The New York Giants exceeded everyone’s expectations this season by going 9-7-1 and upsetting the Minnesota Vikings in the Wildcard Round 31-24.
If New York wants to become a perennial contender, though, it must upgrade the receiver position. It was clear to anyone that watch the team this season, that there was a huge void in not having a true number-one receiver. While Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka did an excellent job maximizing what they had, receivers often couldn’t separate from tight coverage.
With several receivers such as Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Richie James, Isaiah Hodgins, and Marcus Johnson all free agents, general manager Joe Schoen must figure out how to upgrade the position and add depth.
Schoen will certainly look to acquire at least one receiver in the draft and could possibly make a trade for a receiver. However, free-agent options could also help solve the Giants’ woes.
Albeit this free agency class is amongst the weakest in recent history, they’re a number of players that would make New York’s passing game more dynamic in 2023. While this crop of free-agent receivers is thinner than usual years, there are a few intriguing options for the Giants.
Selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 56th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Mecole Hardman hauled in 151 receptions for 2,088 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. He immediately made big plays as a rookie, averaging 20.7 yards per catch with six touchdowns. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to eight appearances in 2022.
There are two reasons why Hardman would be an ideal fit for Big Blue. One is his blazing speed as he ran 4.33 at the NFL combine and a 4.22 at the Quicker Pick race. He is also familiar with Kafka, who coached in Kansas City before becoming the Giants’ offensive coordinator.
Not only can Hardman be a deep threat that Daniel Jones desperately needs, but he can also contribute on special teams as he has 62 career punt returns, and 39 career kickoff returns. Entering his age-25 season, a change of scenery and a bigger role could maximize his talent.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. met with the Giants late last season, but a reunion never came to fruition. Perhaps this was due to him not being fully healed from his second ACL surgery or the Giants brass felt it was too late in the season for him to get acclimated with the offense.
If both sides are open to a reunion, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t take place. New York has been looking for an explosive receiver ever since they traded Beckham following the 2018 season. Although he may not be who he once was, he showed he can make plays when it matters most in 2021 when he helped the Los Angeles Rams win a Super Bowl.
He supported the Giants on Twitter throughout their playoff run and stated he has unfinished business, which leaves people to speculate that a reunion could imminent.