EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants began the season believing they'd have one of the best receiving corps in football.
On Sunday night in Denver they might unveil the worst.
At the very least, the new-look Giants receiving corps would be the least-known and least-heralded in the NFL, after they were hit with a series of major injuries on Sunday afternoon. In one game, the Giants lost Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle), Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Dwayne Harris (foot) for the season. They also lost Sterling Shepard (sprained ankle) too.
That means the Giants are likely to face the Broncos and their top-ranked defense with Roger Lewis and Tavarres King in their starting lineup, and Travis Rudolph and Ed Eagan backing them up.
Who? Exactly. And good question. Here's a look at the Giants' new Fab Four:
The undrafted receiver out of Bowling Green could be the Giants' new No. 1 receiver, at least until Shepard returns. The Giants have always felt he has big-play capability, but so far that hasn't really materialized (though he did have a terrific, 30-yard touchdown catch last Sunday). His snaps have been limited so he has only 15 catches for 199 yards and three touchdowns in 18 career games. He's also been plagued by drops at times. And off the field, his judgement hasn't always been sound either. He was arrested for DUI this summer (the charge was later dropped) and he was part of the Giants receiver's infamous party-boat trip to Miami before the playoffs last year.
He became a fan favorite late last season, first with a 44-yard catch in the season finale at Washington, and then with a 3-catch, 73-yard performance in the playoff loss at Green Bay that included a 41-yard touchdown grab. Never mind that in four NFL seasons with five different teams he had four catches for 63 yards. Fans loved him anyway, and there was some outrage when he was cut in September after being hobbled most of the summer with an ankle injury. Since no one picked him up, the Giants re-signed him this week.
He was a huge hit over the summer, mostly due to his character and back story. Rudolph was the Florida State player who became famous by befriending an autistic boy who was sitting alone in a cafeteria. His story also took a tragic turn when his father was killed in an accidental shooting days before the NFL draft. Rudolph signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent and he caught nine passes for 157 yards in four preseason games. It was enough to impress the coaching staff which added him to the practice squad before promoting him this week.
An undrafted receiver out of Northwestern (La.) State in 2016, the 5-11 slot receiver/returner spent time in the Cowboys and Browns camps last summer before landing on the Buffalo Bills practice squad. He joined the Giants in mid-August, ironically, when injuries to Beckham and Marshall left the Giants shorthanded at receiver and ended up sticking on their practice squad even though he caught just one 19-yard pass in his three preseason games. His claim to fame is that he grew up in New Orleans where he was a childhood friend of … Odell Beckham.