back in 2016 (15th overall). The Giants acquired him in October of last season and he appeared in eight games with Big Blue.
At OTAs, it was Coleman playing with the first-team offense in their three wide receiver packages. The Giants are confident that with a full training camp under his belt, Coleman can live up to being a first-round pick, especially with Eli Manning throwing him the ball.
On solid ground but not locks: Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Darius Slayton
These three wide receivers aren’t locks to make the team and can ill-afford a poor performance at training camp. But they head into training on solid ground as far as making the roster.
The Giants drafted Slayton in the fifth round of this year’s draft (171st overall) and after a few drops early on in rookie camp, he went on to have a solid spring. The Giants will want to utilize his blazing speed in their offense and in the return game.
Shepard only had 10 receptions for the Giants last season but two of those went for touchdowns. The Giants re-signed him in April to a one-year contract in hopes that he can be more productive in his second season in Shurmur’s offense.
Latimer was one of the team’s biggest acquisitions last offseason. But a hamstring injury limited him to appear in only six games. His finest game of the season came in the Giants’ season finale 36-35 loss to the Dallas Cowboys where he had six receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. The fact that Latimer can help on special teams as a kick returner helps his chances even more of making the roster.
On the outside looking in: Bennie Fowler, Reggie White Jr., Alonzo Russell, Alex Wesley
These receivers will be looking to make a splash in training camp as well as in the preseason, similar to what Victor Cruz did in 2010 if they hope to make the final roster.
Fowler may have the best chance of this bunch of making the roster since he caught 16 passes last season for the Giants resulting in 199 yards and a touchdown. Reggie White Jr. is an undrafted rookie free agent out of Monmouth who showed flashes in OTAs. He looked like a playmaker when he beat cornerback Sam Beal on a deep pass down the right sideline.
Russell spent most of last season on the Giants practice squad before being elevated to the active roster for the final game of the year. Wesley is an undrafted rookie free agent from Northern Colorado who is hoping to get an opportunity to show that he belongs on an NFL roster.
The odds may be against this group, but if they have a solid camp and outshine one of the players on the solid ground list, they could be part of the Giants plans in 2019.