Darius Slayton
Adam Hunger/AP Photo

Darius Slayton could be a Pro Bowl wide receiver in 2020 with Jason Garrett as the New York Giants’ new offensive coordinator.

Jason Leach

Rookie Darius Slayton was one of the few bright spots of an otherwise forgettable New York Giants season. Not only did he lead the Giants in receiving yards and touchdown catches, but his eight touchdown receptions were tied for the most in the NFC East with Amari Cooper.

Slayton steadily improved as the season went along. As time went on, he became a crisp route runner which made his blazing speed even more effective.

It didn’t matter if it was Daniel Jones throwing him the ball or Eli Manning, Slayton produced. His two best games came in Week 10 against the Jets when he had 10 receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns playing with Jones, and in Week 14 against the Eagles when he had eight receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns playing with Manning.

One of the reasons to be optimistic about the Giants in 2020 is the progression of Slayton and Jones in their second seasons. Players tend to make the biggest strides of their career from year one to year two.

Despite being part of a receiving corps that includes Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, some feel Slayton could be the No. 1 option next season. Slayton’s potential could soar even higher under new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

Garrett served in the same role for the Cowboys from 2007 until midway through the 2010 season. He was promoted to head coach that year and held the position through the 2019 season.

Historically, in Garrett’s offensive system, he likes to take chances throwing the ball downfield to his playmakers such as Terrell Owens, Dez Bryant, and Amari Cooper.

Owens had a career-high 16.7 yards per reception in Garrett’s first season as Cowboys offensive coordinator. Bryant had three seasons in which he averaged at least 15 yards per reception. Cooper averaged 13.7 yards per catch and had six touchdowns in nine games after the Cowboys traded for the star receiver in 2018.

Expect Garrett to attack opposing defenses downfield with Slayton in a similar fashion to how he used the Dallas trio.

Slayton has a long way to go to show he can be in the same class as the three Dallas receivers. After all, there are 13 Pro Bowl appearances between those three, and Owens is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But Slayton is clearly the big-play receiver on the Giants as opposed to Shepard and Tate, who both play more of a possession receiver role. Slayton had a team-high 15.4 yards per reception, compared to Tate who averaged 13.8 yards per reception, and Shepard who averaged 10.1 yards per reception.

If he can stay healthy and play a full 16 games, Slayton can easily surpass 1,000 receiving yards.

Last season, Slayton was one of the biggest surprises in the NFL. In 2020 he has a chance to earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl thanks to Garrett’s approach of attacking defenses downfield.

Some may question how effective Garrett was as a head coach, but Slayton and Giants fans will be pleased with his play-calling.

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