Darius Slayton & Sterling Shepard, Wide Receivers
The Giants’ top two receivers need to play better next year. Period. Full stop.
Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard struggled mightily all season to create separation, find consistency, and the passing game never really took flight for the NFL’s No. 31 ranked scoring offense.
The Giants’ two younger, starting receivers simply need to make more plays, stay healthy, and create more separation next year. Their inability to do the things above created a struggling offense and nonexistent passing games downfield.
In 16 games, Slayton had 50 catches for 751 yards and three touchdowns, a slight regression from his rookie season. Shepard put up 66 catches for 656 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. Added together, you get 116 catches for 1407 yards, and six touchdowns in 28 games.
That will never cut it in today’s high scoring, offense-driven NFL.
The Giants need more playmakers in the draft and the front office has already addressed that. With that being said, those are pedestrian numbers for two receivers who both can play much better than the form they showed in 2020.
Shepard dealt with a concussion that cost him four games this season. He bounced back in a big way in his return, catching a pivotal 4th quarter touchdown that should have won a huge division game.
Slayton clearly was not healthy this past season. He dealt with numerous lower-body injuries that he played through but he didn’t display the same speed or explosion he had pre-injury. Several times he got up very slowly after catches or balls thrown his way and he either continued playing hurt or was tended to by trainers on the sideline.
The two players are entering years six and year three with the Giants. They need to have big seasons or their roles on the offense will be in serious jeopardy in the future.