NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah hosted a marathon 2023 NFL Draft conference call with media hungry for draft information on Friday. Below, some of the New York Giants-related takeaways from the more than two-hour long session.
Tight ends a-plenty
The Giants drafted Daniel Bellinger in Round 4 a year ago, and he had a promising rookie campaign in 2022. The Giants still need more at the tight end position. Adding to that group is another way of giving quarterback Daniel Jones more potential playmakers in the passing game.
Jeremiah said Friday that “the tight end group is the best I’ve seen in the last 10 years. It’s outstanding.”
Jeremiah said he has 11 tight ends with grades that make them worthy of being selected in the top three rounds, a number he called “ridiculous.”
Jeremiah has been banging the drum for Utah’s Dalton Kincaid as the best tight end in the class. He has Kincaid ranked No. 9 on his top 50 prospects list.
Here is what Jeremiah said on Friday about Kincaid:
“I know he is coming off of an injury right now and I know he is kind of more of a flex tight end, but Dalton Kincaid from Utah is — I think he is a big-time player. I think he is one of my favorite players to watch in this draft. I think he is one of the best players in the draft.
“He is just sudden in everything that he does. He separates. He is outstanding after the catch. You know, he can win on contact over the middle of the field. He is really, really good after the catch. You know, as a blocker, he is going to more shield you and wall off.
“I don’t like when you compare guys to all-time great players, but just in his movement stuff, he moves, he kind of looks likes [Travis] Kelce just the way he moves in and out of breaks. He is a really, really good player. I think he’s — I really liked Zach Ertz when he was coming out, the year he was coming out. I think he is a better version of Zach Ertz.”
Jeremiah said that when he talks to NFL teams they generally regard Kincaid, Michael Mayer of Notre Dame, Darnell Washington of Georgia and Luke Musgrave of Oregon State as the top four tight ends in the draft class.
Jeremiah was asked about wide receivers who fit the mold of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis of the Buffalo Bills. Considering where GM Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll came from, his answer should pique the interest of Giants fans.
“I love Zay Flowers,” Jeremiah said. “I know he is not the biggest guy in the world at a little over 5’9”, 182 pounds, but he is a clone to TY Hilton. I pulled this up today. When you look at their numbers, TY Hilton and Zay Flowers, it is — Flowers is 5’9”½; Hilton is 5’9”½. Flowers 182 pounds; Hilton 183 pounds. Wingspan, 73.5 to 73⅛. We’ll see the testing when they run and all that.
“It’s one of those deals when you watch, gosh, he reminds me of TY Hilton, and then when you pull the numbers they’re like twins. I think he is a great player. I think he is going to go somewhere into the late first into the early second round. We’ll see how he runs, but I’m a big fan of his.”
On Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee, another player who has been connected to the Giants:
“The vertical stuff is what he does best, but I’ve seen him — I’ve seen him flash the ability to get in and out of breaks. He just doesn’t do a ton of it. My thing with him is I think there’s a high floor, because worst case scenario he is going to stretch the field. He is going to take the top off of defenses. You’ll be able to put him in the slot and be able to run deep overs and run verticals.
“You can just pitch him the ball and let him do some things after the catch with his speed. He is not super elusive. He is going to need work to develop the full route tree. That’s not going to happen right away.
“I think in the immediate term you have an elite field stretcher, so I think you’ve got to know what you are buying there and know what that role is going to be.”
Here is Jeremiah on a few other wide receiver options:
“Quentin Johnston can fly. He can really run. I know Nathaniel Dell is undersized. He is tiny. He is 5’8” and a half, 163 pounds. He is like Marquise Brown. Big-time, big-time juice and acceleration. He has really good hands. He is a good player. He can fly.
“Tyler Scott from Cincinnati I think is probably going to go on Day 2 somewhere. He is vertical, can really go. He can take the top off.
