Darius Slayton isn’t a Pro Bowl receiver yet, but the rookie is getting a taste of what it might be like to play in such all-star games week after week after week. In the last two games, he’s gone up against two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Xavier Rhodes and Stephon Gilmore, and this week he might find himself being covered by Patrick Peterson in his return from a suspension.
First-year receivers who are fifth-round picks rarely get that kind of attention. So what has Slayton learned from facing such a lineup?
“A lot,” he said. “Playing against those kinds of guys, they’re great athletes but they’re also smart . . . It teaches you to always be on your toes and make sure you don’t give anything away.”
Given the caliber of his opponents, Slayton has done OK. His first NFL touchdown came against Rhodes and the Vikings. In the past two games, he has totaled seven catches for 94 yards.
Slayton said facing Gilmore was an eye-opener, and he came away impressed by one play in particular. Late in the game against the Patriots, he went up in the air and caught a pass that would have been a big first down for the Giants. Gilmore was patient, though, and punched the ball out of Slayton’s grip before he came down to complete the reception.
“I couldn’t even be mad,” he said of the play. “I’ve never had that happen to me and frankly, I’ve never seen it where he just only punched the ball. It was a once-a-year play.”
And part of the tutorial that Slayton is getting in his first NFL season.
Notes & quotes: RB Wayne Gallman (concussion) practiced on Monday with a yellow non-contact jersey . . . The Giants re-signed WR Bennie Fowler and released LB Nate Stupar . . . RB Buck Allen, signed on Friday, participated in his first practice on Monday. He is part of a revamped running back room that is expected to have Saquon Barkley back and possibly Gallman. Jon Hilliman and Walter Austin, the two running backs in last Thursday’s game, were waived . . . Pat Shurmur said CB Sam Beal (hamstring) will begin practicing on Wednesday. He’ll practice for two weeks and will be eligible to play in Week 9 against the Cowboys.