The New York Giants were in a quandary halfway through this season when it came to wide receivers. They had lost Sterling Shepard in Week 3 for the year with a torn ACL and were relying on Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney to lead the unit going forward.
As we know, that didn’t happen for various reasons and the group got even thinner. Darius Slayton and Richie James Jr. were elevated to the starting positions and a little-known third-year player named Isaiah Hodgins was claimed off waivers from Buffalo on November 2.
The plan has somehow worked. Slayton and James have played fairly well and Hodgins has played in seven games with four starts since then for the Giants.
Last week against Minnesota, Hodgins secured a career-high eight of 11 targets for 89 yards (an 11.1 average) and a touchdown. Five of his eight receptions in the game resulted in a first down and he had a career-long 29-yard catch in the second quarter.
In his seven games since being signed, Hodgins has gained 309 yards and scored three touchdowns on 29 receptions (a 10.7 average).
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Oregon State standout has been clutch as 19 of his receptions have resulted in a first down for a 65.5 first down percentage. He also has two catches of 25-plus yards.
Giants head coach Brian Daboll, who has a relationship with Hodgins going back the past few years in Buffalo, knows what he is getting in Hodgins and now we know, too.
“I think he’s smart, tough, dependable. He works extremely hard,” Daboll said this week. “In between periods, he’s usually throwing there with Daniel on a variety of routes, or they’re talking about things that we’ve installed and make sure that he sees it through the eyes of a quarterback. So, he’s done a good job for us since he’s been here.”
Slayton has also been complimentary of Hodgins.
“He’s been very consistent for us. He’s done a great job moving the sticks. He’s a little bit bigger-bodied of a guy. And he does a good job of making contested catches, making catches in the middle of the field — that type of deal,” Slayton said.
“But as he showed the other day, he hit (Vikings cornerback) Patrick Peterson with a double move, and he got down the field a little bit, too. Sometimes, he tends to maybe overthink his speed a little bit, but he can run. So, he’s been a good addition to our team and I’m glad to have him.”
The Giants have two more regular season games to continue to gel as an offense and perhaps will make it to the postseason. The legend of Hodgins is just beginning to grow, however. Good things are ahead.