It didn’t take in-depth analysis to see the Giants didn’t have the NFL’s best wide receiver room. Between underperformance (Kenny Golloday) and injury (Wan’Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepard), Big Blue was left with Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins as the main targets for quarterback Daniel Jones.
They took advantage of that opportunity. Slayton was the Giants’ leading wide receiver, while Hodgins played a crucial role down the stretch. Even if they give Jones a huge payday, there’s plenty of cap room to play with. So, New York needs to find a way to give its quarterback more weapons.
We already knew this, but some stats have been shared recently that just confirm it even more. According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants employed the NFL’s slowest group of wide receivers:
Route-weighted 40-yard dash times for every offense's WR room in 2022. Decent way to look at how much speed each team put on the field from the wide receiver position pic.twitter.com/rndz3RBfFI
— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) January 30, 2023
That’s not great, Bob.
USA Today‘s Giantswire also pointed out a few reasons why this happened. These reasons included not a lot of explosive plays in the passing game, which is its own set of problems.
The Giants produced 28 passing plays of 20-plus yards in 2022. That was the fewest such plays in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens were the next-closest team on this list, with 33. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs were first with 73 passing plays going for at least 20 yards. No NFC East team had fewer than 46 of these plays, either.
If the marker gets moved to plays of 40-plus yards, it’s more of the same story. Big Blue registered just five, which was the third-lowest number in football (among plenty of ties).
I noticed their longest passing play of the year was 65 yards, as well. Do you remember when that happened? You’ll have to strain your memory quite a bit because it took place in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans. That’s when Daniel Jones connected with Shepard for a touchdown.
The Giants will get Robinson back on the field next year. Shepard would also like to stick around as he recovers from his ACL injury. Golloday could be a salary-cap casualty, which at this point, would be addition by subtraction. But outside of these things, New York will need to supplement this area of the roster, whether it’s via the draft, free agency, or both.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.