What Every Giants Fan Wants to Know…

For every Giants-related question I received since the start of this offseason, I received two others regarding strictly the wide receivers. And it's justified. Taking two starters off a Super Bowl-caliber roster and failing to replace them with any big names (i.e. Braylon Edwards) understandably has many Giants fans up in arms.

Well, with opening day only a little more than a week away, it's officially put up or shut up time for the Giants new set of receivers. So, after three preseason games and an entire month of watching practices, we're going to give you the final scoop on Big Blue's untested crop of receivers.

Hakeem Nicks Let's start with the most popular of them all. Nicks had a slow start to camp, mostly due to a nagging hamstring injury. But he put together a tremendous practice on the second-to-last day of camp and we all saw what he did against the Jets. Now, as exciting as those two late TDs were, you have to remember that Nicks was also playing against the Jets first-team defense earlier in the game and was unable to make nearly as much noise. He's going to have to be a big factor if this pass offense is ever going to get off the ground. They'll start him as the fourth receiver, but don't be surprised if he's in the starting lineup by midseason. He seems to have the ideal mental makeup to handle the constant ups and downs of an NFL season.

Domenik Hixon If he's going to prove to be a number-one caliber receiver, the time is certainly now. The common thought around the league is that Hixon is a number three guy, at best. Unfortunately, he really hasn't done much – save for one explosive quarter against the hapless Seahawks early last season – to prove otherwise. If it turns out that he can't handle being a starting WR on this team, which very well may happen, it sure as heck wouldn't be Hixon's fault. That would fall on the front office.

Steve Smith Ouch, that drop. We all know that one drop does not a career ruin. But we also saw one of those mishandled long balls early in training camp and don't think we're asking too much to expect the most sure-handed receiver – and other starter – to be able to make those types of plays with regularity. Of the two starters, we expect Smith to have the bigger upside, even if he also seems to fit better as a third option instead of a starter. We're certainly willing to give him the chance to prove himself. But we just wish we were a little more excited about his potential at this point. Ramses Barden – Everyone's favorite coming out of training camp has kind of disappeared some in the games. That's more a byproduct of the play-calling than it is anything that Barden did. We sure would have liked to see him in the game more against the Jets when the Giants were in the green zone. It appears, at least early in his career, that's where Barden will be able to make the biggest impact.

Mario Manningham He's the guy with the biggest upside of all the Giants receivers. But he's also the guy that the coaching staff is most worried about. Manningham still doesn't show the consistency that you'd like to see from a player in his second season. But he also shows you the big-play ability that could inject a jolt of life into this passing game. It wouldn't be surprising if he ends up in the starting lineup before season's end – or on the bench for making too many mistakes.

Derek Hagan – You better believe the fact that Hagan was a captain against the Jets bodes well for his future as a Giant. We all love David Tyree, and how can you not? But Hagan is a more talented version of Tyree, and Hagan basically promises to give you more offensively and on special teams. Hagan making the team is not only going to force Tyree out of New York but Sinorice Moss, who has apparently fallen out of New York's plans, as well.

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