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2023 NFL Draft

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23 things you need to know (& some you don't) about Giants 2023 draft class


From standout combine numbers to college program records and high school glory days, here's everything you need to know (and some things you definitely don't) about the Giants' 2023 draft class.

First, here's a refresher on the seven picks:

1. Of the 319 prospects invited to Indianapolis, Banks posted the second-high athleticism score (98) at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, according to Next Gen Stats. He was the only defender in the top three, finishing just behind Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (99), who went fourth overall to the Indianapolis Colts. At 6-1 and 197 pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds (1.49 10-yard split) with a vertical leap of 42 inches and a broad jump of 11 feet, 4 inches.

2. If you want to know what Banks can do, just turn on the tape from Ohio State at Maryland, where he helped limit future top-five draft pick Marvin Harrison Jr. to five catches for 68 yards as the Terrapins took the Buckeyes down to the wire. Banks also blocked an extra point that was returned to the end zone. "I think it opened a lot [of eyes])," said Banks, who missed most of the previous season with a shoulder injury.

3. Speaking of big games against big opponents, Hyatt entered the national conversation on October 15, 2022, when Alabama, then ranked No. 3 in the country, came into Neyland Stadium to play No. 5 Tennessee. In front of 101,915 fans in Knoxville and millions of viewers watching on TV, Hyatt set the program record with five touchdown catches and 207 yards in a thrilling 52-49 victory over the Crimson Tide. Giants general manager Joe Schoen watched the first half from the field. "You could really feel his speed," Schoen said. "It's legit 4.3."

4. Hyatt became the first player in Volunteers history to win the Biletnikoff Award, which is presented annually to the nation's most outstanding receiver. He was also the 13th unanimous first-team All-American in Tennessee history and first since defensive back Eric Berry in 2009. Furthermore, Hyatt was the first wide receiver in program history to achieve that feat.

5. Aside from the whole being drafted thing, John Michael Schmitz has some eerie connections to Shaun O'Hara, the Giants' former three-time Pro Bowl center and Super Bowl champion:

O'Hara wore No. 60 with the Giants.

Schmitz wore No. 60 with the Gophers.

O'Hara was born at St. James Hospital on the South Side of Chicago in Homewood, Ill.

Schmitz played at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where he wore No. 74.

O'Hara's father, David, played at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where he wore…No. 74.

"The connections here are unbelievable," O'Hara, whose dad won the Cal Mall Award in 1969 for best athlete at Homewood-Flossmoor, said on NFL Network. "I know Giants fans are super excited to get this guy [Schmitz]. This guy is an unbelievable kid. He's a hard worker. P.J. Fleck, his head coach [at Minnesota], said not only is he the best player on the team; he's the hardest worker in the room. He's a Chitown guy. Would you expect anything less?"

View photos of the Giants' draft picks touring the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

6. Schmitz could have been drafted a year ago but returned to Minnesota for a sixth season. "The main reason I went back was for my team," he said. "Came in with a lot of those guys that were staying that extra year and I just wanted to go back to give it one last shot of winning a Big 10 Championship and leaving it all on the table."

7. Before he transferred to Oklahoma, Gray spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons at Tennessee, making him a sophomore when Hyatt was a freshman with the Volunteers. "Just a great, fast receiver," Gray recalled. "Very productive. You see what he did this past year bursting on to the scene. Great receiver."

8. Last year, Gray produced the ninth-best single-season rushing total in OU history (1,364 yards) and led the Big 12 by averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

9. A Memphis native, Gray was the first three-time Tennessee Titans Mr. Football winner. He was also a two-time Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year. His father, Eric, played running back at Tennessee State from 1985-87 and was his running backs coach in high school. His uncle, Maurice Hall, played running back at Ohio State and won a national championship.

10. Hawkins recorded 76 tackles in 2021, the most ever in a single season by an ODU cornerback. "He's a physical kid, not afraid to tackle," Schoen said. "You see a trend with some of these guys that we took at that position."

View photos of the New York Giants' seven-member draft class.

11. Riley played at three other schools (North Carolina, Garden City Community College, Nebraska) before finishing his collegiate career at Oregon, where he started all 13 games for the Ducks in final season of eligibility. "You walk out to practice and there's this 6-5, 330-pound guy, who piques your interest right there," Schoen said. "Again, some of these guys in different schemes may not have the production, the tackles, the sacks. But for what [defensive coordinator] Wink [Martindale] looks for in terms of size, length, knock back, he possesses those traits."

12. After spending one season at Northeast Oklahoma A&M, Owens was selected first team All-AAC as a junior and second team as a senior at Houston. "Another physical kid," Schoen said. "Projects well to special teams and also compete for a depth role."

13. A Baltimore native, Banks grew up a Ravens fan, so he is familiar with Martindale's defense. "I actually watched it a lot," Banks said of Martindale, who spent 10 seasons on the Baltimore Ravens' coaching staff before he joined the Giants. "They send a lot of pressure and put man behind it. I like that."

14. Banks lists Tavon Austin as his sports hero. Austin, who played in over 100 NFL games and scored 26 touchdowns between rushing and receiving, is also a Baltimore native. "He gave kids like me, a kid like I was, a hope," Banks said. "He gives us hope, and that's what I'm trying to do right now."

15. The reason John Michael Schmitz goes by three names is simple. "I kind of just went along with the flow, but I was always John Michael growing up because I'm a junior and my dad was always John. The name just kind of stuck with me."

Step into the new draft room as the Giants make their picks for the 2023 class.

16. Schmitz was in attendance for the Giants' playoff victory over the Vikings in Minnesota. Which team has he cheering for, though? "I was at the game just watching football, that's all I've got to say (laughs)."

17. In terms of centers he admires, Schmitz has always liked how Tampa Bay's Ryan Jensen plays the game. "He's one of the nastiest people on the field and just the way he plays, his mentality, you know that he's going to bring it every play. He's a tremendous leader, also."

18. Schoen isn't concerned about Hyatt's frame. He measured 6-0 and 176 pounds at the combine, which is nearly identical to Philadelphia's DeVonta Smith two year prior. "There's a similar body type down the road that we play twice a year, that's a good player." Hyatt said he is just a pound or two shy of his ideal playing weight of 190. "It definitely adds more confidence," Hyatt said. "Easier to catch the ball in contested areas. People can't knock you off of routes and can't knock you off of releases."

19. Owens graded as his conference's top overall and cover safety by Pro Football Focus.

20. Hyatt starred at Dutch Fork High School (Irmo, S.C.), where he finished as the all-time leader in receiving yards (3,624) and receiving touchdowns (57). He had three touchdown catches in the 2019 state championship game, including the game-winner in overtime, to lead the Silver Foxes to their fourth straight state title.

21. Gray scored the game-winning touchdown (five-yard run) with 2:35 left in his 2016 state championship game. The team won 12-9 and finished the season 14-0.

22. In 2020, Gray became the first Vol to score a rushing and receiving touchdown in a game since Alvin Kamara in 2016.

23. Gray served as a middle school math tutor and raised money for Touchdowns Against Cancer (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital initiative). He held a 3.5 GPA in high school and was named to the First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll.


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