David Sills looked well on his way to making the New York Giants roster last offseason. That is, until a broken foot wiped his 2020 campaign clean. Now back and evidently better than ever, the former quarterback phenom-turned-wide receiver has once again staked claim to a roster spot this summer.
West Virginia’s second all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (35), Sills has been far and above Big Blue’s most consistent pass-catcher this preseason, leading the team in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (94), and readily separating from defensive backs. However, sometimes exhibition production can only do so much for a player’s roster hopes — no matter how prolific. With a crowded receiving corps in East Rutherford, albeit hobbled, New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard doesn’t envision Sills finding his way onto the Giants’ 53-man roster.
Here’s his prediction on how the receiver position will pan out:
WIDE RECEIVER (six): Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, John Ross, Kadarius Toney, Dante Pettis
C.J. Board will re-sign. David Sills, Matt Cole and Austin Mack go to the practice squad. The Giants keep Pettis to start because he is the best true receiver between him, Board and Sills. And Golladay, Ross and Toney all are rehabbing from injuries. Alex Bachman and Damion Willis get cut.
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Sills vs. the Competition
While he garnered recognition for verbally committing to USC as a seventh-grade quarterback, and more recently established himself as a fan-favorite among the local Giants fan base, Sills essentially boasts an empty resume as a professional. Whether fair or not, his draft stature — which is nothing — likely hurts the former undrafted free agent’s chances of making the roster. This is especially true when competing among a position group that possesses established veterans and multiple first and second-rounders.
Furthermore, most of the bottom of the roster wideouts that Sills will be battling with for a spot offer more upside on special teams. Pettis, who Leonard predicts will make the roster, is the NCAA’s career punt return touchdowns leader with nine. C.J. Board played 20% of the team’s special teams snaps in 2020 over 14 games. He’s also been utilized as both a kick and punt returner over his time with the Giants. There’s also Matt Cole, arguably the most versatile of the group, as he’s logged snaps at both wide receiver and cornerback this preseason.
Thankfully, Thomas McGaughey has given Sills a look on special teams more of late, deploying him as a gunner against the Patriots in the team’s final dress rehearsal. However, whether that will bode as enough versatility to nab the final receiver spot is up for debate.
Injuries Give Sills a Chance
Frankly, we’re team Sills over here. His play the past two summers warrants a roster spot in our eyes. He presents the most upside from an offensive perspective of the receivers he’s competing with, although some would argue for Pettis. He’s been the team’s most productive pass-catcher this preseason — and had Giants quarterbacks been a bit more accurate at times, his production would be even gaudier.
He also checks in at 6-foot-3-inches and 211 pounds, making him one of the larger targets on the offense. As he showed during his time with the Mountaineers and in glimpses this preseason, the big-bodied Sills has potential red-zone threat written all over him.
However, nothing is working more in Sills’ favor than the health of his fellow pass-catchers — or rather lack thereof. Big-ticket free-agent Kenny Golladay continues to be sidelined with a hamstring injury. First-round rookie Kadarius Toney is a question mark from numerous standpoints and is an uncertainty for Week 1. Darius Slayton (foot/ankle) and Evan Engram (calf) each left the Patriots game with injuries and are awaiting further evaluation. Plus, for all the good Sterling Shepard brings to the table, chances are you won’t see his name listed under any Iron Man streaks anytime soon.
The Giants completely overhauled their receiving corps this offseason, and it also looked as if they vastly upgraded in the process. However, as things currently sit, there are far too many questions at the position heading into Week 1. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Giants to hold on to an extra receiver as insurance — potentially helping Sills extend his stay in East Rutherford.
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