There is no more exciting player than Victor Cruz on the New York Giants’ roster and that’s why the talented wide receiver finds himself at No. 2 on our list of the top 10 players for 2014. The salsa-dancing pass catcher is an electric highlight reel capable for the home run on any given down. After a step back in 2013, it’s fair to assume he’ll be looking to wreak havoc on the NFL once again in 2014.
Cruz’s production saw a rapid decline after a hot four-game stretch to start the season during which he caught all four of his touchdown passes and registered three 100-yard games. He had just one 100-yard game over the next 10 games before he suffered a season-ending left knee injury in a Week 15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
He capped off the season two yards short of a third consecutive 1,000-yard season with 73 catches and four touchdowns. Known as a big-time playmaker, he had nine plays for a gain of 20 yards or more; he had 21 in 2011 and 16 in 2012.
Cruz has major plans for himself in 2014 and beyond, including planting himself as a valuable leader in the huddle and in the locker room.
“Absolutely,” Cruz said in response to a question about whether he wishes to be named captain as part of a panel discussion with former Giants Michael Strahan and Harry Carson at NYU (via New York Daily News). “I feel like that in my progression as an athlete, as a professional, I feel like that’s the next step.”
Meanwhile, as a key figure in the Giants’ revitalized offensive attack behind new coordinator Ben McAdoo, he could be primed for another record-breaking year. Eli Manning is healthy, the offensive line is much improved and Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle should alleviate some of the pressure on Cruz to have to do everything himself.
Even more significant is his likely return to exclusively manning the slot for the G-Men where he starred as the best slot receiver in the league in 2012. He is “indefensible between the hashes” as NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks took it, and caught 86 passes for a Giants record 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns.
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