New York Giants 2023 NFL Draft Review
||Pick in Round
||CB Deonte Banks
||OC John Michael Schmitz
||WR Jalin Hyatt
||RB Eric Gray
||CB Tre Hawkins III
||DL Jordon Riley
||S Gervarrius Owens
2023 Draft Pick Scouting Reports
1st Round – CB Deonte Banks, 6’0”, 197lbs, 4.35, University of Maryland
Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Senior entry. Three-year starter but two of those years summed to just five starts combined because of Covid-19 and a shoulder injury that kept him out of all but two games. Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2022. Banks is a bit of an unknown when because of the lack of experience over that two-year span. That said, he did start as a true freshman in 2019 and looked fantastic in 2022. The movement traits are nearly off the charts and his aggressive play style will be attractive to defensive schemes that want to use a lot of man coverage. His rapid-fire footwork allows him to stay stick and the long speed pairs with acceleration traits to stay on top of pro deep threats. There are not a lot of plays made on his tape and I’m not sold he completely understands what he is doing yet. Banks is a wildcard that could make a case to be the top corner in the draft because of talent and traits, but there are question marks in a few of the mental areas of the grade sheet.
*Banks tore it up at the Combine and this is a position that everyone wants to see traits at, then gamble. Banks’ movement ability shows up on tape, there is no denying his ability to play against NFL speed. The question will be how quickly he adapts mentally. He simply did not play a lot in college and he was not challenged often enough. Like a lot of these other corners in the group, this will be a big swing for the fence and his shortcoming centers around size/length.
Joe Schoen’s Take: “You guys know Wink’s defense and what he likes, and Deonte fits that mold “to a T”. He was ecstatic… He’s a prototype from a size standpoint. He’s athletic. He’s physical. He can run. He ran 4.32 at the Combine. He has arm length, big hands. He’s been a four-year starter. He was hurt a year ago but he has played a lot of ball there at Maryland and schematically, he’s a good fit. And we spent a lot of time with him. Met with him at the Combine. He’s a guy that, you know, we went down to the pro day, and we spent a good amount of time with him, and again we felt comfortable with him… Getting Banks is a guy that we liked, we spent a lot of time with and we’re ecstatic to get him… He’s a personable individual. Football intellect was good (at the Combine). Very good understanding of their defense. You know, made a good first impression at the Combine, and I’ll give our scouts the credit, you know he was hurt in 2021 and one of our guys was in there in August, and he wasn’t really on our radar because he didn’t play a lot in 2021 and so our scouts were on him early. So he is somebody that we were able to get out and see and we had several looks throughout the fall, live looks, whether it was at the school, games or at practice. So you know, we had very good coverage on him.”
Brian Daboll’s Take: “You can never have enough good corners. This is a passing league. We have a tough division and Te, he’s a tall, lengthy, press, man-to-man corner who we had graded high, and happy we have him… He’s played a lot of press man-to-man. Again, we play a variety of defenses with our system but he’s played a heavy amount of man-to-man coverage and press and he’s strong. He’s got good length. He’s got good quickness, good speed. And now we’ll just throw him in the mix with our guys and good to have him.”
Media Q&A with Deonte Banks: (Full Transcript)
2nd Round – OC John Michael Schmitz, 6’4”, 301lbs, 5.35, University of Minnesota
Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Sixth year senior. Four-year starter from Flossmoor, IL. Named All-Big Ten three straight years including a first team honor in 2022. Also named a first team All-American in his final season. Schmitz is the point guard of the offensive line, fully capable of making all the calls and directing traffic. He does all the little things right and it adds up to consistent, reliable play. He excels in the running game with his combination of heavy contact and excellent footwork. While he is not the most natural athlete, he makes up for a lot of the shortcomings with proper angles, spacing, and timing. He has a great feel for when to peel off to the next man and his hands do a lot of damage. The shortcomings as a pass blocker on an island and occasional lapse in body control can cause some concern, but the floor is high for Schmitz. Schmitz has the mental capacity and reliable run blocking to fit into any situation right away and compete for a starting job, but this is a low ceiling, high-floor kind of player.
*Want a plug and play center that will immediately become the mental leader of your line? Schmitz is your guy. Want a high-upside athlete that is going to eventually be one of the top players at the position in the league? Look elsewhere. Schmitz is a classic “is what he is” type prospect. You know what you are getting, you know what you are not. One negative I could see NYG having on him is the fact he never played a position other than center. In addition, the already-24 year-old simply lacks more area to chew up on the progression curve. Will he likely provide the best OC play this team has had since…O’Hara? Probably. The question is about positional value, and everyone has an opinion on that. I like Schmitz, as do many in the league. But he only becomes an option for me in round 3, and I think he is gone by then.
Joe Schoen’s Take: “Schmitz is a great guy… smart, tough, dependable, played a lot of ball. Had a great Senior Bowl. He’s a good player and a great kid.”
Brian Daboll’s Take: “This guy’s tough. He’s smart. He’s got a good frame. Former wrestler. Good leader. We’ll throw him in the mix, let him compete it out with the other guys and see how it ends up.”
