Darius Slayton of the Giants celebrates his third-quarter touchdown against the Texans...

Darius Slayton of the Giants celebrates his third-quarter touchdown against the Texans at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

A year ago, Darius Slayton was far from a sure thing for the Giants.

Buried on the wide receiver depth chart, he was a healthy scratch in the season opener against the Titans.


But after the team was beset by poor play, inconsistent performance and some, uh, weirdness at the receiver position — how else to describe the Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay era? — Slayton got a chance from the Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll Giants.

It’s funny how things go sometimes.

These days, it’s as if Slayton is exactly where he always belonged.

“I think it was definitely a stroke of adversity,” Slayton said Monday on Zoom. “It’s definitely something that I had to deal with, something I had to overcome . . . I’m just happy I’m on the other side of it now, and it’ll be a good life experience going forward.”

With the Cowboys coming to MetLife Stadium on Sunday night, Slayton will be part of an upgraded receivers group. The roster includes a balance of fast and savvy pass-catchers. Often, these days, Slayton is something of the conscience of the group.

He’s come a long way.

Daboll raved about Slayton on Monday.

“You talk about another good teammate,” he said. “We’ve talked about the start that he had last year. I’d say his ability to really just be laser-focused on his job and improving every day really helped us throughout the season. Got him back [on a two-year deal in March] and he’s been a very good teammate. I think he has improved in a number of areas, understands the system better, has some good leadership traits about him, particularly with some of those younger receivers. We’re happy to have him.”

Slayton led the Giants with 724 receiving yards last season and set a career high with 10.2 yards per target.

On a team that was last in the league in explosive plays, Slayton accounted for 12 of those catches, defined as receptions of at least 20 yards. The rest of the 2022 team had 16 such receptions.

In complimenting Slayton, Daboll said he’s been around players “who never came out of their funk.”

The coach described what Slayton, 26, dealt with as “growing pains.”

“When you are getting ready to go through a long season, there is going to be bumps along the way,” Daboll said, “and your job is to try to stay committed to what your job is and do a better job and learn from the mistakes that you made. And just come out a little better each and every day.”

It seems Slayton has done just that. Without a hint of bitterness.

Slayton has solidified himself as part of an offense that expects to have more firepower in 2023.

The 2022 Giants averaged 21.5 points in Daboll’s first season, up from 15.2 the year before.

A similar jump this season likely would mean the Giants have a top-10 scoring offense. That would be a considerable achievement in the second year of the Schoen and Daboll partnership.

Slayton is looking forward to seeing not only what the Giants’ offense does this season but what is in store for him.

“I think I’m in a positive place, and I think I’ve put together a strong camp,” Slayton said. “I worked really hard this offseason to better myself in any way or shape and form I can, and I plan to try to display that to the best of my ability this season.”

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