The need for speed is always there and the Giants caught up with a bunch of it Saturday by taking wide receiver Darius Slayton from Auburn with the second of their two picks in the fifth round.
Slayton ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 at the scouting combine in Indianapolis and if that speed translates to the field with the Giants they will have uncovered a player they and quarterback Eli Manning can use. Their receiving corps, now devoid of Odell Beckham Jr., has Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate as starters and not a whole lot of pure speed to throw at opposing cornerbacks. Slayton has it.
The selection ended a streak of five consecutive defensive players selected by the Giants after taking quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6.
Slayton has good size at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds and caught 79 passes for 1,605 yards and 11 touchdowns in three years at Auburn. In 2018, he had 35 receptions for 670 yards and five touchdowns. He went wild in Auburn’s 63-14 Music City Bowl victory, setting school records with three touchdowns and 160 receiving yards.
In high school in Georgia, Slayton was a top track performer, winning state titles in the 100 and 200 meters. At Auburn, Slayton had eight catches of 50-plus yards.
In addition to Shepard and Tate, the Giants re-signed a bunch of veterans who were with the team last season: Russell Shepard, Bennie Fowler, Corey Coleman and Cody Latimer. Slayton will have to clean up on the dropped passes he had in college and will compete for a job as the fastest of the bunch.