Over the previous two practices, it has been widely noted that New York Giants rookie first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. has not been a participant due to a festering hamstring injury that has been bothering him since Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
While many Giants fan were quick to point out that the young receivers's absence on the practice field will likely land him in Tom Coughlin’s dog house — something supported by Coughlin's recent comments — it is imperative that the Giants remain patient with the explosive LSU product. For a receiver who made his name based on his explosive ability and has drawn comparisons to the likes Randall Cobb, Victor Cruz and a young Steve Smith, it would be in the Giants' best interest to make sure Beckham Jr. is more than completely healthy before returning to the field from any hamstring issues as such injuries tend to linger for quite some time.
The predicament that the Giants unfortunately find themselves in is that training camp is a crucial period for young receivers to not only learn the playbook, adjust to the NFL game, but also develop chemistry with their quarterbacks. This progress may very well be delayed deep into the preseason and even regular season if the injury continues to linger. Still, it would be in Giants’ best interest to have a healthy Beckham Jr. late into the season as a worst case scenario playing in special packages to maximize his usage despite practice time rather than rushing him onto the field to soon and risking further complications.
A combination of a healthy Beckham Jr. and David Wilson on the field at the same time late in the season when most defenses have been worn down, could make the Giants an incredibly dangerous offense with home run ability that opposing defenses will have to adjust for. So the question then is, assuming this worse case hypothetical scenario where Beckham Jr. was to miss a reasonable amount of time, can the Giants afford to sit the rookie?
The answer is yes, primarily due to the general theme of the Giants offseason where numerous positions have been bolstered in terms of depth due to the severity of the injury bug in 2013. At wide receiver the Giants brought back Mario Manningham who will be hitting the field healthy and with a chip on his shoulder, while historically having good chemistry with Eli Manning. Barring limitations due to injury, there is no reason to suspect Manningham can’t be a useful asset in the offense behind Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle.
In the instance that Manningham is unsuccessful in rejuvenating his career, Jerrel Jernigan proved to be a viable option towards the end of the 2013 campaign where gathered at least six receptions in each of the Giants final three games as well as three touchdowns. Now entering his fourth season out of Troy, Jernigan is facing the proverbial make or break season and will likely be afforded every opportunity to prove himself, and could potentially supersede both Manningham and Beckham Jr. regardless of their health.
The remainder of the receivers are virtual unknowns at this point outside of Trindon Holliday who is viewed primarily as a kick returner and offensive specialist designated for certain packages. The likes of Marcus Harris, Travis Harvey, Preston Parker, Corey Washington and Julian Talley will battle to make the roster and will unlikely contribute this season barring injuries.
Julian Talley could be an interesting name to watch as he has flashed some skill in previous preseason as well as practice and special teams despite not appearing on the Giants first unofficial depth chart. Regardless of which of these prospects make the team, its safe to say the Giants will not be passing the ball much if any of the aforementioned unknowns have to see playing time. In such a scenario expect the Giants to run the football and utilize tight ends Larry Donnell and Adrien Robinson as additional receiving options.
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Tags: Corey Washington, David Wilson, Eli Manning, Football, Jerrel Jernigan, Julian Talley, Marcus Harris, Mario Manningham, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Rueben Randle, Tom Coughlin, Travis Harvey, Victor Cruz