Day three of our camp preview continues with the wideouts.
Unit: Wide receivers
Depth Chart: Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden, Derek Hagan, Sinorice Moss, Duke Calhoun, Tim Brown, Victor Cruz, Adam Jennings, Domenik Hixon (IR).
On the Bubble: Calhoun, Brown, Cruz, Jennings.
Player to Watch: Nicks. The second-year wide receiver is coming off toe surgery and could be a prime breakout candidate. He showed flashes of serious play-making ability and could be even more of a game breaker this season.
Wild Card: Barden. He has the size and hands. Now he has to show the consistency in camp. The Giants are hoping their super-sized receiver takes a big step forward in training camp and becomes the red zone target they envisioned after taking him in the third round last year.
Analysis: The wide receivers proved last season that they can get the job done without Plaxico Burress. Smith emerged into a go-to receiver and had 107 receptions for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns. He wants a contract extension and is motivated to prove that those numbers are no fluke.
Nicks and Manningham showed playmaking abilities. If Nicks and Manningham can show better consistency, Eli Manning will have a fearsome threesome. The explosive Nicks could emerge as the Giants’ best big-play threat. He is determined to start and will have to beat out Manningham in camp if he wants to start opposite Smith.
The Giants hope Barden emerges into the Plaxico-sized threat they envisioned when they drafted him out of Cal Poly with Hixon out for the year. The 6-6 wideout has made spectacular catches in the offseason training practices but coaches want to see more consistency.
Hagan rarely drops a pass thrown his way and is solid. Moss manages to stick on the roster every year but he has a lot of climbing to do on the depth chart in camp if he wants to see snaps in the regular season.