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2023 NFL Draft tracker: What offensive prospects are on the Giants’ radar?

What college offensive players are the Giants expressing interest in?

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

NFL teams are very thorough, and the New York Giants are in the woods of the NFL draft season. The Giants added several cheap veteran options with upside and star tight end Darren Waller in free agency. Big Blue’s roster is rounding into form, but there’s still work to be done by Joe Schoen and the Giants’ staff.

It’s customary that NFL teams meet with every prospect coming into the draft; it can be a brief encounter with an area scout at the Reese’s Senior Bowl or dinner with the general manager or head coach. Every team attempts to deduce a player’s personality and what makes them tick.

I mention this because a prospect meeting with a team doesn’t necessarily signify that a team will highly pursue that player. Top-30 visits are a different story, and we’ll go through the purported visits at the combine, pro day circuit, and the private workouts that are deemed Top-30 visits.

A list assembled by tracks prospect visits around the NFL. But before we get into the list of offensive players, let’s take a peek at who the Giants are supposedly wining and dining.

Dinner dates

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Yes, he’s predominantly a slot receiver; yes, the Giants have Sterling Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson, Parris Campbell, and Jamison Crowder on their roster, but their presence shouldn’t preclude the Giants from exploring Smith-Njigba, who missed the majority of 2022 with a hamstring issue.

As Joe Schoen stated at the Owner’s Meetings in Arizona, he has a lot of faith in the Giants' training staff. It didn’t appear like Schoen was overly concerned about soft-tissue injuries, and few players have the type of concept understanding and intelligence while running routes than Smith-Njigba - that will certainly appeal to this coaching staff.

However, Smith-Njigba will likely be selected by pick 25. He’s a great football player and will be a dynamic receiver in the NFL for a long time.

Prior to Zay Flowers’ pro day, the Giants were reportedly one of two teams that took him out for dinner. The Giants are expressing interest in leaving the door open for a wide receiver at pick 25. Flowers would fit well with this offense, and there are few - if any - wide receivers in this draft with his route-running ability at all three levels of the field.

He was the Boston College offense. He’s undersized, but he would be a great addition to the Giants. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissaro, the Giants are also reportedly expecting to have Flowers in for a Top-30 visit - after taking him out to dinner at his pro day.

Top-30 visits

There hasn’t been a ton of information leaked about the top 30 visits yet. Flowers was one, and Tennesee quarterback Hendon Hooker was another.

Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

Hooker has the arm talent to make all the NFL throws. He took college football by storm after defeating Alabama in Week 7; he threw 385 yards and five touchdowns to WR Jalin Hyatt in the victory. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL late in the season, and he’s currently the same age as Daniel Jones (25).

I like the thought of Hooker as a developmental quarterback. He has obvious talent, an impressive arm, and leadership qualities. However, he did play in an air raid offense that is unconventional by NFL standards. He’ll likely be selected before the Giants pick in the second round.

Payne Durham, TE, Purdue has the Giants hosting Durham on a Top-30 visit. I couldn’t confirm it, but I like the idea of Durham on day three. This is a very deep tight-end class, and most of them are dual-threat - can block and receive. He caught 56 of 77 passes for 560 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022.

He caught my eye when I watched Purdue vs. Illinois; he had one reception where he hurdled star CB Devon Witherspoon and another defender before running through a poor tackle attempt by safety Sydney Brown. He’s 6’6, 253 pounds, had a lackluster combine, and loses slow enough as a blocker to warrant respect in the trenches. He’s a day-three option if the Giants want to add another tight end.

Combine visits

The combine is a busy week for players and NFL teams. Some teams have yet to meet many underclassmen at the all-star circuit, meaning they’re likely scrambling for 15-minute interviews. Each team is afforded sixty 15-minute interviews. Here are the offensive listed players that the Giants met with at the combine.

Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Jordan Schultz of thescore reported that Richardson met with the Giants at the combine. The allure of a player with his type of athletic ability and upside is appealing, to say the least. New York did their due diligence, as they should, but Richardson will be selected well before the Giants pick.

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

There hasn’t been a running back prospect like Bijan Robinson since Saquon Barkley in 2018. Wouldn’t it be poetic if the Giants selected him? Joking, but it would make for a storyline! Robinson is insanely talented and will significantly help any offense in the league. The Giants' biggest need is certainly not a running back, even though Saquon Barkley’s future is uncertain. It’s a deep class, and the Giants may add to their running back room, but certainly not in the first round.

Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn

Bigsby is a very sudden athlete with impressive change-of-direction skills on tape. He didn’t test well at the combine, but he’s a quick cutter who could improve his vision and decisiveness as a runner. His tape against Mississippi State and Ole Miss were very good, but he did disappear at times against better competition. He’s a sufficient receiver, he can pass protect, and he’s a physical runner that the Giants should explore somewhere on day three.

Jordan Addison, WR, USC

With the interest expressed in Smith-Njigba and Flowers, I’m not shocked to see the Giants poking around with Addison. The 2021 Biletnikoff didn’t have an exceptional combine, but his tape speaks for itself. He was the engine of Pitt’s offense with Kenny Pickett, and his role changed a bit at USC this past season.

