Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton has yet to catch on with this new regime, led by head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.
Just three years after the 2019 fifth-rounder showed promising downfield talent in an eight-touchdown rookie campaign, Slayton has zero targets through three weeks. Heck, he’s barely played. The wideout was a Week 1 healthy scratch before logging four and 14 offensive snaps in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively. He also hasn’t logged any special teams snaps, but his lack of value in that area is a huge reason why he doesn’t see the field.
However, the Giants are going to need to elevate his role at some point in the coming weeks. This is necessary because the coaching staff doesn’t seem to trust many of its other receivers, nor has many healthy options at the position anyway.
Sterling Shepard is now out for the season after tearing his ACL during Monday night’s loss to the Cowboys. Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson has been nursing a knee injury since the season-opening win to Tennessee and didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday. Kadarius Toney can’t stay on the field, was out for Monday’s loss, and the staff doesn’t seem to favor him (just seven snaps in Week 1).
That leaves Slayton, David Sills, and Richie James on the active roster. Sills has shown growth over the years and is finally catching on after being a primary practice squad player for the last three seasons. James, on the other hand, leads the team with 14 receptions and is second with 146 receiving yards.
But Sills and James aren’t enough for any NFL offense. The Giants need additional weapons. If you’re not going to get much (or any) production out of Golladay, Toney, Shepard, or Robinson right now, then Slayton has to be the guy at least on a temporary basis. Even if he’s not the best fit in a Daboll- and Mike Kafka-led offense that gears more towards the general slot receiver.
Plus, the Giants are keeping Slayton on the active roster and paying him. They could’ve cut him in the preseason and saved a much-needed $2.5 million in cap space. But instead of making what would’ve been the correct financial decision, Schoen reduced Slayton’s salary (to the $954,000 league minimum) to keep him in East Rutherford.
Since the rookie GM took that route and wasted a roster spot on a receiver who isn’t even a great offensive fit, the Giants need to at least see what they can get out of Slayton in a big spot. Especially now given all the fallen dominoes in that receiver room, which is constantly diminishing in both talent and depth.
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