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Receiver Sterling Shepard Shares Thoughts About His Role in Giants Offense

Although Sterling Shepard has been most productive in the slot, he said he's looking forward to moving around the offense this year.

You'll never hear Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard complain about his role on the team.

But you will have to forgive Shepard, currently the longest-tenured member of the Giants if he's somewhat excited about potentially seeing a little more time in the slot than he has the last two seasons.

Shepard, the Giants' second-round draft pick in 2016, made most of his living in the slot, playing there in 1,669 out of his 3,581 offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

And in his first three seasons in the league, Shepard, who played in at least 58% of his snaps in the slot, was at his most productive, racking up 200 of his 317 career receptions for 2,215 of his 3,581 yards and 17 of his career touchdowns.

Despite that production--which helped him earn a contract extension following the 2018 season, by the way--Shepard saw his slot snaps drop after the Giants acquired veteran receiver Golden Tate.

Whereas Shepard was seeing at least 360 slot snaps in each of his first three seasons, suddenly, his slot snaps failed to top 200 for a season.

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This year with the Giants having added rookie Kadarius Toney, whose primary position in college was the slot, Shepard said he'll be bouncing around at different positions. But he also admitted that he has a special fondness for playing inside.

"I love the slot. It’s where I’m super comfortable," he said Tuesday after the Giants completed their conditioning tests. "I just like the space you have to be able to go all the way across the field, come back out, do the short intermediate routes to try and run in."

"But," he quickly added, "I can go outside as well. There’s some things that I love to do outside, as well. I’m looking forward to just bouncing around and being wherever the coaches see me fitting best."

Shepard, who has missed ten games due to injury over the last two seasons, also spoke about the benefits of having receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph to the offense.

"The more guys that we have helping make plays and making big things happen, the defense is going to have to pay attention to them," Shepard said.

"It frees guys up and hopefully we can do the same for them, draw some attention and free those guys up. Playmakers are what we need and that’s what I think we’ve addressed over the offseason."