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Know Your Enemy: Giants’ Darius Slayton gives reason for confidence in the future

New York may not be good for a long time, but they have some young pieces to build around

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I honestly can’t pick a spot on the New York Giants roster which I like more than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ own players. On paper, in every phase, this year’s Bucs team is head-and-shoulders above the Giants and it really isn’t even close.

Which really gives the Giants no reason to feel any pressure coming into tonight’s Monday Night Football match-up. All the pressure is on the Tampa Bay side of this as a loss will send into a spiral the team’s fanbase, national narrative, and will make Tuesday - next Sunday feel like an eternity in time.

So, let’s all hope we don’t have to experience such a reality. Instead, since I can’t find a player who really threatens this match-up on paper, I want to talk about one reason New York might have a glimmer of hope they can return to winning football in the near future.

Of course, this person is wide receiver Darius Slayton. If the Giants keep this game close, or - gasp - win it, then Slayton is going to play a big role. However, even if they don’t, Slayton is a big piece on this team. One the Giants need to build around, even if he never develops into a true number one wide receiver.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Auburn Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

If you don’t know Slayton, don’t sweat it much, because two of your favorite Buccaneers know him well. Playing four years with the Auburn Tigers of the SEC, Carlton Davis III and Jamel Dean are two of his teammates also playing in the NFL these days, and in this game as well.

In four years, Slayton collected 1,605-yards on 79 catches (20.3 ypc) and 11 touchdowns. His collegiate career was good enough to get him into the NFL as a fifth-round pick by the New York Giants in 2019, and since then has almost as many catches, yards, and has matched his collegiate career production in terms of touchdowns. And he hasn’t even finished his second season.

By the time this year ends, he should exceed his entire collegiate career statistically, and currently stands as the Giants’ most targeted (27) skill position player. Likewise, he leads the team in catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, despite the fact his catch percentage is under 60%.

The future of Daniel Jones in New York is in question by some, and many are wondering if Evan Engram is destined to play elsewhere as well. For the sake of the future of the Giants franchise though, they need to hold on to Slayton and continue to develop him individually and with whichever quarterback they commit to long-term.

Kind of feels like an Allen Robinson situation in the making to be honest. But if you’re looking for a layer to watch this weekend when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the New York Giants, make it Darius Slayton, and what the future might hold for this young and talented wide receiver.