This is my sixth New York Giants three-round mock draft of this cycle. The names are starting to blur together and, at least to me, the drafts are following familiar patters.
This week I used the Pro Football Network simulator and rejected all trades. I followed the PFN Big Board as much as I could. As we close in on the real 2023 NFL Draft I will try to begin honing in more on specific targets. This version of the mock turns out to be a fairly standard scenario.
Round 1 (No. 25) — Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
There are questions about Hyatt’s route tree and ability to play outside after playing mostly in the slot in the Tennessee offense.
“In Coach [Josh] Heupel’s offense, we spread it out and look for matchups we don’t run the regular pro-style offense that a lot of teams run obviously with league runs,” Hyatt said. “I can’t wait to show my routes. I can run routes. Being in Coach Heupel’s offense, you see a lot of vertical things, this-and-that but I can’t wait to prove what I can do other that going deep - what I can do underneath what I can do when I get the ball in my hand. I just can’t wait to showcase that.”
Here, I’m betting on Hyatt’s athletic tools. He ran a 4.4 40-yard dash, with a 40-inch vertical and 11-foot, 4-inch broad jump. He measured 6-foot, 176 pounds.
Hyatt had hoped to run faster, and this might have something to do with why he did not:
#Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt, who ran a 4.40 40, felt tightness in hamstring doing position work, I'm told. He shut it down today out of caution and will be ready for his Pro Day on March 30th.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2023
33rd Team says:
Jalin Hyatt is dynamic and polished, who is as good of a receiver as he is an athlete. Hyatt is ready to make an impact immediately for whoever drafts him due to his skillset and top-end speed.
I thought about linebackers Trenton Simpson here, but chose to snap one of the wide receivers.
As we get closer and closer to the actual 2023 NFL Draft, it is going to be interesting to see how evaluators end up ranking Hyatt, Smith Njigba, Zay Flowers, Quentin Johnston of TCU and others. I did not select him here, and he apparently did not meet with the Giants at the Combine, but I continue to feel like Flowers is a Brian Daboll type wide receiver.
Other players considered: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson; Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee; Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College; Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas; O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida; John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Round 2 (No. 57) — Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
In past mock drafts I have been reluctant to select Campbell at this point in the draft. Coming off a combine where he performed better athletically than many anticipated, I go ahead and make that selection.
Campbell is the last of the Big Three of off-ball linebackers on the board, and that is a position the Giants absolutely need to upgrade. This what 33rd Team wrote before the combine:
Jack Campbell is a big-bodied and strong-willed linebacker who plays with good awareness against the run and pass. He lacks top-end athleticism and movement skills, leaning more on his instincts and IQ to compensate.
Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid is somehow still on the board here, but I doubt that will really happen. Pittsburgh tackle Calijah Kancey might make sense. The two interior offensive linemen — center Joe Tippmann of Wisconsin and center-guard Steve Avila of TCU also make sense, except that we have been hearing talk of the Giants possibly bringing back both Jon Feliciano and Nick Gates.
Other players considered: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah; Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama; Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh; Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin; Steve Avila, C-G, TCU
Round 3 (No. 89) — Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
Giants general manager Joe Schoen has talked a lot about the need to improve the team’s depth along the defensive line. Thus, Benton is the selection here. Benton and Campbell also address the 2022 Giants’ weakness against the run.
33rd Team says:
Keeanu Benton is a strong and athletic defensive tackle who can reset the line of scrimmage or quickly press open an edge. He plays stout against the run and can create pressure versus the passing attack of an offense.
Other players considered: Byron Young, DT, Alabama; Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State; Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina; Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas;
Round 3 (No. 100) — Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina
I do believe the Giants will look to get Wink Martindale help at cornerback, and that if the value matches up they will do it earlier than this. At 6-foot-2, 198 pounds with 33+-inch arms Rush has the size and length Martindale craves.
Pro Football Network says:
Rush might not have an elite athletic tool in his arsenal. But at 6’2″, he brings more than enough explosiveness and speed to work with. He’s also very agile and fluid for his size, with the hip flexibility to snap around and lock down the top of routes ...
Rush has the foot speed, length, physicality, adaptability, and sharp fluidity to grow into an above-average starter on the boundary, with flexibility across schemes.
Other players considered: Kendre Miller, RB, TCU; Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford; Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa; Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan; Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane; Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pittsburgh