Derrick Dillon was a four-star recruit out of Pine High School in Louisiana.
At 5'11 and 185 pounds, he attended LSU but found himself buried on the depth chart behind future NFL players Ja'Marr Chase, Terrance Marshall, and Justin Jefferson. In playing behind those guys, Dillion's career-high pass targets topped out at 38 (2018).
Still, Dillon was modestly productive for the Tigers, finishing with 51 receptions for 634 yards and four touchdowns in 31 games. Primarily a slot receiver in college, he saw an uptick in snaps on the perimeter when he had to pick up some slack for Marshall after he suffered an injury.
Dillon went undrafted but was signed by the Giants after New York decided against using a draft pick on a receiver despite there being a growing need at the position.
Part of Dillon's appeal is his work on special teams, where during his final college season (2019), he was a core special teams performer.
The other part? Pure speed. Dillon recorded a 4.29-second 40-yard dash at his pro day that got the attention of several teams.
While there's no question that Dillon has speed, the big question Dillon must answer is how much closer has he been able to push his overall game to being NFL-ready this off-season.
What He Brings
Dillon is an explosive player who came into the league raw but with good quickness and tenacity on special teams.
He was also a better-than-average blocker, especially downfield for the running game, where he matched up well against defensive backs around his size.
That said, he struggled against press coverage and in winning his contested catch battles, where he finished with a 40% win rate. Another alarming stat is that he only averaged 5.0 yards after the catch, raising concerns about his elusiveness.
Dillon is signed to a two-year reserve/futures contract worth $1.491 million. He counts for $663,000 against this year's cap and will cost the team only $6,000 this year and next year if he doesn't make the 53-man roster.
You never want to write off a player's chance of making an NFL roster before he gets on the field.
In Dillon's case, it's defensively fair to say that the soon-to-be 26-year-old has a very high hill to climb to get a spot on the 53-man roster after the Giants added so much more speed at the position through free agency and the draft.
Unless Dillon has made significant strides in his route running and his ability to disengage from press coverage, he could be destined for another year on the practice squad if he makes it that far.
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