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For the past two seasons, Gray worked at Oklahoma under the tutelage of DeMarco Murray, a three-time Pro Bowl running back.
“DeMarco was a big important piece for me and kind of the reason I went to Oklahoma," Gray said during the Giants’ recently concluded rookie mini-camp. “The most important thing I took from him is just being a pro every single day, no matter what’s going on. Everybody has something going on, and you have to be on your P’s and Q’s every single day.”
Gray, a fifth-round pick, isn’t concerned being a Day 3 pick.
“I don’t look at it that way. I’m just looking at my opportunity here. My opportunity,” said Gray and the 11th running back taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. “I’m here now. First day, second day, third day, that’s all out of the window. I’m here now. I got a chance to be in a special place like this, so I’m happy about it.”
Other Giants observations
Eric Gray, New York Giants (Round 5, No. 172).
In another year (and maybe even last year), Gray’s a third-round pick easy. The Giants, who still have the best three-down RB1 in the game, added a terrific change-of-pace option in Gray. The Oklahoma product can catch, has wiggle and runs low to the ground.
The 2023 draft class with GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll
8. New York Giants. The G-Men snagged an ideal on-an-island defensive back for Wink Martindale’s super-aggressive scheme in Banks. Schmitz is extremely high floor because of his experience, smooth movements in the run game and anchoring plus recovery skill in pass protection. Gray was a sneaky-good grab later. He provides a delightful blend of power through contact and twitch to elude defenders.
The dead snap, in which the center puts one point of the football in the palm of his hand and snaps it to the quarterback end-over-end instead of in a spiral, is more common in college than in the NFL.
“It’s whatever is comfortable for Daniel in the back,” Schmitz said. “I’m flexible doing the dead-ball snap or the regular snap. It doesn’t change a thing for me.”
Wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, selected in the third round, and running back Eric Gray – the team’s next choice, though it was 99 picks later, in the fifth round - were teammates at the University of Tennessee in 2020, when the former was a freshman and the latter a sophomore. They remained friends and followed each other’s exploits after Gray transferred to Oklahoma for his final two collegiate seasons. Now they’re teammates again on the Giants.
Wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, who’s most known for catching five touchdowns against Alabama last season and winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver, is a major downfield threat. New York should not waste his speed by keeping him on the sideline.
Coach Brian Daboll’s experience with Josh Allen in Buffalo could be at least partly instructive there.
“When they got Stefon Diggs in Buffalo, it really changed the standing of the quarterback there,” another exec said. “Daniel Jones is not Josh Allen, though, and what’s interesting about the Giants is, that team is further along in its life cycle than other teams with the coach and GM in their second years because they already paid the quarterback.”
DeVito earned this opportunity with the Giants, and now that he’s back home, the challenge is going out and proving he deserves to stay.
“I know he’s a local legend around here,” Giants coach Brian Daboll said, flashing a wry smile as if to acknowledge the odds facing any undrafted rookie, let alone those tasked with playing the most important position in the sport while starting over with essentially a blank resume in the pros. “But he’s got a long way to go, a lot to learn. Good young man to work with.”
FMIA: Peter King's Offseason Power Rankings; Carolina and Green Bay's QB Strategies | ProFootballTalk
The former beat writer for the Giants puts the them at the top of the “I All Goes Right” category for championship contention.
No team exceeded expectations in 2022 more than the Giants, and to build on that, Daniel Jones and a rising defensive front both have to be 10 percent better. I believe each can be.
Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka expects the biggest improvement will be "be detailing up all the small things that caught up with us last year. I think we just gotta build off of that, continue to refine our details and our fundamentals and get our guys in the best spot."
Martindale said "we’re definitely gonna make a big jump in run defense. It’s gonna be a focus....schematically, it’s gonna be a focus with personnel."
5) Giants Roll The Dice On Darren Waller. The Raiders clearly were done counting on Waller’s health despite handing him a three-year, $51 million deal last September. However, the deal made sense for the Giants after they were forced to start fourth-round rookie Daniel Bellinger last year. Waller can help stretch the field for quarterback Daniel Jones and draw safety attention away from their receiving corps.
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