When we began the regular season, the NY Giants had about 6-7 receivers to draw from that would make the roster and fill out the X, Y, and Z positions in the offense adequately. Now, apparently that is not the case.
The Giants brought in some some veteran receivers today for a workout that included T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Brandon Stokely. They signed Stokley. So what gives? If Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, and Victor Cruz are really capable players in a fairly deep unit — why the WR move when almost any one Giants fan would be grateful for a CB or LB signing due to the injuries plaguing the defense?
My take is after the jump
So here’s my feeling on this — the Giants have their top 2 receivers locked down… Nicks and Manningham. Nicks is questionable right now but I doubt this move has anything to do with Nicks — it has more to do with adding a dimension they’re not satisfied with.
The Giants of course don’t want either one of these deep threats getting banged up in the middle of the field or getting used to running crisp 8 yard routes all the time when they could be breaking huge routes for game changing plays. That is of course what Nicks and Manningham do best — get vertical. But the Giants after all need a dependable, proven, and serviceable slot receiver that will catch first downs to move the chains, both the easy balls and the tough ones. CONSISTENTLY. Enter Brandon Stokley.
According to Pro Football Focus, there’s not too many more dependable receivers than Stokley believe it or not. He averages the highest completion percentage of any receiver within PFF’s top 30 in production last year – a 73.8% completion rating. Stokely was also ranked the 13th best receiver in the league in terms of consistent production — that’s higher than Hakeem Nicks mind you. Check the graph below, click for a larger version:
Pretty darn good. Even though he only registered 200+ snaps he did score a couple TD’s in the playoffs, and it looks like he’s never been below adequate in terms of production. The guy knows what it takes to do his part, particularly in the playoffs. That’s something that the majority of Giants receivers cannot speak to, unfortunately, except for Domenik Hixon.
Side note: I’m still not sure why the Giants aren’t starting Hixon ahead of everyone else in that slot position, even Devin Thomas had a better preseason playing slot than Cruz did.
So the move starts to come into focus, pun intended, the more you look at the resume and the consistent production Stokley brings to the table. Plus – he can mentor the young receivers the Giants currently have on the roster in ways perhaps Michael Clayton was not, which could be one of the reasons he was cut.
Speaking of cuts, it will be interesting to see how the Giants make room for this addition on their currently full 53-man roster.