New York Giants: 5 WRs Who Can Replace Mario Manningham
New York can either look within the organization, in the NFL draft or through free agency.
They've already used free agency to obtain a tight end in Martellus Bennett––as well as addressing a few other needs––but have yet to find a free agent to replace Manningham.
The G-Men already have a few wideouts on the roster who will get a chance to audition for the position, and there are also some solid WRs in the draft who would make a nice fit in blue.
Here are five wide receivers who could replace Manningham this season:
In my opinion, Domenik Hixon is the likeliest candidate to win the No. 3 spot on the Giants' wide receiver depth chart.
In four seasons with the Giants––one of which lasted only two games due to an ACL tear––Hixon has decent numbers for a backup wide receiver.
His best season came in 2008––when he appeared in all 16 games for Big Blue––catching 43 passes for 596 yards and two touchdowns.
The New York Post's Paul Schwartz writes about Hixon:
The other option is Domenik Hixon, who has 63 career receptions but has played in only two games the past two seasons because of two reconstructive anterior cruciate ligament surgeries on the same knee. Hixon was re-signed last week and the Giants hope he can regain the form that made him a reliable kickoff and punt returner, but asking him to become the third receiver might be a stretch.
I agree with Schwartz until he states that asking Hixon to be the third wideout for the Giants is too much. He has the most experience out of the other in-house candidates and has proven to be somewhat of a weapon for Tom Coughlin in the past.
Mohamed Sanu wouldn't have to move too far if he was drafted by the New York Giants in the 2012 NFL draft.
The junior wideout from Rutgers University set a school and Big East record in 2011 when he caught 115 passes for the Scarlet Knights. Those 115 catches were good for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns.
Given his combine results, Sanu's stock is on the rise across the NFL.
So how do the Giants think would Sanu fit into their offense? Take a look:
He also has breakaway speed to get behind the defense to go along with his route running skills, both necessities in the Giants scheme. Eli Manning is a quarterback who likes to make a lot of throws based on anticipation and Sanu knows how to get his head around and look for the football.
Sanu would undoubtedly be an asset to the Giants' offense in 2012.
Jerrel Jernigan was drafted by the Giants in the third round of the 2011 draft, but didn't see much time on the field during his rookie season.
He appeared in eight games for the G-Men but didn't record a single reception, given the talent the Giants already had on the field. At just 5'8", Jernigan will need to rely on his speed to excel in the NFL.
Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, "Given the year to learn the NFL ropes, the Giants hope Jernigan takes a huge step forward because the opportunity is there for him."
The opportunity is indeed there for him, as the Giants, I would guess, would like to find a third receiver from within the organization.
Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins had himself quite a 2011 campaign.
Aside from 90 receptions, 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns, the senior recorded at least four receptions in every game and led the Big Ten conference in receptions.
Jenkins' numbers are extremely impressive due to the lack of offensive production from Illinois in 2011.
He's a speed guy who can get up the field in a hurry, something the Giants are missing in the absence of Mario Manningham.
Jenkins drew a majority of the opposing team's coverage last season and still performed at a high level, making him a player the Giants should definitely add to their draft list.
Sizable wideout Ramses Barden has yet to take advantage of his God-given height.
At 6'6", Barden towers over most corners and should be capable of having a solid NFL career, but he hasn't shown the Giants anything as of yet.
Drafted in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft, Barden has a mere 15 catches for 174 yards in three seasons in New York.
And as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, "This is likely the last opportunity for towering Ramses Barden, a 2009 third-round pick who in three seasons has only 15 catches for 174 yards and needs to show something to stick on the roster."
The job is up for grabs, and Barden will probably see more action this season than he has in three years combined if he uses his height to his advantage.
Follow Pete Schauer on Twitter @Pete_Schauer