As is the case for some other Giants, Darius Slayton is facing a huge season.
He is expected to play the outside receiver role opposite Kenny Golladay, offering him a great chance to make big plays.
Slayton has shown in the past that he can make these plays, but in an increased role last season, Slayton was disappointing. Heading into year three, Darius Slayton could either capitalize on Kenny Golladay’s presence or fade into obscurity.
The Giants took Darius Slayton in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. His career started bumpy, with reports of him dropping balls in rookie minicamp and hamstring issues keeping him off of the field. When he did get onto the field, he showed big-time promise. Slayton led all rookies in touchdown receptions (8) and showed great chemistry with fellow rookie Daniel Jones.
Slayton was slated to be the Giants’ number 1 wide receiver for the 2020 season following his rookie season. In this role, his production decreased, which directly correlated with the offense’s output falling under new Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett. This became part of the reason why the Giants signed Kenny Golladay this past offseason.
Although he didn’t capitalize on his chances last year, the signing of Kenny Golladay could be a blessing in disguise for Darius Slayton.
It became clear last year that Darius Slayton is not a number 1 wide receiver, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a great number 2 wide receiver. Kenny Golladay will be the alpha receiver in this offense and will draw the most attention, leaving Slayton in a number of 1 on 1 situations. Slayton has proved in the past that he can beat corners on deep balls and go up and get the ball. Even outside of Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley, and Evan Engram will also garner attention from opposing defenses.
Slayton has a golden opportunity to show that he should remain a Giant for years to come. On the flip side, he also has the chance to show that he is nothing more than a so-so wide receiver.
On the surface, Darius Slayton’s numbers from last year look very similar to his rookie year outside of the touchdowns. With that being said, any Giant fan who watched the 2020 season will tell you he wasn’t the same player he was in 2019. Looking a little closer will show that, although Slayton put up similar yardage and catch statistics, he did this while playing in two more games than he did in 2019, with 14 more targets.
One area that remained consistent was drops, as Slayton had 5 for the second year in a row. We have already seen a glimpse of his drop issues in the preseason this year. Slayton needs to improve upon this to hold on to his job.
Could some of Slayton’s struggles have to do with Jason Garrett’s offense?
It absolutely could, but the fact of the matter is that Jason Garrett is back, and Slayton needs to perform to solidify his role on this team.
The good thing for Slayton is that he doesn’t need to have a pro bowl season to hold on to his role; he just needs to build on his chemistry with Daniel Jones, eliminate the drops, and capitalize on Golladay’s presence by making the highlight plays that he has in the past.
If he can do this, Darius Slayton will have a role on this team for the foreseeable future.
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