New York Giants next top wide receiver Darius Slayton

Darius Slayton, New York Giants. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Darius Slayton, New York Giants. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The 2019 New York Giants season was a rollercoaster, with one high point, the breakout year by rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton.

Darius Slayton was a diamond in the rough for the New York Giants in 2019. The former fifth-round pick finished the season with 48 receptions and 740 receiving yards despite starting in just nine games. His total of eight receiving touchdowns was good for ninth overall in the NFL, showcasing his productivity as a red-zone threat.

The Giants have been home to many top wideouts over the past 20 years, including stars such as Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress, Hakeem Nicks, Odell Beckham Jr., and Victor Cruz. Based on his promising rookie season, the 23-year-old may just be the next one on the list.

Slayton didn’t put up huge numbers at Auburn during his three seasons there. The former Tiger needed to turn some heads at the combine. He did just that, showcasing a blazing 4.39-second 40-yard dash time. Combined with his 6’1″, 190-pound frame, NFL teams took notice.

However, there were some legitimate concerns that caused Slayton to slip into the fifth round. Analyst Lance Zierlein summed most of them up in his draft profile:

"While Slayton has the athleticism to run a fully-formed route tree, but hasn’t yet learned to separate effectively from quality man coverage. His blazing speed is appealing, but teams will want to see more consistency from his hands and as a ball-tracker down the field. With that said, he’s more than just a field stretcher and has the traits and talent to become a WR2/3 with more work."

One of the main reasons for his breakout was Slayton’s ability to gain separation from defenders, often resulting in big plays.

The redshirt junior wideout showed improvement as he gradually became an offensive threat. Slayton totaled 467 receiving yards over his final seven college games while catching 59 percent of his targets from quarterback (and current New England Patriots backup Jarett Stidham). That included a three-touchdown, 130-yard showing at the 2018 Franklin American Music City Bowl

As a pro, Slayton became the first New York Giants rookie to catch two touchdown passes in a single game since OBJ did it in 2014, accomplishing the feat three separate times this year.

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Quarterback Daniel Jones is preparing for his first full season as the Giants unquestioned starter. Darius Slayton blossoming into a top wide receiver would be beneficial for all.