Review of the 2023 NFL Draft

The 2023 NY Giants draft can be distilled for me in 3 words. John Michael Schmitz. The older I get, the more I believe that the game of professional football is all about the Offensive Line. So I watch the Jets pick up Tippmann and Warren and I see what Douglas is doing for Rodgers. I listen to these meathead analysts yap about having skill players and I laugh. Skill players are who you watch finish the play. The Offensive Line is the engine which enables the QB to perform his magic. So when you watch Schmitz’s film make more pancakes than IHOP, you get excited about a guy who can change the soul of this critical unit. “Schmitz is the best value and need pickup in the Giants’ draft,” said Wonder. “He will bring that old NYG toughness and attitude to Northeast football in the cold. He is a 10 year player.”

Last season, the Giants had to hold Barkley in to help block, because invariably someone inside blew an assignment in pass protection. Schmitz is addition by subtraction. He will tighten up the interior and give the scheme greater flexibility. Given how creative Kafka already was last season with garbage, the Offense is going to be in overdrive if Jones has tight protection. Additionally, Schmitz is a mauler, so the run game will have a road grader who can create holes and spring the ball carrier. As long as Neal gets better this year, I expect the Offense to go to the next level. John Michael Schmitz will be a big part of that improvement.

The Giants drafted many other players, and each has their story. First, let me set the table for one of them by telling you about a cousin of mine, HS. HS is extremely knowledgeable about all sports, and he has a discriminating eye. He rarely dishes out praise. So when I received an email today asking for his feedback on Schmitz, I was surprised by the response.

“Great analysis as always. I found it interesting that the Giants did not address the Center position in Free Agency nor via a trade. That tells me that they felt they’d find a starter via the Draft somewhere in Round 2 or 3 for greater value than which they would have had to pay or give up assets for. I haven’t seen Schmitz play enough at the Collegiate level to give a fair assessment. I’ll say for the first time in years our GM seems to evaluate talent very well – both from his days in Buffalo and in the small sample size with us.

“I disagree with your idea that their draft will be based on the success of Schmitz. I believe Hyatt is a STAR, and was an absolute steal in the 3rd Round – I view him as Darius Slayton with better speed and actual HANDS that hold on to the ball. He is who this draft for the Giants will be remembered for in my opinion. Against Alabama and the other SEC powerhouse teams, who are sending their entire secondary to the NFL, he was UNGUARDABLE. Saban said afterwards his CB’s could not stay with him. As long as he stays healthy, Jones will be buying him dinner on a regular basis. I have no problem with them trading some of their draft capital for impact players.”

HS, 4/29/2023

Well, if Hyatt is going to be a star, this is going to be remembered as a special draft. Banks’ ceiling can be a Pro Bowl Corner. Schmitz can be a 10 year anchor to the OL. If Hyatt can be a star WR, that is a knockout draft.

Rounding out the Giants draft, they picked up a RB in Round 5, Eric Gray, a CB in R6 Tre Hawkins, a DT in R7 Jordan Riley, and Special Teams/S in R7, Gervarrius Owens. Two quick comments.

(1) RB in R5 is exactly where I want to see a value pickup for this position. We talk ad nauseum about R7 or UFA RBs who walk away with rings. Well, you have to pick a RB on Day 3. In steps Schoen to dial it up out of central casting.

(2) Tre Hawkins is called a “project.” The official buzz is that he is unlikely to make a team “without significant strides.” Wonder pushed back on this. “When you draft in R6, it’s about coaching and skills. So I don’t have a problem with a pick like this. He’s got raw skills that a coaching staff can work with, so there’s a chance at something.”

Wonder sums up the 3 day effort. “The Giants had a solid draft. You cannot be perfect. They had no missteps.” Wonder did not know that Hyatt picked up 12 lbs, going from a Combine at 176 lbs to 188 lbs. If Hyatt hits big it will be plenty more than solid.

What about other teams around the NFL? Wonder singled out 4 teams: the Eagles, Jets, Steelers and Bills.

“Roseman is freaking amazing. He should be banned. Carter, Nolan, Ringo. Then he gets Swift, who if healthy would be great. And then for the cherry at the end of a long day he takes my sleeper Moro Ojomo in Round 7. Sick. Dollar for dollar, the Eagles had the best draft in 2023 for what and where they picked.” Remember that Wonder was singing Roseman’s praises this Saturday last year too, well before the rest of the NFL caught on to the burgeoning powerhouse. Now that everyone sees how well PHL is doing, they are seeing the moves as well.

