Giants 2023 NFL Draft Report Card: Grading Big Blue’s picks

Giants head coach Brian Daboll and GM Joe Schoen

Giants head coach Brian Daboll and GM Joe Schoen / USA TODAY Sports/SNY Treated Image

The 2023 NFL Draft came, and the 2023 NFL Draft went. It was a good one for the Giants who managed to marry best available with need.

Here’s the instant report card of the team’s selections.

Round 1, Pick 24: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Give Joe Schoen a lot of credit. He saw the run on receivers and didn’t want to run the risk of the same happening at cornerback, so he traded up to get Banks. The Giants selected him over Joey Porter Jr., which was a little surprising, but his upside and raw potential make him a potentially better player long-term.

Cornerback was considered to be one of the better positions in this year’s draft, and Banks was one of the class’s best. He expects to slide in as a starter from Day 1.

Grade: A

Round 2, Pick 57: John Michael Schmitz, OL, Minnesota

The Giants need an infusion of talent. The downside to their successful season last year, which included a playoff victory, is that their draft position plummeted. It was on Schoen to try to find value and he did that in Michael Schmitz, a player many believed to be the top center in the draft. He’ll slide in Week 1 as a starter and provide a steadying presence to a group that already features first-round picks at left and right tackle (Andrew Thomas, Evan Neal).

Grade: A

Round 3, Pick 73: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

It’s hard to find anything wrong with this selection. Schoen found good value at a position of need in the third round. Is Hyatt a perfect prospect? No, but that’s why he was a third-round pick.

What he is is someone who can contribute as a deep threat on Day 1, while working to refine his route tree to become an every-down player. He has the potential to be a No. 2 on offense and a weapon for Daniel Jones to use for years to come.

Grade: A

Round 5, Pick 172: Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma

The Giants and Saquon Barkley find themselves in a stalemate, but this selection is more about adding to the running back room than replacing arguably the offense’s most dynamic player. The Giants needed another back and got one. This is a good spot for the Giants to take a back, too, as Schoen has made it clear he doesn’t believe drafting the position highly is a smart use of resources. One note on Gray: He caught 99 passes over his four-year college career. Receiving isn’t exactly one of Barkley’s strong suits.

Grade: B

Round 6, Pick 209: Tre Hawkins, CB, ODU

Hawkins is a developmental project (as most sixth-round picks are). It will be fun to see what defensive coordinator Wink Martindale can turn him into. He had eight pass breakups and two interceptions last season. Adding team speed was clearly a priority for the Giants. Hawkins does that, too. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Round 7, Pick 243: Jordon Riley, DT, Oregon

Riley is 6-foot-5 and 338 pounds. He ran a 5.28 40-yard dash. He should provide solid depth to the defensive line. A little alarming: Riley wasn’t among the 401 players listed in “The Beast” scouting guide from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. also did not have a scouting report on him.

Grade: D

Round 7, Pick 254: Gervarrius Owens, S, Houston

The Giants found some good value in Owens here. He’s a free safety who can play zone and man. Some believed he could go in the fifth round. He needs to improve his tackling, but in the seventh, it’s hard to complain.

Grade: B

Overall class of 2023

It’s hard not to come away impressed with the Giants’ class. No one actually knows how these kids are going to pan out, but the Giants seemed to perfectly marry the cliché “best player available” approach while also filling their needs. Take their first three picks for example. The Giants’ biggest needs entering the draft were cornerback, center and receiver. So, with their first three picks, they took a corner, center and receiver. None of the selections were considered a reach, either.

The Giants impressively rounded out their draft on Day 3. Gray will contribute the moment he walks into the facility and brings something Barkley doesn’t — receiving ability.

Brian Daboll received a ton of credit for the Giants’ on-field success last year. He deserved it, too. He took a talent-deprived roster to the playoffs and won a game. It showed the Giants have the right man on the sideline.

You didn’t quite know what New York had in Schoen yet, though. He didn’t have a chance to really do anything his first offseason because of the financial turmoil Dave Gettleman left him in. It’s hard not to be equally confident in Schoen now after seeing what he was able to accomplish. The draft, where it’s clear he wants to build the team, may have been the most promising.

The Giants didn’t have multiple first-round picks or a Top 10 selection, yet Schoen still looks like he came away with legitimate players throughout.

Overall Grade: A

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