The New York Giants OTAs have served as the latest hint that Tavarres King could yet prove to be an inspired offensive ploy in the new season.
King sits behind a trio of Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard on the receiver depth chart but remains in contention to be a useful alternative option on the outside.
Beckham Jr’s well-publicised absence has somewhat opened the stage for King to alert the Giants to new avenues in which to pursue with him. Spring’s OTAs have seen him build on a strong finish to the previous campaign and battle admirably for further regular season opportunities.
Roger Lewis Jr.’s recent run-in with the law could also have elevated King’s stature as a worthy competitor alongside Dwayne Harris, capable of pushing the Giants’ so called ‘Big 3’ receivers to live up to the title.
The Giants offense underperformed miserably in Ben McAdoo’s maiden year as head coach, demanding a healthy fight for snaps moving forward and offering new hope to King’s fight for game time.
Picking up where he left off…
The 26-year-old was rarely used last season yet led the Giants with 117 receiving yards over the team’s final two games. This included hauling in a 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning as one of three catches for 73 yards in the 38-13 Wild Card defeat against the Green Bay Packers. A week before, in the final regular season game, he contributed a 44-yard reception just prior to the fourth quarter two-minute warning in the 19-10 win over the Washington Redskins.
He has since translated his eye-opening cameos into standout off-season appearances, starring in a position where the Giants are seemingly blessed with depth. There promises to be a real impetus from coach McAdoo towards implementing more dynamic and creative play-calling after such a lackluster 2016 season, thereby opening the door for King to play a far more significant role.
After only one catch for six yards in the Giants’ first 16 games last season, King earned himself the opportunity to make some big plays in the team’s last two outings. It’s for his lengthy spell fighting behind the scenes to develop his craft and prove he deserved a chance to shine that means he will undoubtedly have the respect of his coach. Not only does a place on the 53-man roster beckon, but so does the chance to rise as an off-the-radar contributor.
What does he offer?
It is King’s offseason involvement over the four years since being selected by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft that any suggestion of valuable experience can be drawn from, as opposed to his playing time.
He has only played a total of nine games in his professional career so far, seven of which have come for the Giants with the other two coming during his short 2014 spell with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Georgia product knows just how important making a good impression in the offseason is and for him to maintain such a commitment towards doing so warrants him the backing of the organization. This sets him good stead to be a valuable role model to a promising pool of Giants rookies and, in particular, tight end Evan Engram and undrafted free agent wide receiver Travis Rudolph.
King fits in with a receiving group that gives McAdoo a blend of experience, youth, and versatility at his disposal. In terms of his physical and technical attributes, his 6-foot-1 frame makes him a vertical threat while he also possesses the speed and offers the fluid route-running that similarly makes him a capable weapon for Manning to target.
The NFL’s cutthroat approach to player loyalty aside, King deserves the chance to try and build on a productive period and, with opposition defenses likely to prioritize covering other receivers in the team, could be an underestimated commodity for McAdoo to exploit.