While all eyes look to Daniel Jones coming into his third season, there is another 2019 Giants draft pick who has a lot to prove: Darius Slayton.
Following an impressive rookie year with 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns, last season Slayton failed to build off his previous success. Though he still notched 50 receptions for 751 yards, Slayton did not convert as many opportunities.
This season will be an important time for him to reassert himself. The Giants brought in two high-profile wide receivers in first-round pick Kadarius Toney and free agent Kenny Golladay. In addition, they added former first-round pick and Bengals player John Ross.
Slayton appears unfazed by the new talent practicing alongside him, seeing them as positive assets to the team.
“I’m excited about all the guys. I think you just take the more-the-merrier mindset,” he said.
Slayton said he isn’t worried about losing time on the field to the new players, nor does he plan to look for a new place on the field. Instead, he is focused on bettering his own performance.
During minicamp, his speed and natural agility were evident in punt-catching drills. The blunders and dropped passes that marked his 2020 season — he had six drops last season, 19th in the league — were not evident during Wednesday’s practice.
Either way, Slayton must prove himself. Head coach Joe Judge said that prior to bringing in a drafted player, he speaks to veterans at the same position to inform them of the decision and affirm that their position is safe. After this year’s draft, he discussed the Toney selection with Sterling Shepard, the longest-tenured Giant. When asked, Slayton said that he and Judge did not have a conversation about how the new additions may impact him.
“We don’t look at any player on this program coming in as a threat or replacement. We look to go ahead and breed competition in this program and the best players will play,” Judge said.
“In terms of Darius, everyone is going to play to their strengths.”