When the New York Giants drafted wide receiver Ramses Barden in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft they were hoping they had found the eventual replacement for Plaxico Burress. Barden, who attended Cal Poly, is a big man at 6-6, 225 lbs. but so far has struggled to find his niche in the NFL. Injuries and an inability to perform have hampered Barden in his young NFL career. However, Barden has a chance to finally show the Giants what he can bring to the table and has impressed Coach Tom Coughlin during OTA’s and mini-camp.
Coughlin recently went on SiriusXM and had nothing but praise for Barden. “I think he’s figured it out and that’s a good first step,” Coughlin said. “He’s had some really good days in practice and done a really good job. I really do think that he’s right there. He’s got to do it with consistency. There can’t be any shortcomings. You’re a big receiver. You must excel in the green zone, as a blocker. I do feel good about where he is. I really feel good that he feels good about where he is.”
Barden made two sliding catches on passes from backup quarterback David Carr on Tuesday during two-minute drills. The Giants want Barden to be a target along the sidelines and in the red (or green) zone in those types of situations, allowing his size to win the battle. Running good routes and catching the ball, two things that have plagued Barden from time to time, are essential in those situations.
Although Hakeem Nicks expects to be back in time for the start of the season, his injury opens the door for receivers like Barden to get more playing time in camp and in some of the preseason games. Barden, who is entering the final year of his contract, will need to make an impression this year if he hopes to stay in the NFL. As Coach Coughlin said, Barden just needs to be consistent. If he can do that he might just vindicate GM Jerry Reese for moving up six spots in the third round to draft him while adding another weapon in an already stacked New York Giants arsenal.