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May 07, 2023

NFC East 2023 draft grades: Giants edition

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050423DeonteBanks Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

Deonte Banks was decent value in Round 1 for the Giants.

The Giants had a nonsensical free agency period, but they made up for it to some degree with a decent first two days of the draft. Let's look at each of the Giants' picks in the 2023 draft and grade them on what they did.

Round 1, pick 24: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland: Banks had just 1 INT and 3 pass breakups over his first three seasons (16 games) at Maryland, but was thought of as a breakout player in 2022 with 8 pass breakups and a pick. At 6'0, 197, Banks has decent size with sticky man-to-man coverage abilities.

Banks tore up the Combine, running a 4.35 40 and vertical jumping 42".

If Banks had more takeaway production, he would have been talked about as a top half of the first round type of prospect. At pick 24, he is decent enough value, and the Giants have obvious needs at corner.

The Giants moved up one spot to select Banks:

Giants got Jaguars got 
Pick 24 (Banks) Pick 25 
 Pick 160 
 Pick 240 

The Giants must have felt that the dropoff from Banks to Joey Porter was significant enough to pay the premium of fifth- and seventh-round picks to move up. I think that's fine. Just pay the tax to make sure you get your guy.

Round 2, pick 57: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota: Schmitz is a nasty run blocker who consistently puts opposing defensive linemen on the ground. The following is a highlight reel of RB Mohamed Ibrahim, but it may as well just be a highlight reel for Schmitz as well. Watch him execute difficult reach blocks, and move defenders with power (he's No. 60).

Schmitz originally enrolled at Minnesota in 2017, making 2022 his sixth college season, and he's already 24 years old. So that's the downside. But he'll also be a plug and play starter from Day 1. Round 2 was appropriate value. 

A priority for this new regime is to build up the offensive line, and Schmitz is another piece. Four of the Giants' five starting offensive linemen have been selected by the team in the last four drafts:

• LT: Andrew Thomas, 2020, 4th overall pick
• LG: Joshua Ezeudu, 2022, 67th overall pick
• C: John Michael Schmitz, 2023, 57th overall pick
• RT: Evan Neal, 2022, 7th overall pick

Thomas has become one of the best left tackles in the NFL after some early bumps in the road. Ezeudu and Neal struggled as rookies in 2022. To be determined if this group can develop into a quality line, but the Giants are right to continue to add to the group.

• Round 3, pick 73: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee: Hyatt had a breakout season out of the slot for Tennessee in 2022, catching 67 passes for 1267 yards (18.9 PYC) and 15 TDs. He is a speed receiver with deep ball tracking skills and run after catch ability. A look:

The Giants' passing offense was painfully conservative in 2022, probably out of necessity. In 2023, with some receivers getting healthy and now the additions of Darren Waller at TE and Hyatt, the Giants should be able to stretch the field more. It will be interesting to see if Daniel Jones can keep his turnover totals down if he tries to be more than just a dink and dunk artist. 

The Giants traded up to select Hyatt: 

Giants got Rams 
Pick 73 (Hyatt) Pick 89 
 Pick 128 

Getting him at pick 73 was a steal, and the cost to move up wasn't too steep.

Round 5, pick 172: Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma: Gray had a big senior season, carrying 213 times for 1366 yards (6.4 YPC) and 11 TDs, while also chipping in 33 receptions for 229 yards. He has good vision and can make defenders miss, but as you can see in the highlight reel below he does not possess great top speed (he ran a 4.62 at OU's pro day).

I thought he was a late round guy who could become a nice backup.

Round 6, pick 209: Tre Hawkins, CB, Old Dominion: Hawkins was Lance Zierlein's 58th ranked cornerback prospect. He was Dane Brugler's 42nd ranked cornerback. Both had him graded as a priority free agent. But, he's 6'2 and he ran a 4.40 40 at ODU's pro day, so the Giants will try to develop him.

Round 7, pick 243: Jordon Riley, DT, Oregon: Riley was Zierlein's 30th ranked DT. Brugler had him 31st. Once again, both graded him as a priority free agent. Riley is big (6'5, 338), but that's about it.

Round 7, pick 254: Gervarrius Owens, S, Houston: Good numbers in 2022: 74 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 9 pass breakups, and an INT. Safety with some corner in his background. 


In Banks, Schmitz, and Hyatt the Giants found a trio of good prospects at areas of need, and Hyatt in particular was an outstanding value. In my opinion, he should have been a second-round pick, so the Giants were fortunate to have him fall into Round 3. I thought they had an A-/B+ kind of draft after the first two days. Their Day 3 guys... meh.

Grade: B.

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