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The Curious Case of Darius Slayton (And Why He Has #1 WR Potential)


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First things, I went to school around Norcross, GA and was a Junior when Slayton's team kicked our *****, the year after we won State. As a Freshman, he put up close to 300 yards catching and four touchdowns. We absolutely just couldn't stop him. I also asked for an autograph on my cleats cause I knew he would be in the NFL in a few years taking names. 

With that out of the way, you all now know my opinion is biased. 

Almost a decade later, the Giants have seemed to find a diamond in the rough in fifth round pick Darius Slayton. This comes off the heels of trading a franchise cornerstone who played the same position. From day 1, Slayton had large shoes to fill. It was hard to envision Slayton finding success in his first year; especially considering he would be catching passes from a rookie QB, and a QB that was on his last three seasons ago. Before we get into what his success actually means for the Giants going forward, I want to discuss a few things about the player. 

Firstly, let's talk about the man's athletic measurements. Taking a look back at his combine performance, Slayton wow'ed with a blazing 4.39 unofficial 40 yard dash, an eye popping 40.5" vertical jump, and an insane 11'3" Broad Jump. For a receiver coming in right at 6'1", those are some great numbers. That speed and explosiveness served Slayton well while at Auburn. Being his apparent calling card, he was able to torch SEC defenses time and time again. Due to terrible QB play however, Slayton was never able to put up the insane numbers one would expect of a player with those kind of measurements. Despite this, in college he displayed great hand strength, and good body control to showcases he was much more than just a run in a straight line guy. He was the true deep threat, not just because he could blow past his defenders, but also he because he had the "I'm getting in that Endzone" mentality that all the great play makers have had. Making people miss was his forte, so much so, Slayton is a Highlight waiting to happen. Enough about his time in college, we are talking about his NFL Career, right? Correct you are, and why don't we talk about that impressive rookie season. 

Year 1 began buried on the depth chart for Slayton. He was sitting behind less competent talent, but, luckily for us as fans, he wouldn't stay there for long. As injuries and suspensions piled up, Slayton was called upon to do what all "late round fliers" are supposed to do, fill in during a crucial Week 3 contest with the Buccaneers. With Tate & Shepard sidelined, Slayton played a paltry 27 snaps (less than 45% of the teams offensive snaps that game), but still preformed admirably, he finished the afternoon with 5 Targets | 3 Catches (60% Catch Rate) | 82 Yards (27.33 YPR | 16.4 YPT). During Jones' big coming out party, Slayton showed excellent rapport with his signal caller. Now fast forward to week 10 match-up with the crosstown Jets, Slayton explodes for an elite stat line of 15 Targets | 10 Catches (66.67% Catch Rate) | 121 Yards (12.1 YPR | 8.07 YPT) | 2 Touchdowns. Slayton had exploded onto the scene. 

Over the remainder of the season, Slayton went on to amass 740 Yards on 84 Targets, 48 Catches (15.5 YPC | 57.1% Catch Rate), adding in 8 Touchdown catches as well. With two 120+ yard performances this season. Slayton showed he has the stuff to be an offense's focal point on the perimeter. While he needs to get better at running a wider variety of routes, he showed vast improvement from his last season at Auburn. I believe that he will continue to develop as a route runner. 

The Giants found themselves a Gem, and hopefully he continues to develop into a true #1 wideout. 

Thanks for reading! 

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I was a big time doubter. I didn't think he'd even make the roster as a rookie. I am so happy to be proven wrong, and now I'm a big time believer. He had some really strong performances last year. He's got the right mindset and work ethic it seems as well. I think he absolutely has the potential to be the #1 guy here. 

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21 minutes ago, Gmen19851 said:

It also would surpise me if we drafted a receiver in the mid rounds because next year we can cut tate for a decent cap savings with minimal dead money.  

Tate is pretty good at what he does, which is work the middle and get YAC.  Considering Sheppard's unfortunate concussion history, I don't think cutting Tate is a great idea.  Sheppard could be one hit away from calling it a career. 

What these number show is that Jones was throwing a lot of catch-able passes downfield, but our receivers weren't winning their battles.  I think we're missing a physical receiver on the outside.  Slayton had a good rookie year and showed speed, but he's a bit lean.  A big guy like Michael Pittman or combine star Chase Claypool could round out the receiving corp nicely.   Alternatively, we could get another burner and just hope for more separation downfield.   Maybe KJ Hamler? 

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On 4/5/2020 at 1:24 PM, Gmen said:

We can still use another deep threat 

Those are some very interesting numbers. If we do pick a deep threat in the first four rounds, Brandon Ayiuk fits the bill. Donovan People-Jones is another guy who should be available rounds three and four thanks to this guys depth. I think DPJ is a better fit than Ayiuk because DPJ is a bigger target who does better in the short-intermediate game. He runs a lot of routes well, which surprised me cause of how tight he is in the ankles. He does have above average hip movement.  

Another guy in the later rounds who has all the tools to succeed, but was very limited by their offense is Trishton Jackson. He's a playmaker and can get down the field in a heart beat or with moves to shake his defender. Also he doesn't suffer from drops, so there is that plus. 

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