Media Q&A with John Michael Schmitz: (Full Transcript)
3rd Round – WR Jalin Hyatt, 6’0”, 176lbs, 4.4, University of Tennessee
Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Junior entry. One year starter from Irmo, SC. First Team All American and SEC honors in addition to winning the Biletnikoff Award. Hyatt was one of the country’s breakout performers in 2022, leading the power five conferences with 15 touchdowns. Coming into the year, he had just 502 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He nearly tripled that in his junior season alone. This is the kind of speed that changes how an opposing defense plays. There is a lot of unknown in his game, however. He is inexperienced in contested situations, he rarely lined up outside, and the route running on anything besides vertical-routes needs a lot of refinement. While the speed is next-level and he will immediately become one of the best deep threats in the NFL early in his career, there is a lot that needs to be gained for Hyatt to be considered a formidable number one threat.
*The one prospect in this group that I would label THE swing for the fence is Hyatt. If you can recall my comparison for him, Will Fuller, and what he did for the Houston offense pre-injury (#1 in NFL in yards per target in 2020, #3 in 2018) you may want to consider taking him in the first round. Even though he is such a one-dimensional guy, his ability within that dimension is potentially special. And that dimension is also what every team in the league wants on offense and fears defensively. Credible deep speed that can get over and stay over the top of the defense. Throw in the fact he tracks and catches the ball at a high level and yes, he could easily end up a first rounder. Personally, I struggle with number of boxes that remain unchecked. The route tree, strength against contact, sudden change of direction, yards after contact. There is a lot to unwind here but I would be lying if I said he doesn’t excite me.
Joe Schoen’s Take: “He ran 4-3 and some change, and you could feel his speed on film. That’s legit. Just a player we liked, and we spent some time with, and we thought the value was good for what we had to give up to go get him… He can roll. I was at that Alabama game… You could really feel his speed. It’s legit 4-3.”
Brian Daboll’s Take: “I think he’s a good player. I think he runs some of the routes that we run here. You can see, a little bit like Gabe, how it might translate. But again, everything is new for him. He’s a young guy. We’ll throw him in the mix with the other receivers and let those guys compete it out. A good visit here. Definitely has some qualities that you like when you’re watching him. Good young man. So, happy we have him.”
Media Q&A with Jalin Hyatt: (Full Transcript)
5th Round – Eric Gray, 5’10”, 207lbs, 4.55, University of Oklahoma
Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Senior entry. Three-year starter from Memphis, TN. Spent two years at Tennessee before transferring to Oklahoma for his final two seasons. Second team All-Big 12 in 2022. Ended his career with almost double the usage and production of any other season in his career, finishing with the ninth most single-season rushing yards in Oklahoma history. Gray brings a tremendous physical profile and body to the table. He looks like he is manufactured in a running back factory and has the quality tape to back it up. He can fit into any running scheme but will be best suited for action between the tackles. There is where he can truly maximize the plus-burst, balance, and strength. Gray also has proven to carry a pair of elite hands as a receiver. While he may not end up with the best long speed in the group, Gray will create explosive plays with how decisive and violent he can run downhill while always maintaining the ability to abruptly stop and change direction. Gray is an ideally-built, versatile team player that fits into the every-down role at the next level.
*Gray was a favorite of mine when it came to the surface level scouting. He is not a very big guy, but he is huge in the right places. His lower half is put together almost like Saquon. His short limbs work well with the kind of movement we need to see out of running backs. Short, choppy, balanced movements that can get in and out of small spaces in a hurry. When he reaches the open field, he can be caught from behind but do not overlook just how much his burst can create initially. Gray is a guy that, if he hooks up with the right team (SF, PHI, BAL) – he is going to be a 1,000-yard rusher. An overlooked attribute in his game shows up as a receiver. He was targeted a lot (102 times last three years combined) and dropped just two of them, a very good number for anyone let alone a back with power.
Joe Schoen’s Take: “Eric Gray is a guy we liked. He was at the Senior Bowl. Played at Oklahoma and transferred from Tennessee. Super productive. Really good hands out of the backfield. Also has some elusiveness to him inside. Like what he brings. He also has done some returns in his past; he did some at Tennessee, comfortable catching punts at Senior Bowl. So again, he’ll come in and compete with our group. ”
Media Q&A with Eric Gray: (Full Transcript)
6th Round – CB Tre Hawkins III, 6’2”, 188lbs, 4.4, Old Dominion University
Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Fifth-year senior from Temple, TX. Spent two seasons at Trinity Valley Community College before transferring to Old Dominion. Had his first season there canceled due to Covid-19. He started two years on the outside and produced across the entire stat sheet. He puts together an impressive blend of tools catapulted by elite vertical speed and burst. Once he diagnoses the route, his reactionary skill are sudden, twitchy, and explosive. He does not hesitate against the run and will attack the ball carriers hands, forcing fumbles (six over his career). Hawkins III lacks the feel in zone coverage and is late to notice underneath routes, but the tools are all there to develop him into a quality backup down the road. Priority free agent.