The Jets got Tippmann and Warren, they got a very good value RB in Round 5 (Abanikanda), and then in Round 7 they may have found a lottery ticket in an Old Dominion TE named Zack Kuntz, who is an athletic freak that fell due to a kneecap injury. “Together with last year’s lights out DROY OROY OROY draft, the two years of Jets drafts edge out the Eagles last 2 years,” said Wonder. “Becton is the key to the Jets’ season. If he can stay healthy, the Jets can be ultra competitive.”

Schmitz and Hyatt added on Day 2

The story of the NY Giants 2023 Draft is how GM Joe Schoen addressed team needs in sequential descending order.

  • The Giants most acute need was CB. The Giants traded a R5 and R7 pick to get the certainty of moving up from 1.25 to 1.24 and took CB Deonte Banks.
  • The Giants second most acute need was C. The Giants watched Tippmann get taken by the Jets earlier in the round, patiently sat, and took C John Michael Schmitz.
  • The Giants third most acute need was WR. The Giants traded a R4 pick to move up from 3.89 to 3.73 and took WR Jalin Hyatt.

On the whole this has been a very solid draft. Banks and Schmitz were two of Wonder’s players he eyed for the Giants as potential value. Banks went in R1 with R2 value, but this was circumstantial to a thin draft where a majority of players taken did not have R1 value. Banks fits Wink Martindale’s system. Wonder likes the player, who has good hips and tremendous athleticism. His weakness is when his back is to the ball. Schoen was not taking chances in having another team front him for the Corner.

Schmitz was a perfect score of 10 for being taken at 2.57. Great value, great need, and this player may be a 10 year starter.

“C John Michael Schmitz – Plug and play. More of a mauler type of player. Powerful running blocker, tough. Effective zone blocker. R2 value. Ceiling is ~ 2nd team All Pro. I do not think you go wrong with either one of these guys (Schmitz/Tippman). COMP: Bigger version of Mike Webster.

Wonder 4/23/2023 Pre-Draft Analysis

Schmitz was who we wanted.

I love it when a plan comes together. Of course there is always risk to any selection, but this puts Jones in a position to succeed.

The third round pick was WR Jalin Hyatt. Although we did not review the player pre-draft, the Giants organization wanted him at 2.57 along with Schmitz and was willing to give away their Round 4 pick to move up 16 spots to get him. I preferred the bigger body WR, Cedric Tillman, but we understand that the Giants wanted more speed. Together with Banks and Schmitz, these 3 players make the Giants ready for the 2023 season. Schmitz should be a Day 1 starter and we expect Banks and Hyatt to see decent playing time. A starting role for Banks should come in due time. Hyatt will be used in certain packages to keep opposing defenders from playing too close to the line of scrimmage.     

While Giants fans are fairly pleased with the results from Day 1 and Day 2, there is a cost. The Giants do not pick again until the R5 compensatory, 5.172. They have given up a R4, R5 and R7 pick in order to secure the certainty of those selections. Daniel Bellinger was a R4 pick. David Diehl and Kevin Boss were R5 picks. And Ahmad Bradshaw was a Round 7 gem. So these picks do not have to be throwaways. Considering how well Daboll coached these young players up, the tradeups imply the Giants really wanted Banks and Hyatt. At this point, we have too much respect for Daboll to challenge their right to secure the players they are targeting. In a draft where we ourselves wanted to trade down, we were willing to trade up 3 spots from 1.25 to 1.22 to grab Nolan Smith. That Smith fell to 1.30 is enough evidence to remind even us that we are guilty of the same behavior, namely, coveting a player and wanting to trade up to secure that player.

What does trading up mean at the end of the day? Statistically, Thaler and Massey found that we overpay for the right to choose. I do not think that any Giants fan will disagree with the following statement: Schoen and Daboll were willing to overpay to secure the players they wanted. It just means that you are increasing the bet on the particular players you took. When you trade up, it is akin to “doubling down” on your conviction. You are concentrating your picks.

Original PickOriginal ValueActual Draft PickActual Draft Value

If we used the “old” Draft Value Chart from the 1990’s, it says the Giants got paid to move up. We intuitively know that that cannot be correct. There is no free lunch. The Draft Value Chart we linked to here is more rigorous than Jimmy Johnson was. It also ties into surplus value, which is a far better verification of true cost of the pick. The smell test is on the tails (extremes)- the old draft chart implies that picking in the middle of Round 1 is equivalent to 1000 Draft picks in Round 7. This draft chart implies that Round 1 is equivalent to 14 Draft picks in Round 7. That is more reasonable. The math indicates the Giants gave up the NET equivalent of a very late Round 3 pick (3.100) to get the set of a players that they wanted.

SUMMARY: The Giants sequentially addressed need at CB, C, and WR. Banks, Schmitz and Hyatt are a good crop. We like Schmitz for value. The Giants paid to get the certainty of the players they wanted.

