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Brandon Brown: ‘Collaborative approach’ led to selection of Deonte Banks

Joe Schoen’s top assistant hits wide array of topics during media availability

Syndication: The Record
New York Giants assistant general manager Brandon Brown.
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

New York Giants assistant general manager Brandon Brown was one of the team’s front office people who helped identify eventual first-round pick Deonte Banks as a player to target during the 2022-23 scouting process.

On Tuesday, Brown described how the Giants came to the decision to target Banks, who they traded up to get with the 24th pick in the draft.

“I just loved our process with Deonte. It’s not just me; don’t just give me credit for that. I like to say our area scout (Marquis Pendleton), I mean, if you go back to September, Deonte wasn’t somebody that was on the radar. We had an area scout who watched him early and liked him,” Brown said. “Actually, Joe got a chance to go see him live in person. Tim [McDonnell], Dennis [Hickey], they both watched him. Then I go live and go see him play against Ohio State. I see him get beat by (wide receiver) Marvin Harrison Jr. the first play of the game and then line right back up and play relentless with effort the rest of the game. Then he ends the game and blocks a kick. I just think his competitiveness is something that you covet in our system, especially playing a lot of man.

“And then you fast forward, we have a touch point with him at the Combine, Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) hits it off with him, and then we go down the road down to Pro Day. Myself and (special assistant to the general manager) Jessie Armstead have dinner with him pre-Pro Day, (defensive backs coach) Jerome (Henderson) spends time with him, we bring him up at a 30 visit. That’s a collaborative approach. Our sports scientists get to spend time with him, analytics department makes sure he checks out and looks great in all our models, player development spends time with him when he’s in the building. So, to me that’s what you want the full collaborative approach from all departments to look like.”

Here are more takeaways from Brown’s media availability.

On the rookie class overall

“I don’t want to put a benchmark or a label on what the degree of success is going to be for this class, but we’re excited for them. If you look at what we’ve brought in, you guys have been around them a good amount, it’s a mature group. They fit our smart, tough, dependable mantra. These are guys that if you look all across the board from whether it’s first-round pick, down to undrafted free agent, to late-round picks, they’re explosive. They’re fast. They’re physical. They have traits, banking on the traits that play on Sunday. It’s our job, collaborating with the coaching staff, to get them up to speed from a technique standpoint.”

On negotiations with Saquon Barkley

“Obviously, we’ve been going around with Saquon in communication since about nine months now, but that’s above my pay grade in terms of divulging some of the stuff that we’re going to keep in house. But we love Saquon. He knows how I feel about him, he knows how we feel about him collectively, but we’re going to handle the business inside with him. I’m excited whenever he’s back, but I know he’s taking care of his business right now.”

What about avoiding hard feelings in the negotiations?

“I think when you’re dealing with someone who is extremely mature like Saquon, you can separate the personal and the professional. I think that’s when you have honest and open conversations. You take the feelings out of it. You’re able to establish common ground. It doesn’t mean you’re going to agree, but that’s what I appreciate about him. He can listen, and he can digest the information we’re giving him, and he can tell us his feelings as well.”

On the addition of Darren Waller

“I mean, we did our due diligence. We did our research. We know from the fringe red zone, red zone, being a mismatch piece, he is someone that you call the problem creator. You look at what he can do in terms of opening up the field for the rest of our guys, whether it’s adding (wide receiver) Parris Campbell, adding (wide receiver Darius) Slayton in terms of bringing him back, what he can do from separating, I call it stretching a defense, whether it’s vertically and laterally. He adds to that. He’s going to open up the field, and we get (wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson) back and add those pieces in the slot, (wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard) back. I think it’s one of those things where he’s a force multiplier, right? He just doesn’t make himself or our offense better, but he makes other players better, and he’s going to help set us up that way.”

On what he learned working with the Eagles

“We’re building. We’re not satisfied, but we’re building. I think part of that is continuing to be collaborative and exhausting all our resources, especially when it comes down to data. Not just having data that’s available but having actionable data and using it to make decisions. So, I think learning how to use all our resources, having proper checks and balances, that’s something I’ve taken over from Philly. Obviously, Joe’s had a certain degree of that from his time in Buffalo coming over, and we’re going to use Ryan’s experience in Tennessee as an example as well. I think that’s what I love about what Joe’s done, employed a diversity of thought. I think when you have diversity of thought, that’s when you’re able to make your best decisions.”

On trying to improve the roster

“I think we looked at what our pain points were. We wanted to get better against the run, and you’ve seen what we did in terms of adding Nacho (defensive lineman Rakeem Nuñez-Roches) and (defensive lineman) A’Shawn (Robinson) and getting (linebacker) Bobby O(kereke) in free agency, adding (safety) Bobby McCain as a vet in the secondary. Those things are not being satisfied. It’s being reflective, looking in the mirror, being honest with each other and saying, ‘Hey, how do we give the coaches the best opportunity to put the best product in the field?’”

On what he learned in Year 1 with the Giants

“I learned time doesn’t belong to me. Time belongs to the staff. Why I say that is, I kind of look at everything through the lens of people, process, and culture. People, on the day-to-day, I figure out, how can we maximize everyone who’s on this roster? Process is, how do we improve and get better, whether it’s employing new ideas? Culture, how do we put forth things that are going to be what we want to be, whether it’s in the building, whether it’s on the field, or in the community? Those three layers.

“I say time doesn’t belong to myself; after 8 a.m., you don’t know what’s going to happen, right? So, it’s really pre-8 a.m. It’s what you have to yourself, whether you want to watch film, or there are certain things on your agenda. Call it post-8 a.m., post-7 p.m., that’s where you get back to doing things for yourself. I think no day is the same, where in between that 8-to-8 window, you’ve got to be ready for curveballs. You’ve got to adjust.”