Previewing the NY Giants’ wide receivers position group

Darius Slayton #86 of the New York Giants (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Darius Slayton #86 of the New York Giants (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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Sterling Shepard #87of the NY Giants  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Sterling Shepard #87of the NY Giants  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Starting Wide Receiver #1: Sterling Shepard

Sterling Shepard needs to find his ways back to his impressive rookie season. It feels like forever ago that the NY Giants had a winning record and a playoff appearance in 2016. That year, rookie receiver Sterling Shepard helped Big Blue immensely with 683 yards on 65 catches with 8 touchdowns.

Shepard has not found similar success in the three years ever since his exciting rookie season. Sterling has missed 11 games over the last three years and hasn’t scored over 4 touchdowns since 2016.

The Giants paid Young Shep handsomely with a 4 year, $41 million extension in April of 2019 shortly after trading Odell Beckham Jr. The NY Giants have rarely kept homegrown talent for a while now, which is both indicative of their many years of failed draft picks and an inability to keep and develop in-house talents.

The team saw enough of Shepard in three years to like him enough to ink him to a long term deal. Now, he must pay back his dividends and give more contributions to Big Blue’s offense.

Shepard is a talented player who is tough and isn’t afraid to make catches across the middle and get hit by oncoming linebackers. He is a gritty slot player best utilized when he has space and can use his good footwork to find himself open.

We need to see Shepard step up in a big way again in 2020 with consistent first downs and hopefully more to come with yardage after the catch. Young Shep has never been a true “big play” receiver due to his size and good-not-great speed.

Shep dealt with a broken thumb in training camp and two scary concussions last season. His main priority must be to stay healthy for this year as he did in 2016 and 2018. From there, he seems like a great fit in Jason Garrett’s offense. He is a similar player to Michael Gallup and hopefully, he can produce like he did last season in this system.

Shepard is entering his 5th year with New York. It’s time he starts making more plays early and often in games. He isn’t a guy that teams will have to scheme for but he is somebody every defense will respect and be aware of.

He will be seeing time in both the slot and the outside, a credit to his ability, and he must show the team he can be more than just a solid #2 receiver. Expect Shepard to have another solid season with the team, he will be counted upon to be a leader for this young team.