Giants Receiver Competition: Who can break out As the next star
Adam Nardelli | NY Giants Rush Contributor
There’s been no shortage of hype for the Giants offense heading into the 2015 season, especially after the play of Odell Beckham Jr. last season and the addition of Shane Vereen from New England back in March.
With that being said, we all know the big names going into training camp but with injuries still looming around Victor Cruz as well as Odell Beckham Jr., having reliable receivers in the back-end of the unit should be of top priority for the coaching staff.
Unfortunately the depth in the receiving corps took a bit of a hit after Marcus Harris was forced to have micro-fracture surgery causing a 5-6 month recovery time for the four-year veteran. Still, even without Harris on the active roster, the receiving corps is one of the deepest (if not the deepest) positions on the team, a reason why the injury to Harris doesn’t have to create major concern.
Taking a look ahead to see who will be competing in training camp for the last couple of wide receiver spots should be interesting. Start with the bottom of the receiving corps and the excellent combination of experience and speed in Preston Parker. Parker was asked to play a significant amount of time last season due to Victor Cruz’s injury.
Next will be the promise of second-year player Corey Washington. He has the height to be a red-zone threat and a big body for Manning, but he has to get on the field.
We can’t forget about free-agent acquisition Dwayne Harris from Dallas, who wants to prove he can be a contributor as a receiver and not just as a special teams player.
His $17.5 million contract is a fairly good indicator that the Giants expect him to do more than just cover and return punts and kickoffs. The terms of his contract outweigh those of the more prominent special teams players in the league, so fans shouldn’t be surprised if Harris gets a decent amount of reps at receiver during training camp.
One of the possible barriers to Harris proving his reliability at receiver is the aforementioned Corey Washington, who sparked excitement in the preseason last year but saw limited playing during the regular season.
Washington, who was able to couple together four touchdowns last August, brought back memories of when Victor Cruz dominated the preseason prior to his emergence as a star.
Cruz’s arrival in the preseason occurred in 2010, but his impact in the regular season wasn’t truly felt until the following year (2011 when the Giants won the Super Bowl). And like Cruz, Washington comes from a small college not known for manufacturing football stars.
See where I’m going here? Washington has a great blueprint to look at for encouragement right in front of him. Whether or not he has taken into account the similarities of Cruz’s story to his, he has sure taken advantage of this off-season to improve, as Eli Manning himself has noted.
“He [Washington] has made some plays and has a better understanding of the offense in his second year and playing faster, and I think he has always had the ability to make the great catch and run the go routes and fades but just kind of adding the complete package to his game,” Manning mentioned to Dan Salomone of Giants.com.
Giants.com also distinguished Washington as one of the major off-season standouts for the team. With his supreme talent which was on display last preseason, along with his improved understanding of the speed at the NFL level and of Ben McAdoo’s scheme, it wouldn’t surprise me if Corey Washington was the next household name in a Giants uniform.
Still, there are still 10 other wide receivers on the current 90-man roster. Obviously this number will be cut down to five or six once early September rolls around, but the likes of rookie Geremy Davis and practice squad journeyman Julian Talley will have more than their fair share of chances to display what they can do as well.