If you didn't think rookie WR Darius Slayton solidified himself as a draft steal for the Giants before Monday Night Football, he definitely changed your mind after his performance against the Eagles.
It was a career game: five catches on eight Eli Manning targets for 154 yards and two touchdowns -- both of which came in the second quarter. That output gives Slayton 386 yards and four touchdowns on 25 catches in his last four games.
Slayton's first Monday night game came in Week 9 against the Cowboys, and he only saw one catch for six yards all night. This time around, he didn't want to see that kind of stat line in a primetime matchup, especially his first taste of the Giants-Eagles rivalry.
"First time around on Monday night, we played against the Cowboys , probably not one of my best games, so I definitely wanted to come back out here," he said. "I was grateful we had a second opportunity to be on Monday night and show what I could do on a national stage."
Slayton's production this season has been something even the Giants probably don't believe after taking him out of the fifth round in the NFL Draft. It was said by scouts that he would need work on route running and making his hands more reliable. But that's all he's been for the Giants this season: reliable.
On 70 targets this season, Slayton has just two drops. And on his 42 receptions, the Auburn product now leads the Giants in receiving yards with 659 on the year. He also leads the team with seven touchdowns, and is only two receptions off the team lead as well.
Most of his targets, though, have come from rookie QB Daniel Jones -- except for this past week. With Manning starting in Jones' place, it was expected that he'd target Sterling Shepard more because of their chemistry, but that wasn't the case. Slayton just kept getting open.
"He does a good job of getting separation, a great job on the slant getting a lot of separation," Manning explained about Slayton. "I think one go ball was a busted coverage, but the other was just man and off coverage, and ran right by him. I think he's got good speed, tracks the ball well and has some playmaking abilities. He's an easy target, a big target, to throw to."
Manning is referencing Slayton's first touchdown where he hit a slant, turn around quickly to avoid a Ronald Darby tackle, and used his 4.38 speed to beat anyone else charging after him to the end zone. His second touchdown was another impressive showing of his speed coupled with blown secondary coverage, as Slayton split two defenders that couldn't catch him in time.
Is Slayton the next Victor Cruz? It might be too early to tell, but it's not far fetched. Slayton looks to be a vital part to this Giants offense for years to come, and he's still got three games left to play in his rookie year.
"I knew I wanted to come in and make an impact. I knew I could come in and make an impact," he said. "I didn't really know how much I was going to be able to do that, but like I said, I've definitely been blessed."