Giants Elevate Ex-Steelers WR Amid Sterling Shepard Injury

Giants promote WR Johnny Holton to active roster

Getty Ex-Steelers Wide receiver Johnny Holton.

With wide receiver Sterling Shepard on the mend, the New York Giants have decided to call in some reinforcement. Big Blue has opted to elevate Johnny Holton from the team’s practice squad to their active roster ahead of Sunday’s Week 3 tilt against the San Francisco 49ers.

Holton Will Play Pivotal Role vs. 49ers

Signed earlier this month, Holton has yet to suit up for a game this season. However, with the Giants thin at wide receiver and their special teams unit ailing, expect Holton to see his fair share of snaps on Sunday, namely in the latter facet.

Safety Adrian Colbert, who missed New York’s Week 2 game with a quad injury, is listed as doubtful and is unexpected to play against the Niners. Colbert logged 15 special teams snaps (58%) in Week 1 vs. the Steelers. Cornerback Brandon Williams, who has tallied 29 special teams snaps over the first two weeks, injured his groin in Friday’s practice and is listed as questionable, per The Athletic’s Dan Duggan. Williams is a gunner on punt coverage.

An undrafted free-agent out of Cincinnati in the 2016 NFL Draft, Holton spent his first three years with the then-Oakland Raiders before landing in Pittsburgh one season ago. While his 14 career receptions are nothing to write home about, his prowess on special teams is another story.

Holton checked in with 271 special teams snaps for the Steelers a season ago, racking up a team-high eight tackles (four solo). Over his four-year career, the 29-year-old Holton has collected 25 tackles over 48 games.

In terms of his offensive usage, Holton will likely slide in as the G-Men’s fifth-wide receiver on Sunday behind the likes of starters Darius Slayton and Golden Tate as well as reserves C.J. Board and Damion Ratley.

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Giants Not Taking 49ers Lightly, Despite Slew of Injuries

While Holton’s debut for the Giants comes on the heels of numerous offensive injuries to New York’s roster, namely Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, they still remain the healthier of the two teams primed to take the field at MetLife on Sunday by a wide margin.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Dee Ford, Dre Greenlaw and Richard Sherman will all miss the game with varying degrees of injuries. Still, despite a battered lineup in San Francisco, Giants head coach Joe Judge remains adamant against taking the reigning NFC Champions lightly.

“They have a tremendous roster,” Judge said. “They have talent all over that place. They really have taken the time and built it right over the last few years since (general manager) John (Lynch) and (coach) Kyle (Shanahan) have gotten there. They’ve been very patient in the process and it’s really paid off for them. They have a lot of really good players.”

The Week 3 bout between Big Blue and the Niners kicks off at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, with Judge still in search of his first career victory as an NFL head coach.

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