The New York Giants prioritized bolstering several positions this off-season via free agency and the draft, with a significant push to upgrade the offense's playmakers.
The Giants signed receiver Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million deal, locking down the WR1 spot and providing quarterback Daniel Jones with a big receiving target. They also drafted Florida wideout Kadarius Toney in the first round of the 2021 draft, adding more speed to an offense that is eyeing more of a vertical game this year.
At tight end, they added Kyle Rudolph, who will presumably pair with Evan Engram as the starter. Rudolph, who saw his 2020 season cut short due to a foot injury, has had a career history of success in the red zone.
These additions have gone a long way to solidifying the top of the depth chart at receiver and tight end, but what about the back end's depth? Let's take a look at what the Giants have there.
Alex Bachman - With a young group of receivers looking to land a spot on the 53-man roster, Bachman is one option who will be pushing for an opportunity.
As a scrappy receiver who has found himself primarily on the practice squad the past few seasons, Bachman is slowly making his way at the NFL level. At 6-foot, 190-pounds, the Wake Forest product was not only a solid pass catcher at the college level but was also a kick-off specialist — something head coach Joe Judge values.
With the Giants adding several new receivers, Bachman’s journey to earning starting reps has become even more complicated. It is doubtful he battles his way out of the practice squad, but injuries are a prominent variable in the NFL, opening up opportunities when you least expect them.
C.J. Board - When it comes to reserve receivers, their contribution to special teams is integral. Board is one player who contributes as a special-teams gunner and as a receiver.
In 14 games last year, Board totaled 101 yards, averaging 9.2 yards per reception. Heading into his third season in the NFL, Board will have to make his name on special teams; otherwise, the Giants could look to replace him with a cheaper option since he is set to count $1.2 million against the cap this upcoming season.
Austin Mack - The undrafted free agent out of Ohio State provided a nice spark as a big possession receiver on the outside. Over 11 games, Mack posted 91 yards on seven receptions, nearly finding his way into the end zone against Washington only to be stopped one yard short.
The 6'2", 215-pound wideout has a tall task ahead of him to earn a spot on the active roster, but one of his more underrated purposes is in the running game, providing a big blocker to help at the second level.
Derrick Dillon - Standing at 5’11” and 185 pounds, 25-year-old Derrick Dillon out of LSU will need a few things to break his way if he's to slip onto the roster.
Dante Pettis - One player who has a positive outlook at the back end of the roster is Dante Pettis, who signed with the Giants last season after being waived by the San Francisco 49ers.
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Over two games, the 25-year-old Pettis tallied 76 yards and a touchdown, catching 80% of his targets. He is a former second-round pick with plenty of potential, but injuries and a lack of consistency have been his undoing so far.
That said, Pettis, who, after coming to the Giants, tested positive for COVID-19, was known as a top return specialist in college. That, along with his versatility, could be his ticket to a spot at the bottom of the depth chart.
John Ross - Former Bengals first-round pick John Ross will be looking to revive his career and shake the bust label from his name. Ross, who inked a one-year, $2.25 million deal, is a player who could provide speed on the outside.
When Ross is at full health, he’s capable of blowing the top off any defense with blazing speed. Having another go-route option alongside Darius Slayton will keep opposing defenses honest, contributing to a lighter box in the running game.
Ross is also a decent gadget option, as the Giants occasionally utilized end-arounds and jet sweeps last season. Getting him into open space is dangerous, and if he manages to secure a spot on the roster, they will try to get creative with his application.
David Sills V - One of the more underrated receivers on the roster, Sills started to turn heads until a broken leg suffered last summer ended his quest for a roster spot. If he can re-capture that same form, Sills could find his way toward the back end of the roster and an active spot.
Head coach Joe Judge was impressed by Sills' work ethic, and Giants wide receiver coach Tyke Tolbert described Sills as a “rep stealer.” The simple reality is that Sills has impressed in the past, but that doesn’t guarantee he will defeat some of the other experienced veterans.
Kaden Smith - Heading into his third season, Smith has proven to be a reliable option for the Giants as a reserve tight end. Last season, he recorded 112 receiving yards over 15 games (18 receptions), catching 85.7% of targets. However, the Giants signed Kyle Rudolph to pair with Engram and become the team's eventual red zone threat.
With Engram and Rudolph believed to be roster locks and with Levine Toilolo having accepted a pay cut, there might not be room for Smith on the roster depending on how many receivers and tight ends they can keep, but there could be a place for Smith on the practice squad.
Levin Toilolo - Toilolo agreed to a pay cut on the second year of his two-year free-agent deal, which will give him a chance to compete for a roster spot. During the 2020 campaign, Toilolo played in just 27% of offensive snaps but did have a more significant role on special teams. As a receiver, Toilolo contributed 46 receiving yards on just six targets. But Toilolo was thought to have been brought on board more so for his blocking than his receiving, even though he uses his body well in shielding the ball.
Kelvin Benjamin - Former Carolina Panther (and Dave Gettleman draft pick) Kelvin Benjamin was signed to the Giants roster following a tryout during the spring rookie minicamp. While Benjamin appears to be a long shot for a roster spot, he gives himself a chance by working at both tight end and receiver.
"The Good, Great & Ugly" Series
WR Kelvin Benjamin | RB Devontae Booker | RB Corey Clement | OLB Lorenzo Carter | CB Isaac Yiadom | TE Kaden Smith | WR Kenny Golladay | TE Levine Toilolo | Edge Ifeadi Odenigbo | DT Danny Shelton | OL Zach Fulton | CB Adoree' Jackson | TE Evan Engram | S Jabrill Peppers | S Xavier McKinney | ILB Reggie Ragland | WR John Ross | TE Kyle Rudolph | OLB Oshane Ximines | LB Carter Coughlin | IDL Dexter Lawrence II | WR Darius Slayton | LB Cam Brown | DL Leonard Williams | OL Will Hernandez | IDL Austin Johnson | IDL B.J. Hill | WR Sterling Shepard | ILB Blake Martinez | DB Logan Ryan | C Nick Gates | OT Matt Peart | CB Darnay Holmes | ILB Tae Crowder | CB James Bradberry | QB Daniel Jones