When NFL teams prepare for the Draft each year, they all hope to find that Day 2 or even Day 3 talent that is a diamond in the rough. Having later-round talent make an impact is how good teams become great.
Fifth-round pick in WR Darius Slayton could turn into one of those players for the Giants.
Slayton came out of Auburn as a player scouts knew had the wheels (he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash), but needed some polishing when it came to route running and hauling the ball in without drops.
But you wouldn't think that was the case after his recent games.
Slayton is quickly becoming the deep threat that the Giants hoped he'd be for Daniel Jones, as he's made some great plays especially in the last contest against the Lions.
The 22-year-old is being trusted by Jones to simply go up and make a play on the ball. He did just that on his first touchdown catch when he stopped and turned on a dime, rose up and hauled in the pigskin, just to fall into the endzone.
His second score was even more impressive. Slayton's defender, Rashaan Melvin, was running step for step with him, but Jones still threw the ball up for the rookie to make a play. And he did just that with Melvin's hands all in his facemask.
Slayton was making plays just like these in the preseason as well. The first catch you see him make against Detroit was virtually the same play ran against the Bengals, where Jones took a hit in the pocket to throw a jump ball up for Slayton. That chemistry then from the summer has only built for the days and weeks.
Overall, Slayton has 16 catches on 27 targets with 267 yards and three touchdowns over six games so far this season. And he had to miss the first two due to a hamstring injury. The yards total is ninth among rookie receivers, and he's tied third among rookies in catches of 20 yards or more with six.
It hasn't been the largest sample size for Slayton, and surely there is room to improve. But the early returns -- the ones the Giants were expecting in the first place with the large gains on bombs down the field -- have helped the offense tremendously.
Players like Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard (when he's healthy) are more yards after the catch receivers than ones that will streak down the field for a deep ball. Evan Engram has the ability to do that out of the slot, but he falls more in the category of those receivers. Slayton, then, brings a different element for Jones to work with, which is why he has been used more in recent weeks.
If Slayton can keep up this type of production, he can become a staple in the Giants passing game, and fulfill that diamond in the rough title he received back on draft day.