For the first three years of Ramses Barden's NFL career, the opportunities were limited. Drafted by the New York Giants in 2009 out of California Polytechnic State University, Barden only had one reception in three games during his rookie season that year.
In 2010, Barden had five catches within three games before injuring his ankle in November, which ended his season. During the Giants' Super Bowl run in 2011, Barden had nine receptions but remained near the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart.
In this past offseason, though, third receiver Mario Manningham did not re-sign, which opened the door for Barden and other receivers, such as Domenik Hixon and Reuben Randle, to all step up. Furthermore, Hakeem Nicks has had to deal with injuries recently and will miss his second consecutive game on September 30 against the Eagles.
As a result of Nicks' injury, plus the injury sustained by Hixon in Week 2, Barden was finally given a chance to prove himself in a starting role against the Panthers. He ended up having a breakout performance that included nine receptions and 138 receiving yards in the Giants' blowout victory. In Week 2 against the Buccaneers, Barden had one 24-yard reception.
With the Giants' receivers having sustained injuries this early into the season and Barden getting his first real opportunity to contribute to the Giants, he could be in for a big season.
Here are five reasons why Barden will continue to play well this year and have a breakout season.