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‘Things I think’ after Giants-Panthers preseason game

Carolina Panthers v New York Giants
Fans at MetLife Stadium enjoyed themselves on Friday night as the Giants defeated the Panthers, 21-19.
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Here are a few ‘things I think’ after watching the New York Giants defeat the Carolina Panthers, 21-19, in preseason action at MetLife Stadium on Friday night.

The starting offense did what it was supposed to do

With the exception of running back Saquon Barkley, the Giants played their front-line offense in the first series of the game. The result was a 10-play, 75-yard, 4:55 scoring drive. Quarterback Daniel Jones was sharp, completing 8 of 9 passes for 69 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Daniel Bellinger.

“I thought we did some good things,” Jones said. “I thought we executed pretty well. A couple plays, could sharpen up a few things there, we’ll look to do that. But overall, I thought we executed well.”

Jones said putting together a successful drive like the offense did “helps our confidence.”

Darren Waller survived

I was surprised that the Giants exposed Waller, who has missed significant time to injuries the past two seasons, to preseason contact. Waller showed his value quickly, with three catches for 30 yards on that opening scoring drive. He also survived a big hit from Carolina safety Vonn Bell on a ball he did not catch.

I think Joe Schoen should be smiling

It is only the preseason, but the 2023 group has the makings of one heckuva draft class.

Two starting cornerbacks in first-round pick Deonte Banks and sixth-round pick Tre Hawkins III. A starting center in second-round pick John Michael Schmitz. An explosive playmaker and potential future No. 1 wide receiver in third-round pick Jalin Hyatt. A running back with potential in fifth-round pick Eric Gray. A seventh-round pick in defensive tackle Jordon Riley who looks like he could be a massive steal.

It looks like all of Schoen’s 2023 draft picks could have significant roles on this team.

I think Tommy DeVito is making me look dumb

I spent months telling anyone who asked that undrafted free agent quarterback Tommy DeVito did not look like a professional quarterback during spring practices and early in training camp, and had no shot of sticking with the Giants. Even on the practice.

Well ... umm ... I might be wrong about that.

DeVito went 9 of 11 for 88 yards on Friday night and is now 24 of 35 (68.6% completions) thru two games. He looks like a player the Giants should want to stash on the practice squad and try to develop.

I think I didn’t see that coming.

I think Jalin Hyatt’s touchdown was big

Again and again in practices this summer we have seen Hyatt get behind Giants’ defensive backs for big plays. He did that again on Friday, blowing past the Carolina secondary for a 33-yard score on a pass from Tyrod Taylor.

The noteworthy thing for me was it came immediately following a drop by Hyatt. The Giants went right back to the third-round pick, and he delivered.

“As a receiver you don’t want to drop the ball,” Hyatt said. “That’s one of those drops where [it was] probably a focus drop. Wasn’t focused on the ball.

“For Coach Dabs and Coach Kaf to come back next play and give me another route I can go score on is just big. It shows a lot of respect, a lot of trust they have in me. I want to capitalize on that.”

I think some defenders probably lost jobs in the fourth quarter

The Giants entered the fourth quarter with a comfy 21-6 lead. They ended up escaping with a two-point victory. None of the regulars, of course, were on the field for the Giants that deep into the game. Instead, players competing to at least earn practice squad spots were on the field. The Giants gave up touchdown drives of 66 and 51 yards in the process of nearly blowing the game, and that certainly isn’t going to help any of the guys on the field at that point make the roster.