One familiar face that is again working to secure a spot on the 53-man roster is Wide Receiver, Ramses Barden. Barden, 27, was a 2009 3rd round draft pick out of Cal-Poly Tech State University. His draft class included first round pick Hakeem Nicks and Mario Mannigham. With Nicks becoming a NFL super star and
Mannigham best remembered for his unforgettable 4th quarter sideline catch that helped project the Giants to a victory in Super Bowl XLVI, the expectations on Barden fizzled. At 6’6 and 225 lbs, many saw Barden as the replacement for Plaxico Burress.
Where the comparisons of Burress might be evident in stature, Barden’s play has never lived up to the hype. In addition to game play he also has never shown that he could be close to the down field blocker that Burress was. Barden, like Nicks, wears size 4-XL gloves.
His huge hands, large wingspan and wiry frame had giant fans salivating at the thought of what Barden could do in the red zone against opposing corner backs. Those thoughts and YouTube videos of Barden dominating lesser competition at the Division I-AA (now FCS)level are pretty much all that Giant fans have had to go by.
Barden has been buried on the depth chart throughout his Giant career for a variety of reasons that stem from a wide range of injuries and log jamming at the top tier of wide receivers on the team. Always preparing and looking like a threat in pre-season, Barden has found his way back to the team with a new number.
His chance to help the team came last year with Nicks out with a knee injury; Barden had a fantastic night in Carolina catching nine balls for 138 yards. Where he fits into this Kevin Gilbride lead offense is hard to tell. He tested free agency this year and when no teams came calling for his services, the Giants had a one-year contract on the table waiting for him.
According to Roto World, the one-year contract gave the Giants flexibility where they could, “carry Barden at just $620,000 in salary cap cost, per NFL rules. It’s a reminder that Barden is not highly regarded around the league.
In addition, Barden was a solid option for the Giants to bring back because of the uncertainty that surrounded that position at the time. Victor Cruz was in a contract dispute with the team, the often-injured Nicks entering the final year of his deal and Dominic Hixon leaving via free agency to the Carolina Panthers.
Although there is familiarity with Gilbride’s offense, it is still unclear how or if Barden will be used. Thus asking the question, is there room for Ramses Barden to make an impact on Sundays with the play makers the Giants have? It’s likely the Giants keep 5 Wide Receivers with Barden battling Jerrell Jernigan for the final spot.
Barden could be a force in the red zone, especially if the Giants show an anticipated two tight end package featuring Brandon Myers and Adrian Robinson. In terms of the team’s needs and the Barden’s career, the time has never been better. Can he be more consistent? Maybe his new number(No. 85) will bring him some luck as No. 13 did not.
Marco Imperati | Featured Columnist