It’s universally expected within the New York Giants organization that the likes of Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. will put up big numbers for the team this season. What could be the difference between an 8-8 season and a 10+ win season is the surprise production of new or injured players. Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, and Paul Perkins are all guys who can make huge contributions for the Giants that will have a direct impact on their overall record.
Shepard has drawn comparisons to Beckham from numerous scouts at only 5'-10” and 194 pounds, but it’s his statistics that compare more so with the star receiver. In 13 games for the Oklahoma Sooners, Shepard caught 86 passes for 1,288 yards and 11 TD’s, good for 13th in the nation. Cruz looks to return to form after a knee injury suffered in Philadelphia in 2014 has kept him out for almost 2 years. He was a main target for Manning from 2011-2013, catching over 250 passes for 3,000+ yards, and can use his experience as a veteran to really help Shepard and Beckham develop and mature further. These three playing on the field together at one time will surely keep defensive coordinators up at night.
Rookie Perkins out of UCLA looks to be a solid complimentary back to Rashad Jennings, and has been called a “complete” running back by the Giants. How much he’ll play will depend on the ability of Jennings to stay healthy, but don’t be surprised if Perkins gets more and more time as the season goes on, especially since their passing game should give allow them to establish a run game with opposing linebackers and secondary players focused on Beckham, Cruz, and Shepard. The Giants need these three players to exceed expectations and shock the football world, and their previous bodies of work and overall skill are all reasons why Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard, and Paul Perkins are three guys that all Giants fans should keep an eye on heading into 2016.