Darius Slayton wasn't the most sought after player at the 2019 NFL Draft.
No team picked the Auburn University product within the first four rounds. Slayton waited and witnessed 17 other wide receivers find teams before he heard his named called. The Giants selected Slayton, who'd never recorded more than 700 receiving yards in season, in the fifth round — the 171st player overall. His draft profile indicated he "had a chance to become an NFL starter."
Slayton told WFAN's Maggie Gray and Marc Malusis that the draft day slide is something that "fueled" him throughout his rookie season.
"It's definitely something I think about all the time," Slayton said. "...Because it's kind of like a slap in the face to some degree. It's definitely something I use for motivation for sure."
Slayton finished deadlocked with Tennessee's AJ Brown, selected 51st overall, for the rookie lead in touchdowns (8). He also became a reliable target for quarterback Daniel Jones. Slayton caught five of Jones' 25 touchdown passes and connected for 556 total yards last season. It was a relationship built from Day 1.
Slayton's five-yard touchdown catch in Week 15 proved to be the last one Manning would ever throw in the NFL. Manning formally announced his retirement over a month later on Jan. 24.
"At the time, it was another touchdown in a game," Slayton said. "but especially now that he's retired, I think it's grown in importance. It's definitely something I'll look back on one day.