Deonte Banks taken 1.24

Let’s go straight to the pre-draft comment on Banks….

CB Deonte Banks Round 2 value. Might be R1 this year but not last year. COMP: Jason Sehorn.”

In the 2023 Draft, Banks is going Round 1, so not an overdraft this year. Considering that Banks, Branch and Porter were all available when Jacksonville was on the clock at 1.24 made the move to trade up (costing a R5 and R7) a little dubious. The cost is not a lot. Yet we preferred taking EDGE Nolan Smith, as we believe that Smith would change the team. Smith fell because he had a pec injury. Upper body injuries do not bother our draft analyst.

“Banks is a very very good player,” says Wonder. “It is disappointing the Gmen did not take Smith but they got themselves a solid Cornerback. Banks has speed and he is an athlete. His ceiling is very good but unlikely to be awesome.” If Banks is very good that will be plenty for the Giants. CB was a need. The pick was solid on that merit alone.

Wonder still urges both the Jets and Giants to move up and get Smith. “I would have upgraded the outlook this season immediately if the Giants had taken Smith.” Updating the post, the Eagles took Smith at 1.30. I hope he is not a thorn in the Giants side. Note how the Eagles took both Dean (last year) and Smith when each fell. Both had upper body injuries (pec). As a draft analyst, Wonder is less concerned with upper body injuries. Apparently the Eagles aren’t either.

The Giants got a Cornerback. That is good. At least they did not take a smurf WR like half of Giants Nation wanted. Wink Martindale is happy. If the Giants can pick up a Center or a Guard in Round 2 tomorrow, it will round out their roster very well. I don’t put the odds of either Schmitz or Tippmann being there at 2.57, but hopefully one of them is. There are going to be some good Guards there too.

One last thing. We saw these draft cams drop into every front office’s draft war room. Isn’t it amazing how there are 32 celebrations and sets of smiles?! Don’t be fooled. Many teams will part ways with these players. It’s merely a reminder of the CERTAINTY of the uncertainty of the draft.

2023 Draft, Part II

Let’s summarize in tabular form what we have. Remember, this does not mean these are the only players worthy of selection. These are the preferred players of our Draft analyst based on the opportunity for value. Since the draft is weak, this means more players will get drafted higher, all else equal. The players below represent decent value (unless mentioned otherwise) for the round indicated. Just because a player may not represent value does not mean he cannot have a very good career. Some will always do better than expected, but all else equal, we have less interest here in the Draft. If one of our “Round 3” players gets taken in Round 2, that just means someone paid more and reduced the value of the selection.

1EDGEWill AndersonBest player in the draft
1EDGETyree Wilson
1TSkoronski/Jones/JohnsonNot value, will go early.
1EDGENolan SmithSKY HIGH! Unlimited Ceilingmini Derrick Thomas
1TDarnell WrightMove to Guard, All Pro Ceilingbig Alijah Vera Tucker
2EDGEAdetomiwa Adebawore
2TEDarnell Washington
2CBEmmanuel Forbes
2GSteve Avila
2CBJulius Brents
2CBDeonte Banks
2CJohn Michael Schmitz
2CJoe Tippmann
2DTBryan Bresee
2CBCam Smith
2DTMazi Smithrun defender, hard to moveTony Siragusa
2/3WRJonathan MingoBIG, only WR I really like for NYGAnquon Boldin
3WRMarvin MimsSlot, fast, twitchFast Edelman/Welker
3WRCedric TillmanBig, strong hands, good route runnerMike Williams
3GTyler SteenAthlete, Balance, Mobile, Pass blockerpoor man’s Art Shell
3/4ILBTrent Simpsonfast for a LBerfaster Derrick Brooks
4CRicky StrombergNasty toughpm Nick Mangold
4COlusegun Oluwatimican be a starter for years to comepm Dermonte Dawson
4/5CBClark Phillips IIISlot CB
5CBTerell SmithSleeper, good size, long arms
5ILBOwen PappoeConvert him to Box Strong SafetyIsaiah Simmons
4/5/6EDGETavius RobinsonLong arms, strong, DE4-3, EDGE3-4pm Ojulari
4/5/6EDGERobert Beal Jr.Athlete, can play OLB, powerful 6’4″Nick Bosa
5/6ILBDorian WilliamsRuns well, tackles, can coverpm Mike Singletary
6ILBDee Winterssimilar to Dorian Williamspm Zach Thomas
6/7WRTre TuckerPunt/kickoff returnerBilly WShoes Johnson
6/7T/GWarren McClendonOL depthKelvin Beachum
6/7DTMoro Ojomo3 technique. athletepm Warren Sapp