Regrading the Giants 2023 NFL Draft class after one season

Let's assess the state of the New York Giants 2023 draft after one season.
Green Bay Packers v New York Giants
Green Bay Packers v New York Giants / Michael Owens/GettyImages

While it is hard to evaluate or project how well or poorly the draft class of an NFL franchise (or any sports league) turned out after only one season, that doesn’t mean we can’t try to do it. But it should be taken with a grain of salt, considering how little time has passed since these players entered the league.

We will focus on the New York Giants for this writing, who made seven selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. They had a pick in the first three rounds, fifth- and sixth-rounders, and two picks in the seventh round.

While it feels a bit too early to determine whether the 2023 draft class of the G-Men was a successful and impactful bunch of players, here is where things stand roughly a year later.

New York Giants No. 24 overall pick: Maryland CB Deonte Banks

The Giants thrust Deonte “Tae” Banks into a starting role from the beginning of his rookie season after they moved up one spot to select him with the No. 24 overall pick, a role which he handled well and improved in as the year went on.

Banks recorded 64 combined tackles, 11 pass deflections, and two interceptions in 15 starts, often matching up against the opposing team’s top wide receivers, something most rookie cornerbacks cannot say for themselves.

Before missing the final two games of the 2023 campaign because of a shoulder injury, Banks showed notable strides of improvement, allowing 40 receiving yards or less in each of his last five contests.

A physically gifted and skilled player at one of the premium positions in football, Banks will prove to be one of the more valuable picks of his draft class if he continues on the path he is currently on.

And with veteran Adoree’ Jackson now out of the picture, New York will continue to lean on Banks as their top outside corner, putting him in a position to potentially establish himself as a critical piece of their defensive unit for years to come.

Grade: A

New York Giants No. 57 overall pick: Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz

While John Michael Schmitz struggled at times as a rookie, he was nearly always available, which is a vital trait for any offensive lineman.

Schmitz missed three weeks due to a shoulder issue early in the season, but he did not miss a snap from Weeks 8-17, serving as a constant on a Giants offensive line that has been a revolving door in recent years.

Being able to rely on Schmitz as an every-down player bodes well for the Giants moving forward as they look to solidify their o-line alongside stud left tackle Andrew Thomas. But he must improve as a pass blocker to merit being worthy of a second-round pick.

Schmitz was amongst the worst-graded centers in the NFL in pass blocking, according to Pro Football Focus (26.4).

However, Schmitz displayed leadership skills as a rookie, so much so that Giants general manager Joe Schoen said he would be “surprised” if the second-round pick is not a team captain at one point in his career. While we cannot quantify this into a metric, it shows other ways that a player can positively impact a team outside of on-field production.

Grade: B

New York Giants No. 73 overall pick: Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt

Many thought the Giants may have landed one of the biggest steals in the entire draft when Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt fell to them at pick No. 73, and he backed that up throughout the 2023 season as he received more opportunities to do so.

The 2022 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner, given to the most outstanding receiver in college football, ranked near the top of the NFL in yards per reception (16.1) amongst players with at least 40 targets, highlighting his field-stretching ability thanks to his blazing speed.

Hyatt caught 23 of his 40 targets for 373 scoreless yards as a rookie, appearing in all 17 games. After operating in a limited role for much of the season, he started six of the last seven games for the G-Men this past season.

In an offense that desperately lacked big-play threats, Hyatt proved to be an explosive and dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. While he has more work to do as a route runner, he showed he has the physical tools to develop into a productive starting-caliber NFL receiver. And considering New York was able to snag him in the third round despite being projected as a potential Day 1 pick, it makes it even sweeter that they picked him up.

Grade: A-

New York Giants No. 172 overall pick: Oklahoma RB Eric Gray

Eric Gray rarely saw the field for the Giants as a rookie running back operating behind three-down workhorse Saquon Barkley, only logging 17 rush attempts and seven targets while being limited to only an eight percent offensive snap rate in 2023.

Gray ran for 48 yards, averaging 2.8 yards carry, adding six receptions for 22 yards as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.

Despite the lack of opportunity behind Barkley, Gray was able to carve out a role on special teams in his first year as a pro, returning four kickoff returns for 58 yards and seven punts for 28 yards.

However, there could be more need for Gray this season, considering Barkley signed with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. New York signed veteran Devin Singletary as the primary backfield replacement, but he has never operated in a full-time starting role. So, the 2023 fifth-round pick could be in line for additional reps in 2024.

But it would be nearly impossible to accurately grade the selection of Gray based on what we saw this past season.

Grade: Incomplete

New York Giants No. 209 overall pick: Old Dominion CB Tre Hawkins III 

Tre Hawkins III made a solid first impression with the Giants early on as a rookie, standing out amongst his teammates at training camp and garnering the attention of many, including head coach Brian Daboll.

Hawkins played his way into receiving first-team reps at camp, and Daboll said he earned the opportunity to be alongside starters despite his lack of draft pedigree.

After showing out during the offseason, Hawkins appeared in all 17 games for the G-Men, recording 35 combined tackles and a pass deflection. He also fared well defending against the run thanks to his blend of size, length, and speed, per Pro Football Focus, earning a 74.5 grade.

However, Hawkins posted an 83.3 completion percentage of the targets thrown his way, giving up four touchdowns. Quarterbacks had a perfect passer rating (158.3) when he was the primary defender, which is not good, to put it kindly.

Considering all it took was a sixth-round pick to take a flier on Hawkins, he showed enough as a rookie to prove he was worthy of being selected when he was.

Grade: B

New York Giants pick Nos. 243 and 254 pick: Oregon DL Jordon Riley and Houston DB Gervarrius Owens

Neither Jordon Riley nor Gervarrius Owens saw much of the field for the Giants as rookies in 2023, with the latter logging a whopping zero defensive snaps.

Riley appeared in only eight games, totaling eight tackles (four solo) and one tackle for loss. 

Owens suited up for just three games, tallying one combined tackle and a fumble recovery, which he did against the Washington Commanders in Week 11.

Attempting to fairly grade either of these picks based on their practically non-existent roles and performance in 2023 is a thankless job. But if you want to go for it, please be my guest. Your guess is as good as mine at this point. Otherwise, all we can do is sit and wait to see if either player earns more opportunities to showcase their talents moving forward.

Grades: Incomplete

New York Giants 2023 NFL Draft grade one year later

Despite having limited draft capital and picking in the back end of most rounds, the Giants did well to land two players who immediately earned full-time roles, plus a promising receiver and a cornerback with the potential to develop into a starter one day in the sixth round.

Grade B+