Giant Holes: Two Positions That Need Attention

NYC Media Screamers- Michael NastriCorrespondent IMay 29, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MAY 09:  Ramses Barden #13 of the New York Giants works out at rookie camp on May 9, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

There are two positions where the New York Giants have some decent options but no established play makers to step up: wide receiver and safety.

Wide Receiver:

Dominik Hixon will start the season as the Giants number 1 wide out. While a solid number 3, he is unproven and tended to disappear in big games. He needs to be more consistent next year and learn how to get open against the plenitude of good corners in the NFC East.

Steve Smith is a perfect number two receiver. He is a possession guy that can move the chains on third down. But he's is not tall, thus not providing a big target in the red zone. He is also not extremely fast so he is not a big play option. Eli Manning will rely on Smith to move the chains, but Smith is not the star he will be looking for.

Mario Manningham has a tremendous amount of upside with his speed and his hands. However, already he has been plagued by injury. He is not built and his durability could hurt him from ever making an impact. But, if he can find a way to stay healthy he could prove to have a big year.

Sinorice Moss was a miss. In his three years he has been downed with injury, unable to get open down the field, or unable to hold onto the football. Bill Sheridan believes he can have a huge year but that is a big leap of faith.

Hakeem Nicks has a lot of potential. He has been compared to Michael Irvin or Anquan Boldin. He is a speedster with exceptional hands. But with a small frame, he will take some time to adjust to the NFL. He will need to learn how to get separation. He will be a good receiver but the question is when?

Ramses Barden has Plaxico size at 6’6”. He could be that red zone target for Eli. But playing at Cal Poly allowed him to only play against one big time program in Wisconsin. Playing small time ball to the NFL is a huge jump and it may take some time to make the jump. He could make a contribution faster than Nicks though based off that size.

Taylor Biddle is a practice squad player.

Amani Toomer is still unsigned and it looks like it is going to stay that way.

It seems a big time acquisition is out of the question at this point. This is a receiving corps that will have to get major contributions from inexperience guys or else the Giants will only be effective through the run. One- dimensional teams usually don’t win Super Bowls.


Kenny Phillips did not play as many Giants’ officials hoped he would his rookie season. James Butler, although solid, is slow footed and the athletically gifted Phillips was unable to unseat him as a starter last year. Phillips has the potential to be the next great safety from U of Miami following Ed Reed and Sean Taylor. But right now, until he steps up, that’s all it is.

Michael Johnson had a solid sophomore season with 71 tackles. But he sometimes is unable to defend against the big play getting beat down the field by speedy established receivers. He is another player that is young but still is not developed enough to give you everything. 

Sha’reff Rashad has a big body. He will be able to match up with most receivers but as an undrafted rookie coming out of Central Florida it will take a while for him to learn how to be a good safety in the NFL.

Travonti Johnson and Vince Anderson are both big bodies as well that are converting from corner-back to safety because of the depth at corner. Both of these guys will have a big learning curve switching the position and probably won’t be able to contribute a lot this year.

Overall Phillips is going to have to have a big season for this last line of defense to be successful. Michael Johnson is another young play that needs to improve on his surprising first two seasons. It is a position that lacks a ton of depth or experience. The Giants will need to add a vet to help along some of these young kids.