Joe Schoen’s Take: “Tre Hawkins, we took him late in the sixth. From Old Dominion corner, height, weight, and speed prospect that has high upside. He’s a physical kid, not afraid to tackle. You see a trend with some of these guys that we took at that position. Good developmental prospect for Wink’s defense and projects well to special teams due to his physical traits and toughness.”
7th Round – DL Jordon Riley, 6’5”, 338lbs, 5.31, University of Oregon
Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Sixth-year senior from New Bern, NC. One-year starter who arrived at Oregon (his fourth stop) after stints at North Carolina, Nebraska, and Garden City Community College. Riley is a mammoth-sized interior defensive lineman who played his best football in his final year of eligibility. The natural bender shows an accurate punch with quality lockout. The ball location skills need work and he does not have much of a pass rush repertoire. He is overly reliant on the bull rush because of past knee issues, there is not much drive behind it. He is a long term-project who is older than the average prospect and will not offer a lot of versatility. FA/Camp Body
Joe Schoen’s Take: ” Jordon Riley, again, big body guy. It’s hard to find these guys. When you get into the 7th round, you are looking for guys that maybe it will be hard to get at different areas. And another guy we spent time with, big run stopper in there, 6’5, 330. He’ll compete for a depth role there… He’s at Oregon. You walk out to practice and there’s this 6-5, 330-pound guy, who piques your interest right there. Again, some of these guys in different schemes may not have the production, the tackles, the sacks. But for what Wink looks for in terms of size, length, knock back, he possesses those traits.”
7th Round – S Gervarrius Owens, 6’0”, 195lbs, 4.57, University of Houston
Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Fifth-year senior. Four-year starter from Moore, OK. Spent three seasons at Houston after transferring from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M where he also started and was a JUCO All-American. Owens was a cornerback for a year before transitioning to safety in 2020. His size and movement traits better with what we see in the middle but there is enough speed and fluidity to occasionally play a corner role here and there. Owens is an explosive, well-built missile from the back end that can really put his foot in the ground and go. His closing speed gets him to where he needs to be in a blink. Owens will flash big play ability, but he also flashes big mistake potential. He sells out on his initial read and will get caught by looks-offs and double routes routinely. The missed tackle rate also strengthens the “all or nothing” feel to his game. If he can channel some of the aggression and improve his ability to finish plays, Owens can be a starting caliber safety. If not, he will be a special teamer and quality backup.
*Similar to a player discussed above, Owens passes the initial test but once you watch a lot of his tape, it is easy to tell there is a lot of guessing in his game. If he can truly process the information and play at his highest rate of speed, he can be a player. Watch out for guys like this coming from a program that does not exactly invest in defensive resources. First exposure to high quality coaching could turn a light on. Owens has that kind of untapped upside. I like him a lot as a day three prospect.
Joe Schoen’s Take: “Gervarrius Owens, another guy we like, a tall, long, athletic safety from the University of Houston, was out at the East-West Game. Another physical kid. Projects well to special teams and also compete for a depth role.”
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
QB Tommy DeVito, 6’2”, 210lbs, 4.64, University of Illinois (Video)
Transfer from Syracuse, where he was benched. DeVito lacks height, but he is a physically tough quarterback. However, pressure can bother him and he needs to play with more consistency.
WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton, 6’3”, 224lbs, 4.38, West Virginia University (Video)
Wheaton combines excellent size, speed, and overall athletic ability. He can can high-point a ball and win contested catches. However, he is a poor route runner and should be more productive than he has been. Inconsistent hands.
TE/FB Ryan Jones, 6’3”, 247lbs, 4.78, East Carolina University
Jones caught 41 passes for 413 yards and five touchdowns in his final collegiate season.
OLB Habakkuk Baldonado, 6’5”, 260lbs, 4.78, University of Pittsburgh (Video)
Baldonado was born in Rome, Italy. He played defensive end in a 4-3 defense in college, but projects to edge in Wink Martindale’s defense. His best season was in 2021, when he had 9.5 sacks. Baldonado has good size and strength and he plays hard. However, he lacks ideal quickness as a pass rusher.
ILB Dyontae Johnson, 6’2’’, 230lbs, 4.76, University of Toledo
Johnson had 109 tackles, eight tackles for losses, three pass defenses, three sacks, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in his final collegiate season. He is productive and instinctive, but lacks ideal size and speed.
ILB Troy Brown, 6’1”, 220, 4.69, University of Mississippi
Brown lacks ideal size and and strength, but he diagnoses well and has proven to be productive (93 tackles in his final collegiate season).
CB Gemon Green, 6’2”, 186lbs, 4.52, University of Michigan (Video)
Green lacks ideal speed for the position, but he has experience in multiple coverages, including man. Green does not make many plays on the football. He plays a physical game but needs to be more consistent in run support.
S Alex Cook, 6’1’’, 196lbs, 4.68, University of Washington
Cook has average size and lacks ideal speed. He is an aggressive player who is better against the run. He does not make many plays on the football in the passing game. Team captain.
LS Cameron Lyons, 6’0’’, 225lbs, 5.00, University of North Carolina-Charlotte