Giants 2024 Position Breakdown: Malik Nabers brings new level of explosion to wide receivers group

Heading into the 2024 season, the Giants are coming off a disappointing 6-11 season, looking to bounce back into the team that won a playoff game in Minnesota two years ago.

In this series, we’ll break down the depth chart for every position group. This time, we’ll go in-depth at the wide receiver position…

Projected depth chart

Starters: Malik Nabers, Darius Slayton, Wan'Dale Robinson (slot)

Backups: Jalin Hyatt, Isaiah Hodgins, Allen Robinson, Isaiah McKenzie, Gunner Olszewski, MIles Boykin, Bryce Ford-Wheaton

Key additions/losses: Drafted Nabers in the first round, signed Robinson, Parris Campbell signed with Eagles

Top Performer in 2023: Slayton, who had 50 catches for 770 yards and four touchdowns

What Giants’ receivers have going for them

Since Odell Beckham Jr.'s departure following the 2018 season, the Giants haven't had a true No. 1 receiver. That's a term that gets thrown around a lot as to what it actually means, but you know one when you see one.

Over the last five seasons, Slayton led the team in receiving yards four times, and the ultra-disappointing Kenny Golladay led the team once. While Slayton is a quality player who has had a nice career with the Giants, he's not a true No. 1 receiver and he really shouldn't be any team's leader in yards.

The good news for the Giants is that shouldn't be the case in 2024.

Enter Nabers, an absolute athletic specimen at 6-foot, 200 pounds. The Giants stayed put at No. 6 in the draft and grabbed Nabers (from the same school as Beckham), who should be the club's top receiver from Day One of training camp.

The potential starting group of Nabers, Slayton and Wan'Dale Robinson may not be Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, and Steve Smith just yet, but the group has potential to put up outstanding numbers as they should all complement one another's skills on the field.

Key concern for 2024: Will running game keep teams honest?

When Daniel Jones and the Giants offense takes the field in 2024, there will be no Saquon Barkley in the backfield. Sure, Barkley has had his injury issues, but there's no denying that teams often had to have an extra man or two in the box at all times to try to prevent Barkley from breaking loose on one of his patented big runs.

Devin Singletary is the Giants' new No. 1 back, and while he's had a decent career to this point, he's not the same explosive runner that Barkley is. So the question becomes whether or not the Giants will be able to run the ball effectively enough to keep opposing defenses honest. If they can't and the offense becomes one dimensional, then teams will deploy coverage-heavy looks to try to slow down the passing game.

As good as this receiving group is, it won't matter much if the Giants can't establish something of a running attack to balance things out.

Player who must step up in 2024: Hyatt

The Giants drafted Hyatt in the third round of last year's draft to be the stretch-the-field receiver he was at Tennessee. And while he showed flashes of that, averaging 16.2 yards per reception as a rookie, he only had 23 total catches and never found the end zone.

In a perfect world, the Giants would probably like to see Hyatt ascend into a starting caliber-player, where he could potentially replace Slayton in the starting lineup at some point in the future.

Biggest camp battle: Hyatt vs. Slayton

Slayton is the established veteran of the group at 27, and he's broken the 700-yard mark four times in five seasons. But as Hyatt enters his age-23 season, he has a chance to be an even better deep-ball threat than Slayton has been. So as camp starts, it will be worth watching to see if Hyatt can break into the starting group.

Overall 2024 outlook

On paper, this is the best the Giants receivers depth chart has looked in years. They have a young, do-it-all playmaker in Nabers, who could quickly ascend to stardom. They have a proven veteran in Slayton and a budding youngster with potential in Hyatt who can both stretch the field, and they have a shifty slot receiver in Robinson who is terrific with the ball in his hands.

Health is obviously a huge factor, and so is the offensive line's ability to protect Jones. If Jones doesn't have time to throw, then it doesn't really matter how talented his receivers are.

But if you're a Giants fan, you're probably champing at the bit to see this group take the field in what could be the next great trio of Giants wideouts.