With one preseason game remaining on the docket, the New York Giants have a collection of receivers vying for limited space.
While Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon, Rueben Randle and Ramses Barden are likely locks to make the roster, the Giants’ Super Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots will be the last opportunity for guys like Jerrel Jernigan and David Douglas to prove their worth. The assumption, of course, is that Jernigan has the edge, if only because the Giants spent a third-rounder on him in the 2011 NFL draft.
However, Douglas has shown flashes of brilliance throughout training camp and showcased promising skills in the return game as well, which should render any advantage Jernigan may have had in that department useless. He has garnered quite a bit of attention for his spectacular play in practice, earning raving reviews from his coaches and teammates.
But Jernigan has so much unfulfilled promise. He has seen very limited opportunities at receiver, and what was once thought to be his—the Giants’ lead returner—has been stripped from him due to fumblitis.
The two have much to offer the Giants. Jernigan has his bursting potential, blitzing speed and a smaller stature fit for an Wes Welker-like slot receiver currently unmatched on the roster. Douglas, meanwhile, boasts the same type of intrigue 2011 hero Victor Cruz displayed during the 2010 preseason.
Perhaps, that’s the difference maker between these two men in their battle for what is likely the last open spot in the Giants’ receiving corps. Douglas provides enough intrigue to earn a place on the Giants’ practice squad with an immediate call to arms when the need be, while Jernigan deserves another opportunity to prove he can be of any value to the team in 2012.
Of course, such a decision could run the risk of losing Douglas—a possibility the Giants may not be willing to deal with. Douglas is a blossoming, young talent that has likely caught the eye of other teams around the NFL. Should they choose to waive him in favor of Jernigan, another team could pick him up before he clears and lands on their practice squad.
These are the types of things NFL teams are faced with when it comes time to make cuts and piece together a roster. Sometimes, you never know what you may be losing when you choose to hold on to a player that has not been overwhelmingly impressive to date.
At the same time, it is fair to assume both of these men would prefer to suit up as Giants this season. If they wish to ensure their place on the roster, a stellar performance against the Patriots should solidify that wish.