3. WR Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz is one of the best examples in NFL history of a fantastic career being ruined by injuries. After three consecutive seasons in which Cruz tallied over 990 receiving yards, he would never be the same due to gruesome injuries.
Cruz had a different path than most coming into the NFL. Being undrafted out of UMass, Cruz would not see the field until his sophomore season in the league. He broke out as arguably the best receiver on the team, catching 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine TDs in 2011. While other, more experienced receivers like Nicks would step up in the playoffs, Cruz still had his moments, such as when he caught 10 passes for 142 yards in the NFC Championship Game. Don’t forget about his TD in the Super Bowl win over Tom Brady and Co. too.
In the same 2011 season, Cruz would be selected to the Second Team All-Pro squad and would make his mark as a fan favorite. Cruz remains adored by the fanbase. Whether it was his ridiculous ability to make moves on the field, or his signature “salsa” dance after every TD, there was a lot to like about the young undrafted stud.
Cruz would follow his breakout season by catching 86 passes for 1,092 yards and 10 TDs. He went to the Pro Bowl that winter. It is also worth mentioning that Cruz was on pace for a third consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2013. However, a concussion/knee sprain would cause him to miss the final two games of the season.
Despite the massive levels of success for Cruz, things only went downhill from there. During a Week 6 matchup against the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, Cruz would go down with a torn patella in his right knee that caused him to miss the entirety of the 2014 campaign. The injury bug was not over for Cruz though, as he would also miss the entirety of the 2015 season with a torn fascia in his left calf.
After these injuries, it was clear that Cruz was not the same player. In the 2016 season, Cruz would go on to catch 39 passes for 586 yards and one TD in 15 games. The NY Giants would release Cruz at the end of the campaign, and he never played in another regular season game after that.
Cruz would finish his career on the Giants catching a total of 303 passes for 4,549 yards and 25 TDs. While some of the players on this list may have had a better career for the Giants than Cruz, his prime was simply unreal. The excitement Cruz brought to the fans, combined with his role in helping the NY Giants win the Super Bowl in 2011, will never be forgotten.