Many who watched the Aug. 16 Jets-Giants preseason game through the fourth quarter likely arrived at the same question: Who the heck is Victor Cruz? The undrafted rookie from Massachusetts was the star of the contest, catching six passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns, including a one-handed grab on a fade route under heavy coverage.
Although Cruz didn't make the national spotlight until that game, he has been one of the standouts of camp. Head coach Tom Coughlin has been singing Cruz's praises for more than a week now, almost since the beginning of training camp. The Giants like Cruz's size (6-1, 200) and the way he catches the ball in stride and can run after the catch.
The way the WR totem pole shakes out, if Cruz continues shining he very well could make this team. Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham are locks to make the roster; Ramses Barden is a near-lock.
Then it gets hazy. Sinorice Moss, who has beaten the odds the past few seasons by making the roster, is no sure thing. Derek Hagan is serviceable but replaceable. Tim Brown, Nyan Boateng and Duke Calhoun are considered long shots.
So why not Cruz? Although the Giants like his receiving ability and think he can develop into a good blocker in time, it could come down to his special-teams value. Cruz had a little exposure at UMass as a punt and kickoff returner, but he might need to show something there to give him the edge. He also must contribute on the other special teams, but right now Cruz is looking like he has a real shot to beat out Moss and make the Opening Day 53.
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