After the New York Giants added cornerback Deonte Banks, center John Michael Schmitz, and wide receiver Jalin Hyatt in the first two days of the draft, GM Joe Schoen turned his attention to Day 3. The Giants found a running back to compliment Saquon Barkley, and, possibly help form a committee in the future.
Schoen also added two defensive backs and a massive defensive lineman who played with four programs in college. Here’s a quick breakdown of each player.
Round 5 (No. 172) — Eric Gray (RB, Oklahoma)
The presumption that the Giants would invest in the running back position in a very deep running back class was correct and is sensible with Saquon Barkley’s uncertain future. Eric Gray transferred to Oklahoma from Tennessee after the 2020 season. He was productive at both programs and finished his college career with 549 carries for 3,089 yards (5.6 YPC) with 21 rushing touchdowns to go with 99 catches for 827 yards and five receiving touchdowns.
Gray had a 37½-inch vertical jump and a 9’10 broad jump at the combine but waited for his pro day for the rest of his athletic testing. Gray ran a 4.62 40-yard-dash, a 1.55 10-yard-split, with a 4.10 short shuttle and a 7.17 three-cone, with 12 reps of 225-pounds on the bench.
The 23-year-old is quicker than he is fast with good vision at the line of scrimmage. Gray doesn’t have home-run speed, but his 58 missed tackles forced ranked 23rd overall in the FBS last season. He has solid overall contact balance and isn’t a pile mover, but his nimble footwork helps him see more arm-tackle attempts that he can run through.
Gray’s best traits from the film I have seen are his vision and his elusiveness in space. He’s also a competent pass catcher who did align sparingly in the slot. Gray has third-down potential and could work in a committee for the Giants in the future.
According to those close to Oklahoma’s program, Gray played through several injuries, and the coaches rave about his toughness - we know that appealed to this Giants’ team. This is good value for the Giants, as they continue to add good football players who fit their style and culture.
Round 6 (No. 209) — Tre Hawkins III (CB, Old Dominion)
I haven’t seen much film on Hawkins - give me some time - but I like the idea of adding a big-bodied cornerback who tested as well as he did at his pro day. Hawkins is just under 6-2, 188 pounds with 32⅛-inch arms, nine-inch hands, and a 77¾-inch wingspan, which is slightly more than Giants’ first-round pick Deonte Banks.
Hawkins started his college career at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. He transferred after the canceled 2020 season and started all 25 games through two seasons at Old Dominion. He recorded 14 passes defended and two interceptions. He set a school record for cornerbacks with 76 tackles in 2021; he also blocked a field goal in 2022.
The Giants used a top-30 visit on Hawkins, who was one of few top-30 visits who weren’t projected as top-100 selections. At the least, the Giants believe he can be an asset on special teams. I’ll report back once I see the tape, but I’m not going to complain about a day three long athletic defensive back from a small program.
Round 7 (No. 243) — Jordon Riley (IDL, Oregon)
Riley is a 6-5, 338-pound interior defensive lineman who is an older prospect who was initially recruited by North Carolina in 2017. He played in two games in 2017 with four tackles, and redshirt in 2018 before transferring to Garden City (Kan.) Community College. He enrolled with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2020 and entered the transfer portal after the 2021 season, where he landed with Oregon.
Riley played 534 snaps between the three FBS schools he attended. Riley ran a 5.28 40, a 1.89 10-yard-split, an 8.21 three-cone, a 4.76 short-shuttle, with a 25-inch vertical, and an 8’6 broad jump. He has 10-inch hands with 33⅜-inch arm length and an 81¼-inch wingspan.
This is the second consecutive season where the Giants selected an older - very large - interior defensive lineman on day three. Last year it was DJ Davidson out of Arizona State. Adding developmental options to the Giants defensive line is a wise move, and Riley joins Davidson in - what is now thankfully - a deep defensive line room for 2023.
Round 7 (No. 254) — Gervarrius Owens (SAF, Houston)
I’m looking forward to watching Owens tape, but he’s an average-sized safety with good length, who ran a 4.56 40, 1.54 10-yard-split, with a 4.09 short-shuttle, and a 6.75 three-cone. Here are some stats on Owens:
Gervarrius Owens recorded 171 total tackles with a 15.1% missed tackle rate.— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) April 29, 2023
His catch percentage was 64.7%, with 14 passes defended and 4 interceptions, as well as 9 touchdowns surrendered.
According to @PFF, Owens had the 6th highest coverage grade of all draft-eligible SAFs