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.”