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NFL.com names Giants' receiving corps among best in league

NFL quarterbacks put together another proficient and prolific season in 2014.

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The league-wide completion percentage (62.6), passer rating (88.9) and net passing yards per game (473.6) were at historic levels, while a record nine quarterbacks had at least 30 touchdown passes, including Eli Manning of the New York Giants.

But it's not all about the signal-callers. Someone has to be on the other end of the pass.

An elite receiving corps is essential in today's game, and the Giants have one of the best, according to NFL.com.

Analyst Bucky Brooks ranked the top units in the league, placing Big Blue at No. 5 behind the Lions, Colts, Broncos and Packers.

"Considering Big Blue's blue-collar reputation, it feels a little weird to include this team on a list of the most dynamic aerial attacks in football," Brooks wrote. "But GM Jerry Reese has assembled a cast of pass catchers that could take the league by storm in 2015. Led by 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham Jr., the G-Men have the firepower to overwhelm opponents with a high-flying passing game this fall. The 5-11, 198-pound playmaker is arguably the most spectacular young receiver in the NFL, with a game that is polished well beyond his experience. From his superb route-running ability to his unbelievable ball skills, Beckham is a legitimate WR1 with extraordinary big-play ability. He is a rare pass catcher capable of stretching the field on vertical routes or delivering home runs on an assortment of catch-and-run plays."

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Brooks added: "Victor Cruz is coming back from a torn patellar tendon. Before the injury, he was the most explosive slot receiver in the game. Here's hoping he can return to form in 2015. When healthy, he exhibits rare stop-start quickness between the hashes, which makes him nearly indefensible in one-on-one matchups. In the Giants' quick-rhythm offense, which features a host of slants from the slot, Cruz wears out nickel corners, linebackers and safeties in the middle of the field. Cruz is also capable of racking up big yardage on the outside as a traditional "Z" or "X", but the Giants can put opponents in quite a bind when aligning their top receivers on the same side. If Cruz returns to Pro Bowl form this season, New York's passing game could be downright scary to defend."

Under first-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo last season, the Giants finished with the seventh-best passing offense in the league, and part of that was because of the emergence of tight end Larry Donnell, a position Brooks included in his list.

Check out photos of the Giants tight end unit

Receiver Rueben Randle and tight end Larry Donnell round out the unit as complementary players. Each is capable of winning one-on-one matchups against CB3s and CB4s, which makes the Giants' offense problematic to defend when offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo elects to open up the formation with three-receiver sets. Donnell just enjoyed a breakout season with 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns. He could emerge as a dominant red-zone weapon in 2015 and beyond."

Check out photos of the Giants WRs unit

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