“Charlie Jones I think you’ll see run well from Purdue. Marvin Mims, probably more mid-4.4. Type speed from Oklahoma but an overall good receiver, good route runner, and can get vertical if you need him to do that.
“There’s going to be options throughout the draft if you want guys that can roll and get on top of coverage.”
Cornerback class is loaded
Jeremiah said he has 20 cornerbacks who grade as potential picks in Rounds 1-3.
“I think it’s a really good group of corners,” Jeremiah said.
“When I talk about those corners carrying top three round grades, I think those guys are all starters. Whether you want to say he is a No. 2 corner, whatever, he is out on the field when the starting lineup rolls out there. I think there’s 20 of those guys.”
The Giants could certainly use help there, and you have to think they will be diving into the draft’s cornerback pool.
A “sweet spot” that might be perfect for the Giants
How does this Jeremiah quote sit with you, Giants fans?
“Depth-wise, I think there’s a sweet spot, and I think you can look at different positions and find sweet spots. Again, I think I would love to have third-round picks and need corners, running backs, tight ends. I think there’s — it’s just a really, really good group to choose from there. I think this is a good group of guys in that area.”
Trenton Simpson watch
Jeremiah said the Clemson linebacker, who is often connected to the Giants late in Round 1, is going to put on a show at the Combine and is a borderline first-round player.
“Trenton Simpson is going to run. He is probably going to run in the 4.4s. He is going to jump out of the gym. I think he will put on a Devon White-type workout show,” he said.
“With him, the same thing I was just talking about with Tindall, the linebacker from last year. It’s just how well do you see things? Sometimes if you get clear sight lines, he can see it, he can go, you will see that burst. He is off the edge. You’ll see him blitz. You will see him chase plays laterally. He has tremendous, tremendous juice.
“It’s just sometimes in the trash there you kind of get lost a little bit amidst all those bodies. That’s the only knock on him. That’s the only concern.”
Jeremiah did add one caveat with Simpson that might attract the Giants’ attention.
“I would not be shocked at all if he went in the first round. I know one thing. If you want to — if you are in a division with an athletic quarterback, like if you were in the — if you were in the NFC East with Jalen Hurts and you want to have somebody that can play that role and be a spy and be able to mirror and just close those alleys, this dude is unbelievable when he spies the quarterback.”
Assessing the quarterback class
Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson will all come off the board in Round 1. Jeremiah said many NFL teams consider Richardson to be QB2 behind Young, based purely on tools and upside.
“Anthony Richardson is the second quarterback for several teams that I talked to. We can look at the numbers. It doesn’t look great on paper. You look at the accuracy and this, that, and the other; and he has elite, elite arm strength. He is a rare athlete.
“You don’t see quarterbacks running away from LSU with 80-yard touchdown runs. Like, he has big-time, big-time ceiling, big-time ability.
“You know, you can find the games. If you want to fall in love with Anthony Richardson, you pop on Utah and you think he is the first pick in the draft. Even Missouri he made some big-time plays in that game.
“I know it’s a little bit of a roller coaster. I know he hasn’t played a ton, but teams are starting to look at some of these quarterbacks as lottery tickets, and this one has the biggest pay-out.
“That’s why I think you’re going to see Richardson go pretty high.”
Jeremiah thinks the fifth quarterback is Tennesee’s Hendon Hooker, and her is bullish on Hooker’s chance to be an NFL starter.
“I know he is older, but I think he has a chance to be a starter, be a solid starter,” Jeremiah said. “I’ll just say when you are evaluating him, the accuracy, the decision-making, the poise, the athleticism to be able to move around and create with his legs to throw as well as to run, all those things are all there. If we just put the offense to one side and say he has all these skills and all that is there for you to see so there’s going to be an adjustment. I know the age. The age doesn’t bother me as much as maybe some other people.
“If you told me you draft Hendon Hooker in the second round and he is your starting quarterback for seven, eight really good years, I think you take it.”