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3 takeaways from the New York Giants’ 2023 NFL Draft

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen just finished conducting his second draft, and by all accounts, he knocked it out of the park.

Not only did the 43-year-old general manager address the team’s biggest needs, but he grabbed players that will add depth and help the team for years to come. A case could be made that few teams improved their roster as much as the Giants did.

If you’re a Giants fan, you have to be more optimistic and excited about the team after the draft than you did before.

Time will tell how New York’s 2023 Draft class will pan out. But for now, we’ll look at three takeaways from the draft.

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Joe Schoen will be an aggressive GM

NFL: Combine
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One thing we learned about Schoen is that if he likes a player, he’ll be aggressive in his pursuit of that player. In the first two days of the draft, he traded up to take a prospect that was high on his board.

First, he traded away the 160th and 240th picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars to move up from the 25th to the 24th overall pick to draft Deonte Banks. Then on Day 2, he dealt the 89th and 128th overall picks to the Los Angeles Rams to move up and take Jalin Hyatt with the 73rd overall pick.

Other general managers were content with staying put and taking the best player on their board when they were on the clock. But Schoen was not content on waiting to see which player fell in his lap. He saw an opportunity to move up and get the players he wanted, and he did just that.

As a result, with his first three selections, he was able to draft three players in Banks, John Michael Schmitz, and Hyatt, that were top 40 picks in most mock drafts. Banks and Schmitz are poised to be Day 1 starters, and Hyatt could be a starter by the end of the season.

Schoen’s aggressive nature bodes well for the team, not just for this year but going forward, as they know they have a GM that will make bold moves to improve the team.  

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Giants had Deonte Banks ranked significantly higher than Joey Porter Jr.

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With the Jacksonville Jaguars on the clock at pick No. 24, Deonte Banks and Joey Porter Jr. were still on the board. Both were seen as two of the best corners in the draft, and just about all mock drafts had Banks and Porter Jr. going in Round 1.

If New York stayed at 25, they were guaranteed to get one of the top corners, as they would have taken whichever corner the Jaguars didn’t take. You would think most teams had these two players rated similarly and New York would just stay at 25. But the Giants did not share the same sentiment as other teams. They clearly felt Banks was a much better fit for Wink Martindale’s press scheme than Porter.

“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.”

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll on the Deonte Banks selection

You never give up too much if you get the prospect you coveted when they turn out to be a great player, and the Giants feel their new corner will be a great fit for the team for years to come.

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Giants may have drafted their RB of the future in Eric Gray

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The Giants plan to reconvene contract talks with their star running back Saquon Barkley in hopes that they can agree on a contract extension. The team gave Barkley the franchise tag, which will pay him $10.09 million this season.

Obviously, the 26-year-old running back is unhappy with being tagged and didn’t attend the team’s voluntary workout a few weeks ago. But, if a deal doesn’t get worked out and 2023 is Barkley’s last season with Big Blue, then they may have drafted Barkley’s replacement in fifth-round pick (172nd overall) in Eric Gray.

In his four years in college with Tennessee and Oklahoma, the versatile Gray rushed 549 times for 3,089 yards and 21 touchdowns and had 99 receptions for 827 yards and five receiving touchdowns. Barring an injury to Barkley or Matt Breida, Gray may see limited time in New York’s backfield this season. However, he could be thrust into being the starter in 2024 if Barkley is playing elsewhere.

The franchise has found good fortune in the past in draft running backs in the mid to late rounds, as they did with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, and hope Gray is the next late-round back to have a productive career with the team.

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