The New York Giants entered the 2023 NFL Draft with some clear needs and ammunition to move up and secure players that they wanted, and that was the theme of Joe Schoen's strategy in the first two days of the draft. The Giants got rave reviews because of their early picks in Deonte Banks, John Michael Schmitz and Jalin Hyatt. Each of those players addressed needs, and the perception was that the value was good at where the Giants selected those players.
The three main needs for the Giants were viewed as wide receiver, cornerback and center. Those three picks filled those needs. Joe Schoen's team did not have many picks on day three because of the trades they made on days one and two, he was clearly targeting specific players and positions. Even then, the Giants made an intriguing pick with running back Eric Gray in the fifth round. With that being said, here are grades for every pick made by the Giants in the NFL Draft.
New York Giants 2023 NFL Draft Grades
Round 1, Pick 24- CB Deonte Banks (Maryland)
The Giants came into the NFL Draft with their top needs at wide receiver and cornerback, and based on the way the board fell, general manager Joe Schoen moved up and got his guy in Deonte Banks out of Maryland when he felt he needed to. That is a theme for this draft for the Giants.
With the four potential wide receiver targets in Jaxon Smith-Njigba Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison coming off the board with picks 20-23, Joe Schoen felt he had to move up. The Giants sent the 25th overall pick along with a 5th-round pick which was 160th overall and a 7th-round pick which was 240th overall to the Jaguars to move up to the 24th pick in the first round.
Cornerback was unquestionably the pick, just a matter of if it would be Joey Porter Jr. or Deonte Banks. The Giants went with Deonte Banks, a press man corner who is a great fit for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale's scheme. Martindale was visibly excited by the pick, shaking Joe Schoen in celebration. The Giants filled a top need with a super athletic corner in Banks who has a ton of upside. A lot to like with this pick.
Round 2, Pick 57- C John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota)
Schoen downplayed many times this offseason the urgency to add a center, but looking at the depth chart with the departure of Jon Feliciano, it was too logical that the Giants would pick an interior offensive lineman at some point. When the Giants were on the clock at 57, John Michael Schmitz out of Minnesota just made too much sense.
It was a toss up between John Michael Schmitz and Wisconsin's Joe Tippmann for best center in the draft. Schmitz was even mocked in the first round some leading up, including to the Giants at 25. Now, the Giants can have some hope with their offensive line as a second-round pick. Andrew Thomas is already elite at left tackle. Evan Neal struggled in his rookie year, but was a top-10 pick and the hope is he develops in year two.
The guard spots are open for competition with a couple of guys, but there are some past mid-round picks that the Giants hope to develop. Now, with John Michael Schmitz in the fold, he should solidify the center spot. He is viewed as a safe pick, which is exactly what the Giants need on the interior. This was a no-brainer.
Round 3, Pick 73- WR Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee)
It was noted with the selection of Deonte Banks that Joe Schoen not being afraid to move up to get his guys was a theme in this draft, and he did it again with the selection of Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt.
The Giants gave up their third-round pick which was No. 89 overall and their fourth-round pick which was 128th-overall in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams to move up to No. 73 overall and secure Hyatt.
Wide receiver was noted as one of the Giants' biggest needs, and Jalin Hyatt got first-round buzz. The Tennessee offense did not ask Hyatt to do much from a route standpoint, but anyone who has watched him play knows that speed is his game. He ran by defenders even when they were planning for it.
Hyatt does not necessarily have Tyreek Hill-type speed, but it is still elite. The fastest receiver the Giants had last year was Darius Slayton. Now, Hyatt is the best deep threat. He will have to develop from a route-running standpoint, but in the third round, this is worth an investment. The best part is that if Hyatt does not turn into a wide receiver one, the pick can still be worth it.
Schoen did give up the Giants' fourth-round pick to move up, but with the need at wide receiver, moving up for someone with an elite trait like Hyatt's speed is worth moving up for at that point.
Round 5, Pick 172- RB Eric Gray (Oklahoma)
Even if the Giants had Saquon Barkley signed to a long-term deal like they seem to want, Oklahoma running back Eric Gray would be a worthwhile pick at this spot. This is about the range that you can find real value in the running back position in the draft.
Gray had a knack for making the first guy miss in his time at Oklahoma. With Barkley having a lengthy injury history, and even playing banged up a bit while getting a lot of touches in the 2022 season, Gray could be a nice player to have to give Barkley a spell. He could be an upgrade over Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell.
Round 6, Pick 209- CB Tre Hawkins (Old Dominion)
This is where you get into the lottery ticket range in the NFL Draft. The selection of Old Dominion cornerback Tre Hawkins is betting on an athlete.
Hawkins is an athletic corner who needs to work on his techniques and fundamentals. With defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson having such a good reputation around the league, getting him an athlete like Hawkins is not a bad strategy in the later rounds. It will be interesting to see if Hawkins can factor in on special teams as well.
Round 7, Pick 243- DT Jordon Riley (Oregon)
The Giants had a couple of seventh-round picks, and they took defensive tackle Jordon Riley out of Oregon with one of them. Riley is not much of an athlete, but his size is the reason for the pick. He is 6-foot-5 and 338 pounds, and was a run stuffer at Oregon.
The Giants struggled stopping the run last season, so it makes sense to take a shot here. However, as an athlete, Riley is not much to write home about. Like all seventh-round picks, he is probably not someone who will factor into playing in games, especially with the interior defensive line the Giants have.
Round 7, Pick 254- S Gervarrius Owens (Houston)
Gervarrius Owens started four years at Houston, and he has some fundamentals at the safety position before the catch. However, after the catch he misses many tackles, leading to yards after the catch.
Do not expect Owens to factor into the safety position in the 2023 season.