There is a lot of excitement over what the Giants’ three-headed receiving group can accomplish this season, but two-thirds of those heads are still question marks. Victor Cruz is advancing in his rehab from calf surgery last fall, while rookie Sterling Shepard has yet to catch an NFL pass.
While a lot of the focus is on Cruz’s return, there seems to be less concern about Shepard. The second-round draft pick out of Oklahoma has been a standout player for the Giants in the offseason program.
“He’s going to be a phenomenal player,” Odell Beckham Jr. said of his new teammate. “He can run routes, he can catch, he can pretty much do it all. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him develop.”
Even in the last few weeks, that development has been obvious.
“The first couple of days, it’s hard,” Beckham said. “It’s hard to learn a new offense and you come in, a guy who was drafted, you feel like you have something to prove, so you’d see him making mental errors from just thinking. Now you see him getting out there and feeling more comfortable and just playing.”
Shepard, for his part, does not seemed overwhelmed by the idea that he is being lumped together with Cruz and Beckham.
“I don’t see it as being too much,” the rookie said. “I’m ready to take it on. I feel like what I’ve done in college — I know it’s a completely different league and everything, but just as far as practice and being out here — I know that I can do it. It’s just a matter of going out and doing it. I’m excited and I’m ready to go.”
So how good can Shepard be?
Beckham isn’t saying. He doesn’t want to ruin the surprise.
“I just feel like I really know what he’s capable of,” Beckham said, “and I’d rather let him shock the world than spill his secrets.”