By Michael Stewart
Introduction: In 2017, the Giants wide receiver group suffered it’s worse production largely due to the injuries to Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. OBJ should be fully recovered and ready to go for the 2018 season. However; the same may not be said for Marshall who could be released to add cap space for the Giants. If so, then perhaps GM Dave Gettleman may address a big wide receiver in the 2018 draft if he doesn’t do so in free agency. Courtesy of Walterfootball, here’s a look at possible wide receiver’s that could intrigue the Giants.
Calvin Ridley-6’1/190 (Alabama): The talented junior gets a lot of praise for his route-running, quickness, and generally having good hands. Ridley had 55 catches for 967 yards with four touchdowns for 2017. Though Ridley is the top consensus wideout for the 2018 NFL Draft, he doesn’t come without some concerns, as multiple sources say independently that his thin frame worries them for the NFL. He is listed at 190 pounds, but team sources say that he has weighed-in in the 180s. With that being one factor, some scouts have said they are grading Ridley as a late first-rounder.
Auden Tate-6’4225 (Auburn): Tate totaled 40 receptions for 548 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2017, but he was really impressive. The huge receiver is a mismatch weapon who gives defensive backs a lot of problems. He is very dangerous to win jump balls downfield and is a real red-zone weapon. Tate’s numbers were held back in 2017 by playing with the backup quarterback, but Tate has huge potential and upside for the NFL. Some sources think that Tate should have returned to Florida State for 2018 and improved before going to the next level, but he decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Round 2 Christian Kirk-5’11/200 (Texas A&M): Kirk made 71 catches for 919 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2017. He also produced some big kick and punt returns. Versus Arkansas, Kirk carried Texas A&M to a win with five catches for 110 yards with two touchdowns and a kickoff returned for a touchdown.
James Washington-6’0/205 (Oklahoma State): Washington caught 74 passes for 1,549 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2017. He is a deep-threat receiver with a lot of production in his college spread attack, which takes advantage of a lot of weak defenses.
Simmie Cobbs Fr.-6.3/220 (Indiana): Cobbs totaled 72 receptions for 841 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. In a thoroughly impressive performance, Cobbs had his way with the highly acclaimed Ohio State defense. He got the better of every corner the Buckeyes matched up against him as he totaled 149 yards and a touchdown on 11 receptions. Cobbs showed size, hands, quickness, route-running, body control, and the ability to win 50-50 Round 3
Deon Cain-6’1/190 (Clemson): Cain recorded 58 receptions for 734 yards and six touchdowns. He didn’t play as well as in 2016, but that could be from a few factors. Clemson spread the ball around in 2017 and did not give Cain a lot of targets as they were using a first-year starter at quarterback who had some passing limitations. Team sources were disappointed in Cain’s play as well, including some ugly dropped passes. They say he is a one-trick-pony deep receiver who is going to need development for the NFL.
Equanimeous St. Brown-6’4/205 (Notre Dame): St. Brown had 33 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. Throughout the season, St. Brown got open through his excellent route-running while also seeing a lot of double teams, but the immense struggles of Notre Dame’s quarterback play and passing offense limited St. Brown. D.J Chark-6’3/198 (LSU): Chark had 40 receptions for 874 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. Once again, LSU’s limitations in the passing game restricted the roster’s receiving talent. Some sources say they are grading Chark as a mid-rounder. Others think he could go higher.
Dante Pettis-6’0/195 (Washington): Pettis played well in 2017 with 62 receptions for 721 yards and seven touchdowns. He also passed DeSean Jackson to be the Pac-12’s all-time leader in punt returns for a touchdown with nine. Some scouts really like Pettis and say he is a smooth receiver who is fluid, fast, quick handed, and dangerous after the catch
Jaleel Scott-6’6/215 (New Mexico State): Every year, there are a few under-the-radar prospects who stand out well enough to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl. Scott is one of those prospects as he will be participating in the elite scouting event in Mobile, Alabama. The senior made 52 catches for 786 yards with eight touchdowns in 2017. While those numbers aren’t eye-popping, his measureables are, as he checks in at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds.
Allen Lazard-6’4/222 (Iowa State): Lazard notched 71 receptions for 941 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2017. As a junior, he totaled 69 receptions for 1,018 yards and seven touchdowns. Lazard made solid contributions as a sophomore (56-808-6) and a freshman (45-593-3), too. The senior is a big receiver for the NFL who presents as a size mismatch
Marcell Ateman-6’3/220 (Oklahoma State): Ateman recorded 59 catches for 1,156 yards with eight touchdowns. He averaged 19.4 yards per catch. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Ateman displays mismatch size with the ability to make plays downfield. The 2018 NFL Draft isn’t especially strong at receiver, so Ateman could rise with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl.
Javon Wims-6’3/215 (Georgia): The Bulldogs were led by a strong rushing game in 2017, but when they needed a clutch play through the air, Wims produced for them. In 2017, he totaled 45 catches for 720 yards and seven touchdowns. It was a big increase over 2016 when he caught 17 passes for 190 yards and one score. Wims showed some size, quickness, and upside as a senior. He could be a sleeper who rises.
Jake Wieneke-6’4/218 (South Dakota State): Wieneke made 65 receptions for 965 yards and 16 touchdowns. The senior started 2017 Al Bundy-style with four touchdowns in the season opener. He had six receptions for 75 yards and those scores in that contest. Over his career, Wieneke dominated his FCS competition. Final Thoughts: When your leading receiver Sterling Shepard (731) had less total yards than the leading rusher Darkwa Orleans (751), something needs to be done. Losing OBJ certainly hurt the Giants immensely, but the Giants need a big wide receiver to compliment OBJ and Shepard. Now unless they plan on utilizing Evan Engram more as a wide receiver, then drafting one would be senseless.