Darius Slayton was living the dream as a rookie with the New York Giants in 2019. He led the team in receiving yards and looked to be on the fast track to stardom in the NFL. But after two injury-filled seasons that limited his time on the field, there has been a significant drop in Slayton’s receiving numbers. Slayton has four weeks remaining in the season to show his worth as a featured receiver in the Giants passing attack.
You may ask what all the hullabaloo about a fourth-round draft pick from Auburn who was never high on any expert’s draft board. Let’s not forget that Slayton teamed up with fellow rookie Daniel Jones to become one of the most impressive passing duos in 2019. Jones’ arm strength and Slayton’s speed challenged opposing defenses on deep routes each week. But more importantly, the Giants were convinced they had found an adequate top receiver.
Last Chance for Darius Slayton to Become a Featured Receiver
Injuries Have Limited Slayton’s Productivity
However, after his promising rookie season, Slayton has been plagued by numerous leg, ankle and foot injuries. They have limited his time on the football field and derailed his opportunity to become the Giants featured receiver.
Slayton’s receiving numbers are not the issue. He went from 48 catches in his rookie season to 50 grabs in 2020. However, his ability to catch touchdown passes has gone down steadily. Slayton went from eight to three last season.
In 2021, he has become an after-thought in the Giants passing game. Slayton has played in 10 games (four starts) with 21 receptions for 280 yards and one touchdown. He has been outplayed by teammate John Ross throughout the season, among others. Players like Ross do not get ample opportunities to show their worth, but he has made the most of his playing time this season. The Giants coaching staff feel Ross’s outstanding speed makes him a coverage nightmare downfield.
Slayton Could Be Playing for His Football Life
It is not out of the realm of possibility that Slayton is playing for his football life. At the very least he is auditioning for a role with the Giants in 2023.
Granted, he was never be considered the Giants best receiver on the roster. Especially with Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard ahead of him on the depth chart. Each is a better all-around receiver, but neither player has been healthy enough to remain on the field for an extended period this season.
Slayton was given a chance to become a factor in their absence. Instead, he has failed to show his worth in the passing game. The wideout has not played up to expectations. The productivity of the offense has been hampered by injuries to key personnel and a lack of production from their replacements.
With four weeks remaining in the season, a carrot has been dangled out in front of Slayton. It is time for him to have a breakout performance to finish the season strong. The jury is still out on whether Slayton can recapture his prior success.
Giants fans might offer this suggestion, “Don’t blow it.”
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