EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Amani Toomer was the Giants' second-round draft choice in 1996, a transaction that proved to be a brilliant decision for both the player and the team. Chosen No. 34 overall, the wide receiver played his entire 13-year career for the Giants and is the franchise leader with 668 catches, 9,497 receiving yards and 54 touchdowns. Toomer also holds the postseason records with 44 receptions, 608 yards and seven scores.
Subsequent attempts to find a long-term standout at the position in the second round were not as fruitful, as Joe Jurevicius (1998), Tim Carter (2002), Sinorice Moss (2006), Steve Smith (2007) and Rueben Randle (2012) contributed either briefly or hardly at all (though Smith did set the Giants' single-season record in 2009 with 107 catches, about half his four-year total of 220).
The Giants again dipped into the second-round well for a receiver in 2016 and secured Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard with the 40th overall selection. And while he has a long way to go to approach Toomer's numbers, Shepard is quietly becoming one of the franchise's most productive wideouts.
Despite missing two games with a hamstring injury, Shepard leads the Giants this season with 28 receptions and is second with 299 yards, 18 less than rookie Kadarius Toney. He scored the Giants' first touchdown this season on a 37-yard pass from Daniel Jones against Denver.
Shepard caught 10 passes for 76 yards in the Giants' 38-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. He raised his career total to 341 receptions, which moved him past Chris Calloway (334) and into eighth place on the franchise's career list. Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford is seventh with 367.
Shepard is fourth among wide receivers in team history, trailing only Toomer (668), Odell Beckham, Jr. (390) and Ike Hilliard (368).
His 76 receiving yards increased Shepard's total to 3,817, which vaulted him over Earnest Gray (3,768) and into 17th place on the franchise list. Lionel Manuel is 16th with 3,941 yards.
Shepard has exceeded 100 receiving yards in 10 games, tying him with Plaxico Burress for ninth on the franchise's career list.
His 10 catches on Sunday increased Shepard's career total to four double-digit reception games (two with 10, two with 11). That is third in Giants history behind Beckham (8) and tight end Jeremy Shockey (6).
Shepard was fifth of the 32 wide receivers selected in the 2016 draft, and the first chosen in the second round. The four selected ahead of him – Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Josh Doctson and Laquon Treadwell – have totaled 426 receptions, or 85 more than Shepard has by himself.
Shepard ranks fourth in the 2016 draft class in all three major receiving categories:
- Michael Thomas (510)
- Tyreek Hill (414)
- Tyler Boyd (349)
- Sterling Shepard (341)
- Tyreek Hill (5,983)
- Michael Thomas (5,950)
- Tyler Boyd (4,033)
- Sterling Shepard (3,817)
- Tyreek Hill (52)
- Michael Thomas (32)
- Will Fuller (24)
- Sterling Shepard (21)
Shepard has caught at least one pass in 58 consecutive games in which he's played, the sixth-longest streak in Giants history. Beckham is fifth at 59. Toomer holds the record with a catch in 98 straight games.
On Sunday, Shepard increased his total yards to 4,024 (3,817 receiving, 180 rushing and a 27-yard kickoff return). He is the 28th player in Giants history with at least 4,000 total yards.
Shepard's 180 rushing yards are the most in Giants history by a player who primarily plays wide receiver.
View photos from the career of Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard.
*The game Sunday demonstrated again that throwing a lot of passes is not normally a pathway to victory for the Giants. Daniel Jones threw a career-high 51 passes (completing a career-best 29). It was the Giants' first 50-pass game since Dec. 17, 2017, when Eli Manning threw the ball 57 times in a 34-29 loss to Philadelphia. Sunday's game vs. Los Angeles was the 27th in Giants regular-season history in which they threw at least 50 passes. They are 2-25 in those games, including 2-23 when one quarterback throws all the passes.
The victories were on Sept. 16, 2012 against Tampa Bay and Oct. 11, 2015 vs. San Francisco. The Giants did, however, win their only postseason game in which they threw 50 or more passes. On Jan. 22, 2012, Manning completed 32 of 58 throws - both Giants playoff records - in the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco in Candlestick Park.
*Jones' 29 completions increased his career total to 694, a record for a Giants quarterback in his first three seasons. Manning held the former mark with 690.
*Jones 62.24 career completion percentage is easily the highest among players in their first three seasons with the franchise. Fellow Duke alumnus Dave Brown is second at 57.42%.
*With 39 touchdown passes, Jones needs one more to tie Brown for seventh place on the Giants' career list.
*The Rams converted only 18.2% of their third-down opportunities on Sunday (two-for-11). That is the lowest percentage by an opponent in a Giants loss since Nov. 13, 2005, when the Minnesota Vikings were two-for-15 (13.3%).
*The Giants did not have a play longer than 17 yards on Sunday, the first time that happened since Oct. 19, 2015, when their longest play was a 17-yard pass in a 27-7 Monday night loss in Philadelphia.
*In the previous two weeks, Dallas scored 44 points and the Rams 38 against the Giants. Those are the two highest point totals allowed by the Giants in Joe Judge's coaching tenure and the first time since Dec. 20-27. 2015 they allowed at least 38 points in consecutive games (38-35 loss to Carolina and a 49-17 defeat in Minnesota).
*Playing without the injured Saquon Barkley and with a patchwork offensive line, the Giants rushed for 60 yards on Sunday, the 11th time in 22 games under Judge they were shy of 100 yards on the ground. Under Judge, the Giants are 6-5 when they rush for 100 yards and 1-10 when they don't. They rushed for at least 100 yards in two of six games this season. But they lost both games, to Washington and Atlanta.
*Safeties Xavier McKinney of the Giants and the Rams' Taylor Rapp each intercepted two passes Sunday. It was the first Giants game in which both sides had a player with two interceptions since Sept. 29. 2019, when cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins of the Giants and Washington's Quinton Dunbar each had two.
The Giants honored the 2011 Giants team in a special halftime ceremony during Sunday's game against the Rams.