After years of struggling to find enough quality wideouts, the Giants are suddenly finding themselves in a position where they may actually have too many.
The past few years they spent high draft picks on the wide receiver position in hopes of building a solid cadre of young players for Eli Manning to throw to. Hakeem Nicks was a first-rounder. Steve Smith and Sinorice Moss were second-rounders and Ramses Barden and Mario Manningham were both taken with third round selections.
The Giants have not gone the free-agent route to procure the services of a veteran receiver. Domenik Hixon and Derek Hagen were both in-season, waiver wire pickups. Hixon is finished for the season after injuring his knee on the turf of the new stadium. Hagan remains the only veteran undrafted wideout on the club’s roster.
The Giants have four rookie wide receivers in camp. Two of the four, Brooklynite Nyan Boateng and Memphis’ Duke Calhoun (a 6’4 prospect who has great upside), do not figure to make the final 53-man roster.
Enter Victor Cruz (pictured)and Tim Brown, two UDFAs with Jersey pedigrees. Cruz is a Paterson native who excelled at UMass. The diminutive Brown played his college ball at Rutgers. These two have done nothing but see their stock rise since camp began.
In the past few days, with Moss and Smith sidelined, Cruz and Brown have wowed the coaches and onlookers at U Albany. Head coach Tom Coughlin has cited their exploits on more than one occasion. First year WR coach Sean Ryan has been chatting them up as well.
Ryan will have the unenviable task of submitting one of these players’ names to Tom Coughlin for a turk visit. That is, unless you think the Giants will carry eight receivers, or finally part ways with Mr August himself, Sinorice Moss.
Cruz has convinced Ryan he belongs.
“Victor Cruz has done a really good job. I think he’s done a good job of mastering the offense and now getting to the point where he’s working on the little things you can do in the offense to make himself better. He has made some big plays down the field, too. He’s stood out to me.”
Brown is currying favor with Ryan, too. He hustles, is hard to cover, and other coaches are eying him for possible special teams duty.
“He’s fast, he gets on the field, and he stretches the defense” said Ryan, “He has done a nice job for us.”
The bubble is being stretched by these two walk-ons. The door is opening. Will the Giants let them in..?