With just one preseason game left, the New York Giants' roster and playing time decisions are mostly coming to start into focus. One area that still has some question marks, however, is the wide receiver position. Sure, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are penciled into their roles but after that things may not be what they appear.
First things first; Domenik Hixon looks like himself so far and is probably your third receiver (when Nicks returns). He's a veteran, the coaches trust him and he can whatever WR position needed. Rookie Reuben Randle, however, is lurking not far behind. Along with Cruz, these two guys got extensive work with Manning and the first team last night. However, there's still a few questions after those top four., the biggest being whether Ramses Barden can hang around.
Barden came up with three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown last night (and a pass interference on another sure touchdown). He sure looked to be using his big body the way the Giants envisioned when they drafted him. In fact Barden was so good last night that when asked about rookie running back David Wilson's breakout performance, Coughlin shifted focus to Barden, praising the big wide receiver for his play.
Said Manning of Barden's play last night: "Ramses played great…that's what we've been looking for from Ramses over the past couple of years. See if he can step up and make some plays for us, and today, he did it."
But will it be enough to save his roster spot? Nicks, Cruz, Hixon, Randle and Jerrel Jernigan are guaranteed roster spots in front of Barden, and his lack of special teams play makes him an imperfect candidate for that sixth roster spot.
Speaking of perfect candidates for that last spot … David Douglas appears to be the Giants punt returner, taking three first half punts last night (one of which was very nice although called back by a holding penalty). That sounds like bad news for Barden, but we're starting to wonder if the Giants will carry seven receivers. They've done it before.
Needless to say, Big Blue will have some tough decisions to make in the WR unit. Good problems to have, we suppose.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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