New York Giants first round pick Hakeem Nicks walked into the perfect situation for a young player. He joined a solid, professional franchise who many thought could challenge for a Super Bowl, yet was void of elite talent at the wide receiver position.
They have endless options of players who could contribute:
- Dominick Hixon
- Steve Smith
- Mario Manningham
- Sinorice Moss
Even David Tyree and fellow 2009 draft pick Ramses Barden are in the mix. Yet, through three weeks of preseason action, it is only Nicks who has stepped up and made an impression.
Obviously, you have to take into account that the majority of his work has come against second and third string defenses, but still his numbers against the Jets had to open eyes. He had 6 catches for 144 yards and 2 TD, making him the only Giant receiver to have over 100 yards for the entire preseason (and he is now at 208). He is also the only Giants receiver to have 2 TD (the rest of the receivers have just 2 TD between them).
Normally, when a player has this type of performance, you consider that he’s going to grab the #3 or 4 receiver job, since he wasn’t doing it against the top competition. Not this time. With the other WR seemingly coming up empty, letting big plays slip through their fingers (literally), Nicks performance could have wide ranging effects.
I’d look for him to get some reps with Eli Manning and the first string offense in next week’s final preseason game. While he may not be dubbed a starter to open the season, the idea of him reaching that level by Week 3 or 4 are heavily increasing.
The past few seasons the Giants have been a franchise who gets the most out of their draft picks, so to see Nicks make a major impact sooner rather than later should not come as a surprise. When I did my Top 5 Rookie WR (click here for the post), Nicks was buried at the #5 spot on the list. That has changed dramatically now.
Michael Crabtree is still holding out, which would cause him to plummet down the list. He doesn’t know the offense yet, so how could we expect him to make an impact in the first few weeks if he ever does sign?
Brian Robiskie, who was thought to be in an enviable position, has reportedly slipped a bit. He is still a sleeper and is worth stashing, but I would slip him beneath Nicks at this point. Nicks has the potential to make a bigger, more immediate impact.
That makes Nicks, at worst, the #3 rookie WR on the list, with Jeremy Maclin & Percy Harvin competing with him. I’d probably rank Nicks at #3 currently, but you could easily interchange those three as they all have the potential to make an impact.
If Nicks is available and you are in need of some depth at the WR position, I wouldn’t hesitate to snatch him up now and stash him away. By the time you need him as a bye week replacement, he could have emerged as a solid option in all formats. That certainly makes him worth the sleeper selection, doesn’t it?
What are your thoughts on Nicks? How good could he be this season?
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