Giants Player Profile: Derrick Dillon, WR
2019 Season Rewind
Derrick Dillon is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound speed receiver was buried on the depth chart for the National Championship LSU Tigers.
Quarterback Joe Burrow had the luxury of throwing the football to Ja'Marr Chase, a potential top 5 pick in 2021, Justin Jefferson, a first-round pick by the Vikings in 2020, and Terrance Marshall, who is very good in his own right, but hurt his leg in the middle of the 2019 season.
During his time in Baton Rouge, Dillon had 51 receptions for 634 yards and four touchdowns, and it’s not an understatement to say that he had a niche role.
Dillon is mostly remembered for his 49-yard touchdown pass on a horizontal cross against Auburn when he caught the ball in the middle of four defenders and accelerated up the sideline for the touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Without that play, the Tigers season may have been significantly different because the team was down at the time of the play.
After Marshall was injured, Dillon lined up mostly on the Tigers boundary, while being used in the slot as well.
In 2018, Dillon was mostly featured in the slot for the Tigers, so he has positional versatility as a wide receiver.
Dillon is an explosive player who is raw as a receiver but has a lot to offer. Reportedly, he ran a 4.29 at LSU’s virtual Pro Day--you can take that for what it’s worth, but his quickness is still real.
Dillon also possesses a strong background playing special teams. He’s quick, plays with a chip on his shoulder when blocking, and has homerun potential.
As previously mentioned, he’s raw with his route running and his ability to defeat press coverage, mostly due to his smaller stature. Also, his production wasn’t there, which can somewhat be attributed to the room he was playing in, with Chase, Jefferson, and Marshall, but there still should be some concern there.
Dillon was a four-star recruit coming out of Pine High School in Louisiana. He was the ninth-ranked national wide receiver and the fifth-ranked high school player out of Louisiana.
As far as academics go, Dillon graduated in 2019 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.
The Giants failed to add any receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft, despite the questionable nature of the receivers room’s longevity and durability. This surprised a lot of Giants fans for two reasons.
First, the 2020 NFL Draft was incredibly deep at the wide receiver position; and second, the Giants could have used an infusion of new wide receiver talent to begin grooming for the future.
Golden Tate may be released after this season, even though he’s an incredibly vital part of the offense. Sterling Shepard has a lot of concussion issues that are concerning. Darius Slayton is poised to be the No. 1 receiver for the Giants in the future, but he won't be able to do it all by himself.
This leaves a massive opportunity for the undrafted free agents that the Giants added in 2020, that, in addition to Dillon, includes Ohio State's Binjamin Victor and Austin Mack, Rysen John, a Candian prospect who projects to tight end in the NFL.
Dillon’s skill set is a lot different than Mack's and Victor’s, so his ability to crack the roster is very realistic. The Giants needed an infusion of young, explosive talent, kind of like they received from Slayton last year.
If Dillon makes the team, he’ll be used as a deep threat sparingly, but it would take some time to see him crack the roster.
Dillon’s lack of production at the collegiate level carries some concern. While some can contribute to the depth of the team, some concern has to be assigned at the feet of the talented fast-wide receiver from Louisiana.
I feel Austin Mack has a better chance to earn snaps as a receiver, but Dillon’s explosive ability and his special teams background might give him the edge in earning a niche role at wide receiver in Week 1.