This is the third installment in a nine-part series that will analyze the Giants' needs, position by position, in the upcoming draft.
Position: Wide receiver.
Depth chart: Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Jerrel Jernigan, Ramses Barden, Domenik Hixon, Isaiah Stanback and Dan DePalma.
Not under contract: Michael Clayton.
Scouting report: The Giants will have one of the best receiving duos in the league with Nicks and Cruz. However, Cruz should find things more difficult this season since defenses will be more focused on him. And the Giants will have to find a third threat now that Mario Manningham is gone. Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese are hoping that Jernigan and Barden will step up and fill the void. Eli Manning has shown the ability to help develop unproven receivers like Cruz.
For Barden, this is his big opportunity. Drafted in the third round in 2009, Barden has yet to fulfill his potential due to injuries and a lack of opportunities. In the few chances he has received, Barden has shown solid hands and he obviously has size. Jernigan has slot experience from college and should benefit from a full offseason of coaching and training with the team. Hixon will have a chance to compete for the third receiver spot as well but he is coming off his second consecutive torn ACL so the team will likely take it slowly with Hixon in camp like last season. Hixon had the first crack at the third receiver spot last season until he suffered his knee injury in the second game of the year, opening the door for Cruz.
The Last Time: The Giants last drafted a wide receiver last year when they took Jernigan out of Troy in the third round.
Potential targets: The Giants can use another receiver if for anything else for depth with the departures of Manningham and Devin Thomas. They also can use a returner to help a return game that struggled all season. It’s a good bet the Giants will stick to their best player available philosophy. But if the Giants were to go receiver in the first round, Baylor’s Kendall Wright and Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill might be possibilities if they slip to 32. Receiver may be more of an option later in the draft. Appalachian State’s Brian Quick has intriguing size at 6-3, 220 pounds. Michigan State’s Keshawn Martin is shifty and can make plays in space and as a returner. The Giants reportedly brought in Rutgers’ Mohamed Sanu and Fresno State’s Devon Wylie in for a look.
Need Rating (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being of highest importance): 7.