New York Giants wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, right, catches a...

New York Giants wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, right, catches a touchdown pass over defensive back Brian Witherspoon training camp. (Aug. 1, 2011) Credit: AP

Well that didn’t take long.

About 15 hours after learning that Steve Smith had signed with the Eagles, the Giants this morning gave his number 12 jersey to rookie Jerrel Jernigan, the receiver they hope can become a versatile weapon for them on offense and special teams. He had been wearing number 3.

Whether it is fair to do that – basically telling the rookie ‘OK, go out and replace Steve’ – is up for debate. But it was a clear sign that the Giants are moving on, moving forward.

Jernigan has looked OK in training camp as a receiver and it is way too early to tell what he’ll be able to bring to the offense. I would doubt that he’ll be asked to physically fill Smith’s role with others more prepared to play the third receiver like Domenik Hixon or even Victor Cruz or Devin Thomas. And Darius Reynaud has had a tremendous training camp. But eventually it may be Jernigan who becomes that tough little third-down guy who can always find an opening in the defense.

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