With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.



2023 YEAR IN REVIEW: Despite a revolving door at quarterback and one of the worst pass-blocking offensive lines in NFL history, Darius Slayton had a productive year in 2023. He played in all 17 games with 13 starts and finished the season with 50 receptions (third-highest on team), 770 yards (first), 15.4 yards per catch (second), 298 yards after the catch (first), 29 receptions resulting in a first down (tied for first), and four touchdowns (tied for first). Slayton also cut down his dropped passes, with only three drops in 2023.

Wan’Dale Robinson had a remarkable bounce back season in 2023 after tearing his ACL in late November 2022. Though it took him some time to regain his old form, and he missed the first two contests, Robinson still played in 15 games with eight starts. He caught a team-high 60 passes for 525 yards and one touchdown with 29 of his receptions going for first downs (tied for first on the team). He was also second in yards after the catch with 287.

The Giants selected Jalin Hyatt in the 3rd round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Much was expected of him after a stellar training camp, but he simply was not thrown to much as a rookie despite playing in all 17 games with seven starts. Hyatt finished the season with 23 catches for 373 yards. He had no scores despite leading the team with 16.2 yards per reception.

After proving to be a productive and reliable late-season addition in 2022, Isaiah Hodgins did not have the type of season expected of him in 2023. Hodgins played in all 17 games with nine starts, but he finished the season with just 21 catches for 230 yards and three scores.

The Giants signed Parris Campbell as an unrestricted free agent from the Indianapolis Colts in March 2023. After a solid training camp, Campbell did not deliver the goods despite playing in the first 12 games with three starts. Wan’Dale Robinson took his slot position and Campbell ended up being declared inactive by the team for the last five games. Campbell finished with just 20 catches for 104 yards (5.2 yards per catch).

The Giants made an odd decision to retain Sterling Shepard on the roster in 2023, especially given the fact the little-used receiver had no special teams value. While he played in 15 games with two starts, Shepard only received 15 percent of the offensive snaps. He finished the season with an embarrassing 10 catches for 57 yards with three dropped passes (the highest drop rate for a receiver on the team).

The Giants signed Gunner Olszewski to the Practice Squad and then 53-man roster in late October 2023 in order to bolster the punt return unit. Though considered more a returner than actual receiver, Olszewski did receive a handful of offensive snaps with no catches. He returned 23 punts, averaging 11.9 yards per return, and scored on a 94-yard punt return.

The Giants signed Dennis Houston to the Practice Squad in late August 2023. Undrafted rookie free agent Bryce Ford-Wheaton was placed on Injured Reserve in late August 2023 with a torn ACL that he suffered in the preseason finale.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: It appears the Giants had no interest in retaining Sterling Shepard or Parris Campbell and both departed in free agency, with Shepard signing with the Buccaneers and Campbell with the Eagles. Hodgins, Olszewski, and Houston were re-signed. The huge addition was the drafting of Malik Nabers with the 6th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The team also signed veteran free agents Isaiah McKenzie, Miles Boykin, Allen Robinson, and Chase Cota as well as rookie free agents Ayir Asante and John Jiles.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: All eyes will be on Malik Nabers, especially given the decision to pass on J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix, and Bo Nix in the first round, or even trading back for additional picks. It is hoped and expected that Nabers will become a special player, one who opposing defenses will have to worry about and game plan for.

There are also raised expectations for Wan’Dale Robinson in his third year and Jalin Hyatt in his second year. Nabers, Robinson, Hyatt, and Slayton give New York one of the faster and younger receiving corps in the NFL.

ON THE BUBBLE: Barring injury, the locks are Nabers, Robinson, Hyatt, and Slayton. The Giants could carry anywhere from five to seven wide receivers. Last season the team decided to retain Shepard over a special teams player and got burned until they signed Olszewski in late October. Given that the team has re-signed Olszewski and signed special teamers Boykin and McKenzie, it is likely they won’t make that same mistake again. But the dilemma will be how many special teamers versus younger, promising pass catchers? Overall, there are currently 13 receivers on the 91-man roster, and nine of them are on the bubble. (Chad Cota was placed on IR with a broken collarbone he suffered during the mini-camp).

FROM THE COACHES: Brian Daboll on Wan’Dale Robinson: “He’s a good football player. We ask him to do a lot of things. I think he’s got really good quickness, good speed, a very dependable player for us. For the quarterbacks, they know where he’s going to be most of the time. He runs a variety of routes. Not just always inside, we’ve moved him outside too as well. Smart. Very, very smart. Does a good job in that room. He was injured and is still a young player, and he’s been very good for Malik and I would say Hyatt too with his communication process. We call a formation, he needs to bring a guy over, he knows really what all five players, including the running back, is supposed to do. He’s progressed well. He’s had a good camp.”

Brian Daboll on Jalin Hyatt: “There’s a lot to learn as a rookie, so he was trying to pick up how we do things here, the playbook. I would say this offseason in terms of breaking the huddle, getting aligned, knowing what to do, I think he’s made a tremendous improvement in that area. You can tell he’s been in the system for a year. He’s playing with some confidence in terms of the pre-snap stuff which allows him to play faster post-snap. So he’s done a good job. He’s improved from year one to year two. He’s really done a good job here I would say in these OTAs of improving each day. Pleased with where he is at.”

