The New York Giants already face a problem, but it’s a good one to have thanks to a veteran wide receiver tipped “to make it difficult to keep him off the roster.”
Cole Beasley has an intimate knowledge of head coach Brian Daboll’s offense, and it showed during the Giants’ 21-16 loss to the Detroit Lions in preseason on Friday, August 11. Beasley was active and productive, with his potential value to Big Blue’s offense not lost on Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.
Schwartz outlined how “Beasley is going to make it difficult to keep him off the roster. Sure, he was going against Lions backups on defense, but the diminutive 34-year-old is so savvy with his routes out of the slot that he makes it easy for a quarterback to find him. Late in the first quarter, Beasley hauled in a short pass from Tommy DeVito and used a quick spin to rip off an 18-yard gain.”
Beasley’s performance reminded Daboll and his assistant coaches how it won’t be easy to overlook the wideout. Even at a position stacked with other newcomers via free agency and the 2023 NFL draft.
Many of the newcomers, along with some of the incumbents on the depth chart, share Beasley’s skill-set. Yet none are as familiar with how Daboll likes to move the ball through the air.
Beasley’s long look in Detroit could hint at bigger plans for the receiver who played three seasons for Daboll with the Buffalo Bills from 2019-21.
Extended Workout a Good Sign for Veteran Amid Crowded Position
As Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith noted, “veteran players don’t usually get much playing time in the first preseason game, but Giants wide receiver Cole Beasley is an exception.”
The exception led to Beasley having four receptions during the opening quarter. Those grabs included this nifty catch and run referenced by Schwartz and highlighted by Empire Sports Media’s Alex Wilson.
Presenting an easy target and turning short passes into long gains to keep the chains moving remains the foundation of Beasley’s game. It’s what he’s done throughout a career that’s also taken in stops with the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Those same skills are what Daboll knew he was getting when the Giants acquired the veteran off of the free-agency scrapheap. Beasley is a natural fit for the type of wide receiver corps Daboll has spent the past two offseasons building.
11-Year Pro Perfect for Giants’ Plan at Wide Receiver
The Daboll blueprint at receiver has been to overload on slot specialists. There’s a plethora of slight and shifty pass-catchers who thrive between the numbers. It’s a formula Daboll knows well from his days as an assistant with the New England Patriots where he saw Julian Edelman become a go-to target from the inside.
Daboll has doubled down on slot receivers for the Giants this year. Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson were already on the roster from last season, before Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder were added in free agency.
Every member of this quartet can amass catches and yards between the numbers. Yet, so can Beasley, who knows how to be a safety valve underneath.
Beasley should have a place on the final roster, but too many short-range receivers will lead to a small-ball passing game. That compromise would mean wasting some of the Giants’ obvious vertical playmakers, notably this year’s third-round pick, Jalin Hyatt.
Check-downs at the expense of big plays can be a problem even for the receiver catching the shorter throw. Beasley discovered as much on another play highlighted by Wilson and referenced by Fansided’s Doug Rush as an example where Hyatt may have been overlooked by backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who appeared too eager to check the ball down to Beasley.
Giving enough plays to possession-type receivers, as well as to legitimate big-play threats, is a balance Daboll once struck with Beasley and Stefon Diggs in Buffalo. Perhaps Beasley could form a similarly devastating combination with Hyatt for the Giants.