The rebuild continues and while it hasn’t been the best of starts for the New York Giants, there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic when it comes to individual player performances.
Results haven’t perhaps gone their way as much as the level of effort has deserved, which means that realistically, reaching the playoffs this year will be out of reach. However, solid performances from key players are a positive indication that in years to come, this Giants outfit will get stronger and will produce winning seasons.
While results in the first half of the 2020 NFL regular season haven’t been great, these are the Giants players who have risen to the challenge, shining in spite of the adversity their team has faced.
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As the sixth pick overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants landed themselves a hugely promising quarterback, ready to step into the shoes of Eli Manning during his final season with the franchise. The youngster didn’t disappoint and took to the pressures of playing in the NFL like a duck to water.
Jones also became instantly more important than initially expected, with Manning only managing to play in four games of his final campaign. Nevertheless, the former Duke University star adapted quickly and performed admirably during his 13 games and 12 starts. Jones also posted impressive passing numbers, throwing 24 touchdowns and 3,027 yards, plus 284 completed passes from 459 attempts.
— The Game Day NFL (@TheGameDayNFL) November 3, 2020
Having demonstrated a level of maturity beyond his years, not to mention showcasing obvious talents during his NFL debut season, 23-year-old Jones was selected by the Giants as one of their team captains for the 2020 NFL campaign. Even though the team has endured more defeats than wins this year, Jones has been a guiding light that continues to shine.
In just his second season with the team, Jones has already made his mark in the record books. In Week 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles, he ran an incredible 80 yards in a single play, setting a new record for the longest quarterback run in Giants quarterback history. Amongst the top ten quarterbacks in the league for performance metrics this year, Jones is undoubtedly one to watch in the NFL betting lines, when looking to back individual players in games.
When you have a talented quarterback launching the ball with missile precision during games, it goes without saying, you also need quality and reliability on the other end of those passes. Darius Slayton is precisely the player the Giants would hoping he would become, despite the young wide receiver appearing way down the pecking order in the 2019 NFL Draft, 171st pick overall and selected in the fifth round.
However, sometimes the players picked late in the draft can be diamonds in the rough, who just need a little more polish before they truly begin to shine. That said, and just like Jones, the former Aubern University man found himself thrown in at the deep end, with Slayton making 14 appearances during his debut season for the Giants in 2019.
Picture perfect throw by Daniel Jones as he connects with Darius Slayton for a 41-yard TD.
The Jones-Slayton duo was fantastic last season and they’ve connected once again to start this year.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 14, 2020
Impressive performances and healthy numbers last season quickly indicated that Slayton was a keeper. This year the 23-year-old continues his NFL education looking to continue improving, keen to make himself a key part of what could be a brighter future for the Giants, eager improve on his number year on year. With 33 passes received in his first nine games of the 2020 campaign, he’s well on the way to beating the 48 received in 14 games last year.
Indeed, it’s fair to say that Slayton was arguably miscast and underutilized through his college days, which probably let to him being vastly underrated ahead of the 2019 draft. The Giants have made excellent use of his phenomenal natural athletic prowess, working hard to hone his technical abilities. Giants’ wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert deserves a huge amount of credit here, because thanks to his coaching talent, Slayton can become one of the best in the league.
Already amongst the best running backs in the NFL, Saquon Barkley is another 23-year-old crucial to the long-term future growth of the Giants. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL that ended his 2020 season prematurely in just the second game of the campaign. Hopefully, Barkley’s recovery and rehabilitation will go smoothly, given he will undoubtedly be a key player for years to come with the Giants.
No matter how the 2020 season concludes, the Giants do have a roster packed with talented young players, many of whom are under the age of 25 and boasting plenty of potential to keep improving. Although this campaign seems destined to end as the fourth consecutive season without reaching the playoffs, by the looks of the players and their tireless efforts, the next couple of seasons could well be filled with plenty of winning sensations.