In the year of our Lord 2022, football fans witnessed a bonafide miracle performed by Brian Daboll. He made Daniel Jones relevant. Brian Daboll won his 2022 Coach of the Year award on the back of Saquon Barkley and a cast of misfit parts that most outside observers deemed unsalvageable for 2023. Those of us who followed Brian Daboll’s career were not surprised by this at all. When Daboll was in Buffalo and the offense started struggling, he made a point of adjusting his offense to the skillset of the players around him. On the other hand, most of his contemporaries are determined to fit a square peg in a round hole because their system is perfect. With another draft class in place, I am excited to see how the New York Giants use their new player for the 2023 NFL season.
FULL NEW YORK GIANTS DRAFT RESULTS
|2||26||John Michael Schmitz||C||Minnesota|
|6||32||Tre Hawkins III||CB||Old Dominion|
Round 3, Pick 73 Overall: Jalin Hyatt, Wide Receiver, Tennessee (6’0” 176 lbs)
WR1: Parris Campbell
WR2: Darius Slayton
WR3: Wan’Dale Robinson
WR4: Isaiah Hodgins
WR5: Jalin Hyatt
I was absolutely floored that Jalin Hyatt was not drafted in the first round this year. Hyatt had the third-best tape of any receiver I scouted. On a personal note, he was my absolute favorite player because I love speed and Hyatt has speed in abundance.
Jalin Hyatt has great feet with an incredible first step. The criticism of him going into the draft was that he ran a limited route tree, which is fair. I noticed Hyatt mainly ran slants, curls, and go’s. I find it hard to criticize Hyatt for this when he just couldn’t be stopped on any of these routes. Against SEC competition that is sending a bunch of first and second-round talent to the NFL, Jalin Hyatt’s athleticism stood out on tape. It didn’t matter who he faced off against, he made them look silly and slow.
Hyatt is not very strong. He will go down at first contact. That is something he will need to work on at the NFL level. Hyatt also had a lot of clean breaks off the line of scrimmage because of his speed, but speed isn’t the only part of his game. The man explodes out of breaks, which with his speed will be devastating for defenders at the next level. The man knows how to hesitate and change direction while accelerating to punish defenders who give him too much of a cushion.
Quite simply, the man looked unstoppable on tape consistently against top competition. The idea that his limited route tree made him fall is mind-boggling to me. As an NFL coach, you should be teaching him! Hyatt displayed elite athleticism on tape and I cannot wait to see what he does at the NFL level.
Jalin Hyatt has a very clear path to football relevance in the 2023 NFL season. Right now, Hyatt is going into minicamps as the WR5. Last year, the leading receiver on the New York Giants was Darius Slayton with 71 targets, 46 catches, and 724 yards. Only two receivers on the 2022 roster had more than 70 targets and 500 yards receiving. This offseason the Giants signed Parris Campbell to a contract and last year they drafted Wan’Dale Robinson, but to this point nobody has emerged as the clear-cut number-one receiver. The Giants are looking for playmakers and that is what Jalin Hyatt’s 2022 college tape shows. If Hyatt can translate his college skills to the NFL quickly, he has the opportunity to carve himself out a role.
2023 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Considering the talent and team that Jalin Hyatt landed on, I think he is definitely a player to keep an eye on for the 2023 NFL season. As I mentioned at the top, Brian Daboll has a history of maximizing the offensive talent on his rosters. And the talent that Jalin Hyatt brings to the New York Giants is exceptional. I think there is a non-zero chance that Hyatt ends the season as the WR1 of this team. I don’t think that will translate to more than a low-end WR2/Flex numbers, but that is still significant. I also want as many shares of him in best ball leagues as possible because Hyatt will likely be a very up-and-down player, but those highs will be performances that win you your week.
2023 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Round 5, Pick 172 Overall: Eric Gray, Running Back, Oklahoma (5’9” 207 lbs)
RB1: Saquon Barkley
RB2: Matt Breida
RB3: Eric Gray
You only need to look at his last name to know how I feel about Eric Gray. His college tape was blah to me. Gray is a good running back, but I’m not sure he is athletic enough to be successful in the NFL. He doesn’t have nearly enough power for a guy as slow as he is. Gray has decent vision, good hands, and a nice initial burst, but he doesn’t have top-end speed. He has a little bit of wiggle to him, but Gray is not a guy who can create on his own. He needs solid blocking to be successful in the NFL.
Right now, Eric Gray is third on the New York Giants depth chart, behind Saquon Barkley and Matt Breida. Beating out Matt Breida for the backup role should not be a significant challenge. Breida is right on the fantasy football blob of “only play him if the starter is out.”
Getting snaps from Saquon is another matter altogether. Last season, Barkley was on the field for 75.42% of the Giants’ snaps. During that time, he had 295 carries and 76 targets. To put those numbers into context, Saquon was responsible for 77.6% of the carries by running backs and 69.7% of the running back targets. Overall, Saquon accounted for 75.9% of the running back production by New York Giants running backs. Simply put: It is the Saquon show in New York and Eric Gray has front-row seats.
2023 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
As long as Saquon Barkley is healthy, there is no fantasy-relevant role for Eric Gray on the New York Giants. The big thing I will be looking for is the contract situation for Saquon. As of today, he has yet to sign his franchise tag. If Barkley chooses to hold out for an extended period of time, it could pave the way for a role in the 2023 Giants offense. This feels like a long shot, but it is always important to monitor everything in these situations because stranger things have happened. I’m looking at you, Le’Veon Bell!