Congrats to Steve Smith, the Giants third year wide receiver out of USC, and a hell of a find in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft. Smith was named to the 2010 Pro Bowl as a first alternate and was given the nod to join the rest of his NFC representatives after Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald backed out of the contest because of lingering injury issues.
Smith answered the bell in 2009 by amassing the Giants single season record of 107 catches to go along with 1,220 yards and 7 touchdown receptions. Coming into 2009, most pundits expected Eli Manning and the Giants passing game to struggle, but Smith’s performance (combined with the emergence of Mario Manningham in his second year and the addition of stud rookie Hakeem Nicks in the first round of the draft) forced a lot people to eat crow.
If there was a magical 2007 draft re-do, perhaps the Carolina Panthers would opt for Steve Smith instead of Dwayne Jarrett, Smith’s college team-mate who was picked six spots ahead of Steve Smith in the second round. The G-men are in pretty good shape at the receiver position heading into this off-season, and the drafting and development of Steve Smith is a major reason why.
Have to give GM Jerry Reese a bit of credit for the drafting of Smith in Round 2 in 2007, Mario Manningham in Round 3 in 2008, and the addition of Hakeem Nicks in Round 1 of the 2009 draft. If Manningham can turn the corner in 2010 and improve his route running, recognition of the defensive alignments, and display better hands and control of the football, the Giants could potentially have the most explosive and consistent group of wide receivers in Giant history.