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I almost feel bad for the Giants coaching staff, who will be forced to select only the top receivers from a young and talented crop in the coming weeks.
The duo that combined for 2,728 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2011, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, are locked in as the starters on the outside. However, in three wide receiver sets, the Giants plan on moving Cruz into the slot, leaving a wide-open third wide receiver position.
This year’s second-round pick, Reuben Randle, and last year’s third-round pick, Jerrel Jernigan, are sure bets to make the team. However, it may be veteran Domenik Hixon, who is currently filling in for the injured Nicks, that ultimately nabs the third wideout position.
Assuming the Giants take six receivers, the front-runner (by default) for the final spot is probably Ramses Barden, a third-round pick out of Cal Poly back in 2009. Despite an impressive college career and highly desirable size, Barden has yet to become a significant producer in the Giants’ offense.
Now, Barden is faced with a make-or-break season as young players such as David Douglas, Dan DePalma and Brandon Collins nip at his heels. Even Isaiah Stanback, who seems to be coming on as of late, may make a push for that final roster spot. After all, Stanback’s one-handed touchdown grab against the Jaguars sure will help his case.
With Travis Beckum sidelined as he recovers from a torn ACL, the battle for the starting tight end job appears to be a two-man race between Bear Pascoe and Martellus Bennett.
Bennett, who connected with Carr for a 12-yard score in his big blue debut, is looking for a new start after playing second fiddle to All-Pro tight end Jason Witten for the past four seasons in Dallas. Pascoe, who has never been a primary target in the passing game, may fall short in this competition.
The Giants will also keep fourth round draft pick Adrien Robinson as a developmental tight end. In time, tight ends coach Mike Pope hopes to mold Robinson’s raw athletic ability into an NFL-ready pass-catcher.