Eli’s Best Receiving Corps Yet?
In his 13 seasons with the New York Giants Eli Manning has been through it all from being heavily criticized by the media and fan-base to being the toast of the town when winning two Super Bowls. Through the unique odyssey that has been Eli’s career Manning has had several receivers that have made an impact, from superstars that are on billboards to the old Jeremy Shockey whom some have forgotten was part of the Giants during Manning’s tenure. Entering the 2017 season, on paper, Eli has a lot of weapons at receiver and tight-end but how do they compare to the other Super Bowl winning wide receiver corps.
The headliner of the 2007 Giants wide receiving core was Plaxico Burress who joined the Giants via free agency in 2005. Burress had the ability to turn a bad throw into a great catch. Eli had a safety blanket as all Manning had to do was throw the ball in Burress’s vicinity and odds are Burress will make the play. The compliment to Burress was Amani Toomer who was nearing the end of his career in 2007 but still was able to contribute as the Giants number two receiver. The already mentioned Shockey was tight-end for Big Blue and was having a solid season until an injury ended Shockey’s season in week 14. Yet you play the game on the field because David Tyree would go unnoticed looking at the stat sheet but Tyree made one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history.
The wide receiving corps for the Giants was completely turned over except for Dominick Hixon by 2011 but the Giants had a new superstar in Victor Cruz. Cruz was the rags to riches story as someone who grew up in the shadows of Met Life stadium, signed as an undrafted free agent and hit the big time. Cruz took the league by storm and many feared the Salsa when playing the G-men at this time. The other member of Manning’s dynamic duo in 2011 was Hakeem Nicks who was the Giants first round pick in 2009 and had a stellar season. One critique the Giants had was they did not have a pass catching tight-end as Jake Ballard had 38 catches at tight end in 2011. And similar to 2007 a lesser known wide receiver, this time Mario Manningham, made a great catch that sparked the Giants game winning drive in the big game.
Fast forward to now. On paper, the Giants have a receiving corps that could be more dangerous than either of these groups. In 2017. The group could have a terrific trio in Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. There could be a high caliber pass catching tight end in rookie Evan Engram, which is a weapon Eli has not had for the duration of his career. While the 2017 season needs to unfold, if the Giants wide receivers meet expectations the G-men will be a tough team to defeat.