‘Massive Opportunity’ Arises for Giants’ Intriguing ‘Big-Play Receiver’

Injury to Sterling Shepard opens up major opportunity for Giants WR CJ Board

Getty Sterling Shepard's injury opens the door for CJ Board to shine.

When the New York Giants claimed wide receiver CJ Board off of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars in mid-August many wrote the addition off as just another camp body. Fast forward a month and Board has since staked claim to a roster spot, beating out the likes of former top-15 draft pick, Corey Coleman. Now with Sterling Shepard landing on injured reserve, he will likely be called upon to man a sizeable role within Big Blue’s offense.

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‘Massive Opportunity’ Arises for Board

Replacing a player of Shepard’s caliber is no small task, especially for a player such as Board, who has just seven career receptions to his name. Yet, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan believes the Giants may have stumbled upon something in Board, who has the potential to pose as a “big-play” threat out wide.

Here’s what Raanan had to say:

The injury to Shepard means Tate goes from being the third receiver to a crucial piece again, one who should be Jones’ most popular target for the foreseeable future.

Board is more likely than Damion Ratley to slide into the third wide receiver spot. It’s still a massive opportunity to make some plays. The Giants have run 11 personnel (three wide receivers on the field) 51.6% of the time this season, per ESPN Stats & Information.

Board could be another big-play receiver alongside Darius Slayton.

Coach Judge Likes What He’s Seen From Board

While Board is bound to see an uptick in usage over the next few weeks, his insertion into Big Blue’s lineup is far from foreign. Golden Tate’s Week 1 absence and Shepard’s turf toe knocking him out for the entirety of the second half in Week 2 has forced the wideout into extended playing time.

Thus far this season, Board has played 32 offensive snaps, with 22 routes run. His five targets on the year tie him with the aforementioned Tate for third amongst Giants wide receivers. While not eye-popping statistics on the surface, Board’s development has been enough to catch the eye of head coach Joe Judge.

“C.J.’s had production as we’ve worked,” Judge said, per North Jersey Media Group. “I would hope that would improve based on how he’s picked up on the offense and what he’s been able to do.’’

In addition to Board, fellow wideout Damion Ratley is also in line for an extended look at receiver. The former Cleveland Browns’ sixth-round draft pick back in 2018, Ratley was claimed off waivers by Big Blue prior to Week 1. The 25-year-old saw limited offensive snaps during the opening week (18). However, his snap count percentage increased by 16% in Week 2.

“[Damion’s] made a lot of improvement these last couple weeks,” Judge told reporters earlier this week. “Stepping up for us, making plays in practice, it gives us a lot of confidence to put him in the game.”

While Board and Ratley both offer intrigue to the position, Judge is not-so-patiently awaiting Shepard’s return to the lineup.

“I’m looking forward to when we can get Sterling back out there and working with the team,’’ Judge said. “He’s definitely a guy that brings a lot of juice on the grass in practice and he’s a guy that competes 100 percent for us in the games.’’

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