His production dipped from 100 catches on 144 targets for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021 to 59 catches on 79 targets for 875 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2022. There were a lot of designed touches in USC’s offense for him, and he aligned much more on the outside. Defenses were aware of his threat with quarterback Caleb Williams. Despite the statistical drop, his catch rate improved dramatically - he only dropped two passes in 2022. Addison could be an option for the Giants in the first round.

Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Johnston has an elite combination of athletic ability, size, and length that assists him as a dangerous deep threat, but he’s also an effective weapon at all three levels of the field. One of Johnston’s best traits is the ability to get vertical and make the first man miss after securing a catch on a route facing the quarterback (curl, comebacks, etc.); for that, he’s the ideal fit for a Jason Garrett led offense.

His success is not limited to stagnant routes because he’s dynamic running vertically or horizontally with excellent speed, burst, and acceleration. There’s a lot to appreciate about his game, but he does leave some to be desired. He’s more of a body catcher who doesn’t thrive in contested catch situations, despite his size. His route tree was also limited, and he’ll likely have to refine his route running and release package at the next level. However, I understand the appeal and Johnston has a ton of upside.

Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Hooker’s teammate Jalin Hyatt also met with the Giants at the combine. Hyatt’s a pure speed threat with an elite ability to stretch the field. He tracks the football well into his hands. As previously mentioned, he dominated one of the best defensive minds in football history after scoring five touchdowns and going north of 200 yards against Alabama.

The Giants desperately need to add explosive playmakers on offense. Tight end Darren Waller certainly helps, but they’ll likely look for speed at the wide receiver position at some point in the draft. Hyatt may only be available to the Giants at 25, trades excluded. I don’t think that’s the most prudent course of action for a player with one year of college production.

Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati

Scott is another explosive playmaker who can take the top off of defenses. He caught 55 of 88 passes for 904 yards and nine touchdowns while running 96.5% of his snaps out wide. He’s only 5’10, 177 pounds with a 30 7/8” catch radius. There will be concerns about him playing out wide and defeating press, due to size, but he’s a talented player with exceptional athletic ability.

He ran a 4.44 with a 1.51 ten-yard split and a ridiculous 39 1/2” vertical with over an eleven-foot broad jump - explosive. Scott should be a target for the Giants early on day three if they forgo the wide receiver position on day one.

Rakim Jarrett, WR, Maryland

Jarrett was a five-star recruit out of St. John’s High School in Washington, D.C. Despite his pedigree, he had modest production at Maryland. He finished three seasons with 178 targets, caught 120 of them for 1,557 yards and ten touchdowns. He’s got solid size at 6’0, 192 pounds, and a solid baseline of athletic traits, but his 18.2% collegiate contested catch rate did not help him earn snaps in high-leverage situations.

Jalen Wanye, WR, South Alabama

Jalen Wayne is the cousin of Reggie Wayne. He caught 57 of 100 passes for 812 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022. He has the whole Van Wilder thing going on - he started his college career in 2017 as a hybrid playmaker. I haven’t watched his tape yet, so I have little to opine upon.

Pro days

There weren’t many players on the pro day list, and these lists are not comprehensive. I’m sure the Giants have met with plenty more than the players in this article. Wide receivers Zay Flowers and Jaxon Smith-Njigba spent time at dinner with the Giants as listed above; here are other players on the list.

Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane

Just a fun running back to watch. Tyjae Spears is an excellent athlete with all the necessary movement skills, speed, and ability to make defenders miss in tight spaces. He is a capable receiving threat who may have more to offer than we witnessed throughout his college career; he also competes his backside off when tasked to block. Still, his size is an issue that must be addressed.

Spears has plays where he notices holes right before or as they open, but there are also plays of indecision against more crowded areas, which isn’t surprising. He’s a better threat in space and does an exceptional job timing his unique agility to force missed tackles versus pursuit defenders. He will make for a very impressive change of pace back, who teams will love. He has starting upside, but he isn’t a pile mover, nor will he be a twenty-touch-a-game type of player. The combination of Spears and Saquon Barkley would be dynamic.

Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska

Another field-stretching explosive playmaker! Palmer had a very productive 2022 season after entering the transfer portal in 2021. He played his first three years at LSU and was a situational receiver and special teams threat - a talented special teams threat, at that. Still, wanted his overall skill set to flourish, so he transferred to Nebraska.

Palmer caught 71 balls on 110 targets for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022. He also had ten drops which is problematic, but Palmer has clocked 22 miles per hour and ran a 4.33 at the combe with a 1.51 ten-yard split. He also has the pedigree of a four-star recruit. A day-three swing on Palmer makes sense for a team like the Giants.

Juice Scruggs, IOL, Penn State

Scruggs started in the last two years and has extensive experience playing center and right guard. He was the starting center for the Nittany Lions in 2022, and only allowed one sack with fourteen pressures. He finishes his career with only three sacks allowed and thirty-seven pressures surrendered. I haven’t watched Scruggs’ tape yet, but a name to monitor as the Giants look to create competition along the interior offensive line.