Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks offer advice to Giants rookie Malik Nabers

The New York Giants haven’t fielded a game-changing wide receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. last wore the blue but that will change in 2024 following the addition of rookie Malik Nabers.

The 20-year-old Nabers, who is as confident as they come, will be immediately thrust into a major role under the brightest lights in all of football.

New York is now his oyster.

But playing in The Big Apple comes with added pressure. Some athletes are cut out for it while many others are not. The truth is, success or failure in New York hinges upon much more than just production on the field.

Every move Nabers makes will be dissected under a microscope. He’ll be recognized in public, cameras will be everywhere, and fans will break down every move he makes and every word he says.

There are a few who know what Nabers is about to endure, including Paterson native Victor Cruz, who used New York to become a household name both on and off the gridiron.

“I walked into a restaurant in Summit, New Jersey, the other day and a couple guys in the back corner, they start yelling, ‘Cruuuz,'” Cruz told Art Stapleton of “That’s going to be with me forever. It’s all that comes with playing in this town, playing at a high level and helping bring home that Lombardi. That sets players apart, brings a different aura to guys who have won that championship.

“That’s what is out there for Malik Nabers to achieve as a Giant. It’s all there to make his own legacy and be the next great one. I think he has all the tools, man, to be great.”

There will be highs and there will be lows. The highs will be very high and the lows will be very low. That’s why, retired wide receiver Hakeem Nicks says, Nabers must avoid riding the wave.

“Don’t jump on the wave. That’s my advice,” Nicks said. “Don’t jump on the wave. Because when you ride it when it’s up, you better be able to take it when it goes down. Just play the game of football, just do what you do and what got you to this point.”

Cruz believes Nabers has a personality capable of surviving under the relentless spotlight.

“It’s tough to play in this city, man, I’m not going to lie,” Cruz said. “But just hearing him speak and seeing a little bit of his personality, I think he’s ready for it. Even though he’s a first round pick, I think he has to treat it like he’s an undrafted free agent. If he treats every single day like a learning tool, it’s going to work out to his benefit.

“If he tries to come out and attack the world, put everything on his shoulders and be the best player out there every day, it’ll get heavy for him and it’ll weigh on him. He’s so talented, that time will come. For right now, he’s going to make mistakes. He’s got to learn from them. Be a guy who thinks, ‘What am I going to achieve today to get better?’ With that mindset, it’ll go a long way to him getting to where I believe he can be.”

The Giants — and especially quarterback Daniel Jones — hope the mistakes will be limited and that Nabers handles himself accordingly while carving out his own legacy on the field.

Story originally appeared on Giants Wire