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‘Things I think’ after the 2023 NFL Draft: Joe Schoen’s aggression, closing the talent gap, more

Ed’s thought’s about what the Giants accomplished in the 2023 NFL Draft

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“If you want it and you have the resources to get it, go get it.”

That was New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen after moving up 16 spots in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft on Friday night to select speedy wide receiver Jalin Hyatt.

How can you not love that attitude from the guy making the personnel decisions for the Giants? Even if you aren’t in love with the players Schoen picked in the first three rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft, Giants fans should love the bold, aggressive decision-making.

Schoen did not panic when a run on wide receivers in the first round took that option away from the Giants in Round 1. He still had a player at a premium position where the Giants needed help at the top of his board, so he did not reach for a second-tier wide receiver.

Schoen also did not take a chance that someone would bypass him for cornerback Deonte Banks. If you thought he was crazy to give up the 172nd and 240th overall picks to move up one spot and ensure Banks became a Giant, you are forgetting recent Giants’ GM’ing history.

You are forgetting what happened when Jerry Reese got bypassed for Leonard Floyd and Jack Conklin, ending up with Eli Apple. You are forgetting what happened when the Philadelphia Eagles snuck in front of Dave Gettleman and the Giants for DeVonta Smith.

“If you want it and you have the resources to get it, go get it.”

The other part of that is don’t live with the regret of letting someone else have it.

In Round 2, Schoen held his water. He stayed put at No. 57 even though after the New York Jets selected Joe Tippmann at No. 43 he was itching to go get Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz.

“Patience, I wouldn’t say is one of my strengths, and I often get tested this time of year,” Schoen said. “I’ve been on the other side that when you’re sitting there kicking yourself for not doing something you and don’t like the subsequent result from not doing what you could have done and you were okay with, you know, what it was going to cost you.”

Not trying to move up was also bold. After dealing away three draft picks, one for Darren Waller and two for Banks, he really had only one more valuable card he was willing to play. He was willing to move his fourth-rounder, but that probably wasn’t going to be enough for him to move up in Round 2 to ensure he could get Schmitz.

So, he sat at 57 and hoped for the best. If he lost Schmitz, this would not have been a case of getting burned. He had accepted that risk and made peace with it.

When Round 3 came and Hyatt, a player Schoen said the Giants would have considered at No. 57 if Schmitz was gone, was still available, Schoen returned to his mantra:

“If you want it and you have the resources to get it, go get it.”

Because he didn’t move up in Round 2, Schoen still had that last card to play. He played it to get a speedster who could help address the fact that the Giants were last in the league in 2022 in explosive plays. A player who some thought would sneak into the back end of Round 1.

The Giants ended up with three players in the top 73 who had been connected to them in Round 1. The rosy view of those players is as follows:

Banks becomes the press-man cornerback of Wink Martindale’s dreams, with All-Pro honors in his future. Schmitz is a two-contract anchor for the middle of the offensive line. Hyatt is a game-breaker whose route running develops to the point where he is a complete receiver and not just a vertical threat, a “one-trick pony” as some call him.

Maybe those things don’t happen. Still, Schoen should be lauded for his approach. To me, it’s one that should have Giants fans excited.

Closing the talent gap?

Schoen said at the beginning of the offseason that there was a talent gap between the Giants and the league’s best teams, such as the Philadelphia Eagles. Did the Giants’ offseason close that gap?

I would say yes. Not entirely, of course. That will take more than one offseason. Progress, though, was made.


The Giants are faster and deeper at wide receiver than in 2022. They are better at tight end with Darren Waller, who gives them a No. 1 receiver if healthy. They added a much-needed piece to the interior of their offensive line, perhaps solving the Rubik’s Cube that has been their center position in recent years.


The Giants are deeper along the defensive line, a major flaw in 2022. They should be much-improved at cornerback with the selection of Banks, second-year growth from Cor’Dale Flott and the potential return to health (finally) of Aaron Robinson. They are faster and better at linebacker with Bobby Okereke and the potential return to health of Darrian Beavers.

Does any of this mean the Giants will win more than nine games in 2023? No. There are never any guarantees. Still, the 2023 roster should be more talented than last season’s.

Not a mighty-mite

What Hyatt said Friday night about his weight got my attention. He is listed at 6-foot-⅛, 176 pounds. He told media on Friday that he was “188, 189” pounds and planed to play at 190.

