It’s been a wild ride for New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton this season.
During the offseason, he was the subject of trade rumors and when those fell through, expectations were that he’d be released. But due to injuries, the Giants needed all the healthy bodies they could get and Slayton was forced to take a pay cut.
It was a sour moment for the 2019 fifth-round pick, but he kept his head up and remained professional.
Things got no better as the season kicked off. Slayton was inactive in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans and saw just two targets through the first four weeks — both coming against the Chicago Bears in Week 4.
But as injuries continued to mount, the Giants had no choice but to call Slayton’s number. And to his credit, he responded well. His production has picked up over the last four games and his 54-yard touchdown on Sunday helped the team secure a victory over the Houston Texans.
“Well, when you’re fast like me, and you tell everybody you’re fast, it goes through your mind like, ‘I can’t get caught.’ For me, I was just trying to get into the endzone,” Slayton joked after the game.
“It’s been a journey. I just try to take every day one day at a time, do my best and make plays when they come my way. That’s gotten me here, and I hope it will keep serving me well.”
Slayton’s professionalism and work ethic has helped endear him to the new coaching staff. His recent production doesn’t hurt, either.
“He’s had to earn it, and he’s had to fight through some tough times, I’d say, earning it. But he’s done a really good job for us, call it, these last — I don’t know — however many games of performing when his number’s called. And that’s the type of guys we want,” head coach Brian Daboll said.
For quarterback Daniel Jones, one of Slayton’s draft mates, none of this comes as a surprise. They’ve always had a solid connection and DJ has never been shy about expressing his faith in Slayton.
“Heck of a play by him,” Jones said of Slayton’s touchdown. “Great job by him losing the guy on the route and then he did the rest.”
Slayton is arguably the Giants’ best wide receiver at the moment, using his speed to stretch the field and create separation. He’s a security blanket for Jones and really the only big-play threat the Giants have at the position. Expect him to be targeted even more over the second half of the season.