Giants get center Schmitz and WR Hyatt on Day 2 of NFL draft
By TOM CANAVAN
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Giants may finally have found a deep-threat receiver and a center for quarterback Daniel Jones, taking John Michael Schmitz and speedy wide out Jalin Hyatt in the second and third rounds of the NFL draft Friday night.
The Giants grabbed Schmitz of Minnesota in the second round and then traded up to No. 73 overall in the third round to take Hyatt, the speedster from Tennessee who caught 15 touchdowns this past season, including an SEC-record five against Alabama.
While the selection of Schmitz makes up for losing centers Jon Feliciano and Nick Gates in free agency, the Giants are hoping Hyatt turns out to be their first big-play receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz before him.
The 6-foot Hyatt had 11 catches of 40-plus yards, seven of 50-plus and five of 60-plus last season, all tops in major college football.
“I feel like I’m probably the best deep threat receiver in the draft,” said Hyatt, who runs a 4.4 second 40-yard dash. “I really do believe that. You know, the Giants really got a playmaker. They got a dynamic playmaker, an explosive playmaker and that’s what I want to bring to the team.”
Jones, who signed a four-year, $160 million contract after a career year in 2022, texted Hyatt and asked if he was ready to go.
“I’m here for the team,” said Hyatt, who said he can play in the slot or on the outside. “I’m here for the coach. I’m here for Daniel Jones and what he wants to do. So like I said, they brought a great asset and I’m just here to prove why I’m here.”
Despite making the playoffs for the first time since 2016, the Giants were among the league's worst offenses in generating big plays.
In moving up to get Hyatt, the Giants gave the Los Angeles Rams their third and fourth-round selections.
Hyatt had been projected to be taken no later than the middle of the second round so New York may have gotten a steal.
Giants general manager Joe Schoen, who attended the game in which Hyatt scored five TDs against Alabama, said he considered taking Hyatt at No. 57 overall. However, he felt Schmitz was too good to pass up at that point.
The 24-year-old Schmitz played five seasons with the Golden Gophers of the Big Ten, starting his final 35 games.
The Illinois native described himself as a tough, dependable, nasty guy who probably will get a shot at replacing Feliciano in the starting lineup. His personality is very much like that of Feliciano.
Schoen and coach Brian Daboll said Schmitz's nastiness is obvious on film.
Schmitz was proud of it.
“That’s the biggest thing I would say,” Schmitz said. “The nasty, tough, grit factor, definitely.”
Still, he will need to fight to take the job. The Giants have 14 offensive linemen on their roster and said the coaches were confident one could play center.
New York selected Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks in the first round with the 24th pick overall.
Heading into the final day of the draft, the Giants could still use an inside linebacker, a safety and possibly another running back, with Saquon Barkley's future uncertain after being franchised this offseason.
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Updated April 28, 2023