I’m not saying that Hyatt will turn into this player, but I’m just sayin’ that Stefon Diggs is 6-foot, 191 pounds.

His size certainly doesn’t put Hyatt in the big-bodied category, but at that size he certainly doesn’t qualify as a lightweight.

Center of attention

If you followed our pre-draft coverage, you know that Joe Tippmann was OC1 for me in this draft class. In public circles that was a minority opinion, but the New York Jets apparently agreed with me as they took Tippmann No. 43 overall, 14 spots before the Giants selected Schmitz.

I will admit to a tinge of personal satisfaction that Tippmann went first, even if it was to the Jets. I messaged Chris Pflum that I did “feel oddly vindicated” that the draft played out that way.

All kidding aside, I think Schmitz is an excellent selection. A high-floor player with solid technique and leadership traits. The Giants have need a real answer at center since Weston Richburg went down to injury early in the 2016 season, and Schmitz could finally be it. If he meets the hope that he will be a two-contract starting center for the Giants this will have been a great get for Schoen and the Giants.

I was impressed by two things Schmitz said when he met with media on Saturday afternoon.

On why he loves playing center:

“I would just say you’re the first one that gets to the ball, it’s got to be your mindset that you’ve got to set tone. It’s your leadership, it’s how you communicate down the line and making sure everyone is on the same page, you’ve got to be controlled especially in a crazy atmosphere, if we’re on a road game. Just making sure everyone gets the calls, you’re working with the quarterback, you’re working with the right and left side.”

On leading an offensive line as its least experienced player:

“You’ve got to earn their [teammates] trust and that’s by how hard you work. When you come in every day with a mindset that you’re going to get better and at the end of the day, trust is earned over time – with time, consistency and proof. Those three things don’t happen overnight, so it’s going to — obviously hard work on the field and in your playbook, with your body, taking care of yourself and just honestly being a part of that team and getting close with one another.”

Jordon Riley?

I fully expected the Giants to add to their interior defensive line depth at some point. I was tempted as the Giants’ seventh-round picks approached to call my shot on Twitter and predict the selection of Jerrod Clark, a 334-point nose tackle from Coastal Carolina Chad Reuter of had told me was a Round 5-6 value.

I’m glad I didn’t.

With Clark and Moro Ojomo of Texas, who went No. 249 to the Philadelphia Eagles, on the board the Giants selected the 6-foot-5, 338-pound Riley. This was an out of left field pick, to the point where had no info on Riley and the only place to find a scouting report was Emory Hunt’s voluminous Football Gameplan draft guide.

So, why the massive but under-the-radar Riley?

Schoen referred to Riley as a “big run stopper.” who fit what the Giants want in the middle of their defensive line.

“You walk out to practice and there’s this 6-5, 330-pound guy, who piques your interest right there,” Schoen said. “Again, some of these guys in different schemes may not have the production, the tackles, the sacks. But for what Wink looks for in terms of size, length, knock back, he possesses those traits.”

Acting like a franchise QB

Daniel Jones popped into the Giants’ East Rutherford, N.J. facility on Saturday to meet Schmitz and Hyatt.

Schmitz obviously paid attention to Jones’ 2022 season.

“He had a hell of a season last year. I mean, he led that group. He’s grown a lot at his quarterback position,” Schmitz said. “He reached out last night, sent me a text. I’m very excited to work with him. Very excited to work with this offense and get things rolling.”

Jones wasted to time connecting with Hyatt, texting him a simple question on Friday night:

“Are you ready to go”?

“I’m ready. I’ve been ready my whole life,” Hyatt said. “Like I said I’m going to be asset for him. That’s what I want to be. I want to be a player where he can trust, somebody who is going to be a professional and going to get open for him consistently and that’s what I’m going to do for him.”

Getting more athletic

Schoen talked on Friday night about adding speed to the roster.

“I would say both sides of the ball, just team speed in general. Offense, defense and special teams,” he said. “I think we did that with some of the free agents we signed: Parris Campbell can roll, Jeff (Smith) can roll, (Bobby) Okereke runs well. We’ve upgraded the speed in general; (Darren) Waller. So yeah, that’s definitely something watching our team last year, we just felt we needed to get faster in all three phases.”

Mission accomplished with Banks, Hyatt and some of the Day 3 selections.