Odell Beckham Jr. is already a star for the New York Giants. Their next order of business was finding him help. The latest feeling is they’ve done it.
So many felt that it was going to be Victor Cruz who assumed that second spot. All he had to do was get his body right from a series of nagging injuries and he could resume his role as one of the most dynamic receivers in football. It hasn’t happened though. The last time he played a full 16-game season was 2012 and since then it’s been a swift fall to the point where he did not play at all in 2015. Set to turn 30 in November, some wonder if he might ever play again.
No, the man who has Giants camp buzzing with possibilities for their passing game is rookie 2nd round pick Sterling Shepard. From the outset he’s been making plays. So much in fact that both teammates and coaches can’t say enough about him.
“I just feel like I really know what he’s capable of,” Beckham raved this week, “and I’d rather let him just shock the world than spill his secrets. … He was definitely a steal, a guy that could have gone first round.”
Shepard was considered among the bigger sleepers in the 2016 draft at an otherwise lackluster receiver position. Despite his limited size at 5’10”, he demonstrates an excellent mix of quickness, speed, agility, route running and hands. His final season at Oklahoma he piled up 86 catches for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns. His college career showed steady, significant progression. It remains puzzling why he didn’t garner more 1st round consideration. Most would reference his height but given the success of guys like Beckham and Antonio Brown, it’s become hard to justify that anymore.
Either way, this is great news for the New York Giants. For the past couple years it has felt like the true basis of their offense was Eli Manning throwing to Beckham. When teams were able to slow that down, they usually won the football game. If Shepard lives up to even a part of the hype this year, then this unit is going to cause a lot of problems.
Erik Lambert |nflmocks.com | June 19, 2016