EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants may have someone to complement Odell Beckham Jr.
The Giants finally turned their attention to the offense after ignoring it in free agency and the opening round of the NFL draft and selected Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard in the second round on Friday night.
General manager Jerry Reese said that Shepard is NFL ready.
"He plays in the slot and you just know he is crafty in how to get open in his routes," Reese said. "He has a quickness and explosion in his routes and the run after the catch and the toughness to go over the middle."
The receiver spot was one of the biggest needs for the Giants heading into the draft after losing Rueben Randle to free agency and uncertainty about the status of Victor Cruz, who has only played six games in the last two seasons, including none last year.
Reese said that Shepard reminded some Giants scouts of Cruz, while coach Ben McAdoo saw similarities to one of his players with the Packers, Randall Cobb.
McAdoo said that Shepard has great hands and plays bigger than his height, 5-foot-10.
Shepard doesn't agree that he is simply a slot receiver.
"Honestly I have played so big that I don't limit myself to inside," he said. "People think that's all I can do, play inside because of my size. But I think that guys like Odell and Victor have proven that's not the case. I am definitely one of those guys that can be bounced around and move all around."
Beckham has been the focus of the Giants offense the past two seasons, catching 187 passes for 2,755 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Eli Manning lacked a second go-to guy last season with Randle having an off year.
Shepard had 86 receptions for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns this past season and finished his career with 233 receptions for 3,482 yards and 26 touchdowns.
"We are super excited about this guy," said Marc Ross, the director of player evaluation, who described Shepard as athletic, savvy and a playmaker.