The preseason finale is Saturday. College football begins this weekend. NFL rosters must be reduced from 90 to 53 players next Tuesday. The Giants kick off against the Cowboys three Sundays from now.
Needless to say, there's a lot on Brandon Brown's plate right now.
That's why Monday was a perfect time to hear from the assistant general manager, who went in-depth on a number of topics, including how they found possible late-round draft gems and what goes on behind the scenes leading up to Week 1.
Here's what you need to know:
🔹 Compared to this time a year ago, the roster has "more speed, explosiveness on both sides of the ball and just competition every day."
🔹 Brown shed light on the process of next week when more than a thousand players will hit the market following roster cutdowns.
"The nice part is that we're really meticulous, especially with our pro department and (director of pro scouting) Chris Rossetti leading the pro department on how we go about evaluating. Whether it's the pro scouts being split up with different team assignments, (director of player personnel) Tim McDonnell and myself overseeing whether it's NFC, AFC, funneling players of interest up to (general manager) Joe (Schoen), having (assistant director of player personnel) Dennis Hickey and (executive advisor to the general manager) Ryan Cowden all filling in just in terms of canvassing the landscape.
"If there's guys that are playing well out there, there's nothing that's going to be a surprise to us whether it's a guy that's at the cutdown, whether it's a guy who's traded in the next two weeks, we will be doing our due diligence throughout the process. So, whether teams decide to cut prematurely to call it a benchmark of 80 before they get down to 53, we'll be prepared. There's no curveballs or surprises on our end."
🔹 Last year, the new regime made a handful of claims between the 53-man roster announcement and Week 1. Will that be the case again? "Obviously, we've elevated the talent overall of the team, but we're going to canvass everything. At the end of the day, when you look at it, it's going to be acquire, develop, retain. That's what we want to do. It's acquiring the best talent, developing the best talent and retaining the best talent. So, we're always going to look for upgrades, and sometimes where we are in the claim order, it's different than last year, right? So that preference in the claim order where we land up, it's going to be something that we monitor it, but we're going to do our due diligence. There's going to be guys that are claimed that we will have maybe four, five, six reports in on, but it might not get to us in the claim order. So, we're going to look at what the sweet spots are, where there's surplus in the market, and see if there's opportunity to help us."
🔹 The 2023 draft class was the result of a conscious effort to add "generators on the offensive side, getting more explosive on the defensive side, guys that fit our brand."
🔹 When there's synergy between the scouting department and the coaching staff, it allows teams to find players "within the margin. There are guys that may be imperfect later on as you go in terms of on Day 3, but we're asking them to do things that fit the system. That accentuates their positive traits. So, I'm excited. I'm excited. Obviously, there's been early success, but the book isn't written yet. But it's a good start right now."
🔹 Rookie wide receiver Jalin Hyatt has "more talent in his body than the role he was asked to play at Tennessee."
🔹 The Giants did their "due diligence" on Hyatt. "It's knowing what he was asked to do at Tennessee. It's us having those extra conversations with his position coach at Tennessee, talking to the coaching staff at Tennessee, knowing what their system called for."
🔹 It was a "full process" with Hyatt, starting with the college department identifying the future Biletnikoff Award winner early on. "That allowed Joe, Tim and Dennis to go see him against Alabama."
🔹 In identifying cornerback Tre Hawkins III out of Old Dominion, you look "no further than the physical traits."
🔹 Brown calls Hawkins "Temple, Texas tough."
🔹 Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is "very particular of what plays in the system and what's at a premium. We know, hey, you've got to be able to run, got to be strong, guys that have length and you've got to be willing to be physical in the run game also in press coverage. So, when you look at Tre, he's a guy that stood out at the All-Star game. It's not a surprise to us."
🔹 Nothing has been too big for Hawkins. "Every time there's been a platform, he's answered the bell."
🔹 Brown said you can't talk about rookie defensive lineman Jordon Riley "without mentioning Dennis Hickey and Tim McDonnell. They were driving forces in terms of the process of Jordon."
🔹 Brown told the story about how Riley became their seventh-round draft choice: "I remember going back to my notes; Jordon's not on anybody's radar. It's October, Dennis Hickey goes out to Oregon and sees him and is like, 'B, listen, I'm just telling you this guy has traits that we want to play with knockback, we want to be big up front, want to control the line of scrimmage, he fits our brand of ball.' Tim tells me, 'B, we need to go see him play.' So, Tim and I went and saw him play against Cal. Tim's been the ultimate checks and balances for me, someone that I have blind trust in where he says we need to go watch this guy. … You can walk out to warmups, and he sticks out like a sore thumb."
🔹 The biggest difference in Daniel Jones this year is "just confidence.'
🔹 Jones "knows that we have his back and that we believe in him."
🔹 It was the front office's job to surround Jones with "generators."
🔹 Daboll speaks a lot about generators, who are "not just guys that are run-after-catch, but guys that can be quick-strike players, guys that can create open windows for him. So, I think our job is making him the best version of himself and him coming back and doing the work with the skill guys over the summer, it all just lends itself to him being more confident and us gelling and finding our groove earlier."
🔹 Conference realignment in college doesn't greatly affect their scouting process. "We still have to go see the games. Now, what it will help is seeing their best versus another team's best, right? So, you don't have to worry about maybe a watered-down game. As we're putting together our travel schedule, we know that we can go see two premier teams playing every single week, or we can have multiple looks at iron-sharpens-iron, best-versus-best. It allows us to easier see what's playing at a high level on the big stage. That would be probably the biggest thing, but it won't change our scouting processes at all."
Catch up on all the action from Monday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.