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Fact or Fiction: Deonte Banks vs. Jalin Hyatt matchup


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Deonte Banks vs. Jalin Hyatt is the top 1-on-1 matchup in practice this Spring

John Schmeelk: Fact – You could go with Dexter Lawrence vs. John Michael-Schmitz if the team was in pads and hitting during Spring practice. How well will the rookie handle the best nose tackle in the sport? But since no pads are on and no contact is allowed at this time, watching the speed of Banks versus Hyatt is just pure entertainment.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Banks put himself on the map with a big performance against Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr., one of the best wide receivers in the nation last season. Hyatt, meanwhile, won the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the nation.

Lance Medow: Fact – Whenever you draft a pair of players, who will line up opposite one another, by default, you have to put them atop the list because we haven't seen them in action before. Deonte Banks' press man skills against Jalin Hyatt's speed is an intriguing head-to-head matchup and one that will test both players' strengths. It's also more feasible for a wide receiver and corner to get some valuable reps against one another now as opposed to players in the trenches given there's no contact allowed during this time of the year. A very close second would be Darren Waller against whichever safety or corner he sees the most.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Banks vs. Hyatt might be the top matchup at rookie minicamp this weekend, but let's go with the battles between Andrew Thomas/Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux/Azeez Ojulari as the best of the Spring. All four of these players are core pieces of the team and should play a large role in the Giants' potential success this season and beyond. Banks will have to endure the learning curve we see many rookie cornerbacks face, while Hyatt has a lot of competition for playing time in the WR room. Both players still need to earn their spot on the field.

Jordon Riley is the most intriguing Day 3 pick

John Schmeelk: Fiction – Eric Gray all the way. Gray had the talent to be an end of Day 2 pick in a different running back draft class in a different year. He has all the receiving skills you want out of a running back in the modern NFL, and he can make people miss in the open field to turn short passes or runs into big gains. With a creative offensive staff like the Giants have, he will be a playmaker who helps the team win games immediately.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Like general manager Joe Schoen said, "It's hard to find these guys. … You walk out to practice and there's this 6-5, 330-pound guy, who piques your interest right there. Again, some of these guys in different schemes may not have the production, the tackles, the sacks. But for what Wink looks for in terms of size, length, knock back, he possesses those traits."

Lance Medow: Fiction – Jordon Riley has the size and frame to serve as a valuable run stopper in the NFL but if we're going to focus on the term intrigue, then go with the team's other seventh-round selection, Houston safety Gervarrius Owens, who was a defensive playmaker as well as a special teams contributor. Over his four years in Houston, Owens had two blocked punts, a pick six and earned All-Conference honors as a mainstay in the secondary. He seems to showcase the speed necessary to cover a great deal of territory on defense and make some splash plays on special teams.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Riley is likely the most intriguing pick of the draft in terms of size alone, but let's go with Gervarrius Owens of Houston. The defensive back brings both size (6-foot, 195-pounds) and athleticism to the secondary, as his 81 athleticism score ranked fifth among all safeties at the NFL combine. He was a four-year starter with the Cougars and was voted team captain his senior year, all while seeing playing time at safety and cornerback. Owens' start might be on special teams, but don't be surprised to see the Giants' final pick in the 2023 draft eventually earn some playing time on defense.

View photos of the locker room and the 2023 class getting fitted for equipment ahead of rookie minicamp.

Wide receiver is the offensive competition to watch once OTAs kick off

John Schmeelk: Fact – The wide receiver room is PACKED. Wandale Robinson and Sterling Shepard are recovering from injury, but even with those two players likely unavailable to work, there will be a lot of talented players on the field. Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins return to try to hold onto their spots. Collin Johnson is the size in the room, trying to return from a torn ACL suffered last August. Parris Campbell arrives with a lot of talent and speed. Jameson Crowder is a vet with a lot of pelts on the wall. Jalin Hyatt is trying to force his way into playing time. David Sills is back for another season. Then you have new addition Jeff Smith, and all the practice squad and future contract players making 13 wide receivers in all. It is going to be a dogfight.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Because of the non-contact rules in spring football, wide receiver is naturally the position to watch while the big men up front have to wait until the summer to get some hits in. A big contract wasn't the only thing the Giants gave Daniel Jones this off-season; he got some new weapons, too.

Lance Medow: Fact – Following free agency and the draft, there's a lot of volume at the wide receiver position, which should create competition across the board, especially since they'll likely only keep six players at that position. Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard and Wan'Dale Robinson are returning from last season, although the latter two are coming off injuries. The same can be said for Collin Johnson, who often gets overlooked since he was hurt late in camp and missed the entire 2022 campaign. Even if one or two of the injured players begin camp on the PUP list, they still added Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, Jeff Smith and Jalin Hyatt this off-season. No job is safe at this point and while the Spring may not provide enough for any means of separation within the group, by the time we get to training camp, certain players will absolutely stand out. OTAs are simply the appetizer.

Matt Citak: Fact – The group battling it for the starting left guard position comes in a close second, but the wide receiver competition is surely the one to watch, both in the off-season program and once training camp starts. After adding Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, Jeff Smith and Jalin Hyatt in the off-season, while also bringing back Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, the wide receiver corps might now be the most crowded of any position on the roster. In addition to the seven players mentioned above, Collin Johnson and Wan'Dale Robinson will be returning from season-ending injuries suffered last year. The group now has plenty of depth, and we'll have to wait and see which players can separate themselves from the rest of the group.

Cornerback is the defensive competition to watch once OTAs kick off

John Schmeelk: Fact – Can Deonte Banks grab hold of that second outside cornerback spot away from incumbents Nick McCloud and Cor'Dale Flott? When does Aaron Robinson get healthy? Can veteran addition Amani Oruwariye make his way into the lineup? The battle at slot cornerback is also a fun one. Darnay Holmes started there last year but can Flott cut into his snaps? Or do the Giants turn to a crafty veteran in the slot like Bobby McCain? Many questions. It should be fun to watch.

Dan Salomone: Fact – All eyes will be on Deonte Banks, the top pick. He's not afraid to get physical, which is a common trait among the three defensive backs in the 2023 draft class.

Lance Medow: Fact – Similar to wide receiver, there's also depth, in terms of volume, at corner so it will be a numbers game at that position. You also have several players looking to bounce back from injuries, including Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams as well as Cor'Dale Flott, who was in and out of the lineup during his rookie campaign. Nick McCloud, Darnay Holmes and Zyon Gilbert are returning and they added rookie Deonte Banks and veterans Amani Oruwariye and Bobby McCain, who has experience at corner and safety. Much like at wideout, they won't be able to keep everyone based on all the players listed above. That's more of a reason why that's the position to watch, beginning this Spring. You shouldn't overlook the defensive line but, at this point, it's as much of a numbers crunch as they have at corner.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Go with the competition at inside linebacker. Bobby Okereke was the team's big free agent signing and should serve as the anchor of the defense, but who starts next to him remains up in the air. Jarrad Davis, who started the regular season finale and both postseason games last season, was re-signed, while Darrian Beavers should be back after he tore his ACL during the 2022 preseason. Micah McFadden, Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin round out the group of inside linebackers on the roster, although the latter two played almost exclusively on special teams last year. Beavers was one of the standouts at training camp last year prior to his injury, but the second-year linebacker will have competition for the starting spot next to Okereke. This is one to keep an eye on over the next few months.

View photos of every move made by the Giants during the 2023 cycle.