With all of the speculation on will they or won’t they re-up with wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, the New York Giants really have themselves quite a predicament. Quarterback Eli Manning needs someone to throw the ball to with all of the drama surrounding the contract situations of his top two pass catchers. How about Jerrel Jernigan?
To say that Jernigan has been an enigma to this point in his career would be putting it kindly. The more appropriate term for his involvement in the offense during his first two seasons would probably be non-existent. With just three catches for 22 yards (all of which came last season), there isn’t much that instills confidence in the former third round pick out of Troy.
At OTAs, Jernigan looked solid in the absence of protesting no-shows Nicks and Cruz, but he was forced to head to the sidelines with a hamstring issue that truncated his already short-lived success. At 5’8” 189lbs. it certainly isn’t his size that keeps him on an NFL roster, but Jernigan is an explosive athlete with the moves to take it the distance whenever he gets his hands on the ball in open space.
This really is a make-or-break season for him with Big Blue as the team brought in Louis Murphy in March and re-signed Ramses Barden in May for depth purposes. That suggests that Jernigan may actually have difficulty keeping a roster spot if he fails to impress during camp with an open competition taking place between these three guys. With Rueben Randle already ahead of them on the depth chart, it may just be a matter of time before Jernigan finds himself without an NFL team to call his own.
There is still hope for Jernigan to find his way back into favor with the G-men, but his chances look slim for seeing his role increase much in the year ahead. Coming from a small school masked the limitations in Jernigan’s skill-set, but they are truly being exposed now in the NFL. Without a strong showing in camp he could easily be a casualty when the rosters begin to get trimmed down across the league.