Darius Slayton is a Hidden Dynasty Gem

Johnny Kinsley

The Giants’ season is once again looking bleak as they enter their bye week with a record of 2-8. Not much optimism was expected for the Big Blue as this season was more about figuring out who quarterback Daniel Jones can become, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

The team traded superstar wideout Odell Beckham Jr to the Cleveland Browns in the off-season, and the addition of Golden Tate – while a talented receiver – gave the Giants two slot options in Tate and Sterling Shepard when they desperately needed another wideout capable of stretching the field. So it looked as if no one would step up for the Giants and establish themselves.

Enter Darius Slayton. The fifth-round rookie out of Auburn has been a hidden gem for the Giants, establishing himself as a potential star in the making with authority. In week ten, Slayton torched the Jets, catching ten passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns in a tightly contested 34-27 defeat. On the season, he has 27 catches for 394 yards and five touchdowns, an impressive achievement for an under-the-radar rookie who didn’t even play in the first two games of the season!

But outside of the flashy stats he displayed against the Jets, you might be wondering if Slayton is here to stay or the product of a poor AFC matchup. Well fear not, because as it turns out, Slayton has an exciting skill set that should make him end up as one of the best receivers from the 2019 draft class.

So what is there to like about this fifth-round rookie? Let’s take a look and see why he just might be worth a dynasty investment.

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Right off the bat (or snap) let’s look at this impressive touchdown Slayton had against Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes in week five.

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Slayton acts as if he’s going to run a slant route then cuts back outside, performing a wipe move that schools Rhodes. And thankfully for Slayton, Daniel Jones lays this in beautifully on the deep connection for the touchdown.

Just for fun let’s look at the replay angle, which offers an even better view of the route.

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Rhodes isn’t exactly the best corner in the league, but he’s also far from the worst, so doing this against a player against his caliber is extremely noteworthy for a rookie.

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On this play, Slayton is back again against the Vikings, this time against rookie corner Kris Boyd on a third and long.

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Once again this is an excellent route from the rookie. Notice how his head fake gets to Boyd, and he uses an aesthetically pleasing wiggle move to bait the rookie corner. This gives him easy outside leverage, to which Jones is able to connect with him towards the sideline to keep this drive alive for the Giants.

Slayton’s impressive head fake and ability to create separation continued on a few plays against the Patriots, most notably on this play.

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That’s JC Jackson that Slayton is going against. The combination of the head fake, speed, and wipe move Slayton uses against Jackson should, in theory, give Jones an easy enough throw to make, but unfortunately, the rookie quarterback air mails this for an incompletion out of bounds. Nevertheless, Slayton was able to do this against a defense as coveted as the 2019 Patriots version, so this is still nothing to lower his head on.

If there is an issue I have with Slayton thus far in his rookie season, it’s that he does tend to drop too many passes.

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Lost in this drop is a great out route from Slayton, where he makes a nasty tight cut outside on his route break, guaranteeing what should be a first down. But Slayton’s hands can’t cradle the ball and the pass sails through his hands on a wasted opportunity.

Still, I can forgive Slayton for his drop problems because of what he does to offset them. Let’s take a look at one more example.

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Here, Slayton is going up against Jets corner Nate Hairston. He heads outside and then makes a wonderful sharp break inside for the slant route, dragging his left foot and leaving Hairston helpless as he breaks free. No one else can catch Slayton and he takes this to the house for the score.

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It’s rare for fifth rounders to play of this quality. Guys like Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill showcased high levels of quality in their rookie seasons, and Darius Slayton is presenting a similar caliber of play. The drops can get fixed, and he has looked very impressive against man and press coverage. In time Slayton could be a WR1 for the Giants, though even if he doesn’t, he can still become a really good WR2.

All in all, I’m floored by Slayton’s tape. The Giants have found a gem in this playmaker, and he can only get better and more experienced from here on out.

johnny kinsley