Brian Daboll on Malik Nabers: “Obviously we thought he was a good player where we selected him. He’s got a lot to learn. Has a long way to go here. He has to learn multiple positions. He is making strides every day and we’ll try to get him ready to go for training camp.”

Mike Kafka on the wide receiver group: “As a room, they’ve worked really well together and they are continuing to grow together. Got some really young guys who are really energetic and taking that leadership role. I think you’re seeing a guy like Wan’Dale, Slayton, guys that have been playing for football for us, Isaiah Hodgins. Those guys that played a lot for this group, you’re seeing them take that leadership role.”

Mike Kafka on Malik Nabers: “He has a great work ethic. That’s something we saw in college and something we studied and watched.”

Wide Receivers Coach Mike Groh on Malik Nabers: “Just like every rookie, there is a lot to learn. He’s doing a great job of not only being a pro when he’s in the building, but taking the stuff we give him to study every night so he’s prepared the next day to do what we ask him to do. Just very pleased with his progress up to this point… He’s got all of the tools. He’s got the ability to win in the short game, intermediate game, and long. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands. Can play inside and outside. We’re excited about the things we will be able to do with him in combination with the guys that we have.”

Mike Groh on Jalin Hyatt: “His growth, a year removed when he first got here, is tremendous. All of the work he put in, invested in, in his game, learning the how and why, he’s just a different guy. He’s gotten stronger here in the offseason. Still has the speed we love about him. He’s proud of the work he put in. He’s not afraid to work. He wants to be a great player. He invested that time in the offseason when nobody is looking.”

Mike Groh on Wan’Dale Robinson: “He certainly looks healthy out here. Looks like the guy we thought he could be. Has shown some signs of being a guy who can really impact games. He’s got really good short-area quickness, lower-body strength, and courage to work the middle of the field.”

Mike Groh on Darius Slayton: “Over the course of his career, he’s always found a way to fit in. He’s very valuable from that standpoint, knowing what to do, how to do it, why we’re doing it a certain ways. He’s a very smart player. He’s got a good connection with the quarterbacks that we’ve played with, particularly Daniel. He shows up in games. The ball finds him. He makes plays. He’s sneaky long. He can get behind defenders, create explosive plays down the field in vertical passing game.”

(Side note: Since they arrived in 2022, Daboll and Groh don’t tend to publicly praise players to the degree they did above, especially in the spring).

FINAL THOUGHTS: Wide receiver may be the most transformed unit on this roster since the arrival of Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. Only Darius Slayton remains from before 2022 as the team has invested 2nd (Wan’Dale Robinson), 3rd (Jalin Hyatt), and 1st (Malik Nabers) round picks in consecutive years. It’s a fast, quick, and young group with a huge upside.

There are those who argue that wide receivers don’t matter if you have issues at quarterback. While there is some merit in that statement, it’s not really true. Surrounding talent can make a good quarterback look great, and an average quarterback look good. Eli Manning’s life was made a lot easier in 2007 with Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, and Steve Smith, as well as in 2011 with Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham. By far, this is the most talented group of receivers Daniel Jones has ever had at any level.

By themselves, Robinson and Hyatt appear primed for breakout seasons. The addition of Malik Nabers will only accelerate that process. Barring injury, he should become the straw that stirs the drink, a force multiplier that makes everyone around him better. Teams that double-team Nabers will have to leave Hyatt and Robinson in one-on-one coverage. That’s dangerous. All four of the team’s top receiver can turn a 5-yard pass into an 80-yard touchdown.

There will be a real dogfight for the last two (maybe three) spots on the 53-man roster. The options at punt returner appear to be Gunner Olszewski (who doesn’t offer much as a receiver), Isaiah McKenzie (player who Daboll is familiar with who can serve a variety of roles), and Ayir Asante (not a punt returner in college but was doing so this spring for the Giants). Miles Boykin was a stud gunner for the Steelers. The Giants could also use more size at the position, which would help the cause of Isaiah Hodgins, Allen Robinson, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, and John Jiles.

One sleeper to keep an eye on is Asante. Very quietly, he was repeatedly mentioned by team insiders and reporters all spring. If that continues into the summer, Asante could press for.a roster spot. Another under-the-radar guy who made some plays was Ford-Wheaton. I personally would not discount Isaiah Hodgins and Allen Robinson, who are probably in direct competition with each other. In actuality, the 5th and 6th receivers are almost impossible to predict right now.

One final note. The Giants-Nabers connection was obvious once the draft order was determined. Many became distracted by other shiny objects such as the second tier of quarterbacks and Rome Odunze. The Giants may have welcomed and encouraged this. It will be interesting to look back at these discussions in a few years.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Malik Nabers, Wan’Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt, Darius Slayton, Isaiah McKenzie (punt returner, gadget player, back-up slot receiver), Miles Boykin (gunner)