New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz suffered a concussion and a sprained knee in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He left the game and did not return. In his absence, Jerrel Jernigan filled the void, catching seven passes for 67 yards, both of which were game-highs for the Giants.
Cruz has not practiced yet this week and his status for Sunday’s matchup with the Detroit Lions is uncertain. If Cruz is unable to go, Jernigan will be handed a golden opportunity to show the Giants coaching staff what he can do.
This is Jernigan’s third year in the NFL, as New York drafted him out of Troy in the third round of the 2011 draft. The Giants had high hopes that Jernigan would be able to transfer the electric skill-set he showed off in college to the NFL.
At Troy, Jernigan was a highlight reel waiting to happen, especially on special teams. However, his career in the league to this point has been decidedly tranquil. Jernigan caught only three passes over his first two years in the league and has since been replaced on special teams. This season, in limited action, Jernigan has caught 17 passes for 159 yards and he no longer returns punts. The only reason he is returning kickoffs is due to the injury to David Wilson.
With Cruz possibly out, Jernigan needs to flourish in the limited time left this season. He has a chance to show off his big-play ability and make some big catches lined up on the outside. Both Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle have had pretty quiet seasons, and Jernigan can make his case for next year with a successful audition during these last two weeks.