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2023 NFL Draft

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Giants trade up with Rams, select Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Daniel Jones might have a new best friend.

The Giants Friday traded up for the second time in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft to secure a player they wanted. A day after moving up one spot to take cornerback Deonte Banks in the first round, the Giants dealt the 89th overall selection and their fourth-round pick, No. 128, to the Los Angeles Rams for No. 73, where they chose Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, who instantly becomes the Giants' fastest player, most lethal deep threat and perhaps Jones' favorite target.

Hyatt heard from Jones before he had a chance to begin his post-selection conference call with the media.

"Daniel, he already texted me," Hyatt said. "I can already tell, he's the leader of the team. Like I said, by the time I get up there, that's one of the first that I'm going to meet with to understand what he does, what he likes in games, what his best throws, what he wants me to do for him. I think when you build that connection with a quarterback, you can go as far as you want to go."

Hyatt is confident he can go far – and get there quickly.

"The Giants, they wanted explosive playmakers and that's what I want to bring and add to the team," he said.

No Giants receiver caught more than 57 passes, gained more than 724 yards nor scored more than four touchdowns in 2022, so Hyatt should have an opportunity to make an immediate and substantial impact.

Which is why general manager Joe Schoen was not going to wait and hope Hyatt was still available 16 picks after they selected him.

"It was a good player that we liked that was kind of sticking out on our board, so at a position that we thought he could help us at receiver," Schoen said. "He ran 4.3 and some change (in the 40-yard dash), and you could feel his speed on film. I mean, that's legit. Just a player we liked, and we spent some time with, and we thought the value is good for what we had to give up to go get him."

Coach Brian Daboll, a serial FaceTimer, started the conversation between the teams by texting Rams coach Sean McVay.

"Dabs actually executed his first trade," Schoen said. "He initiated the trade with the Rams; so, I congratulate him on that. If you know somebody, hey, why don't you shoot the Rams a text, or you know, give them a call and again, this is what it looks like it would be, does it make sense and we just call and say, hey, when you're on the clock, let us know."

Daboll first had to master the basics of texting.

"We had to type it in his phone for him," Schoen said. "He said, 'Here, just type it in for me.'"

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

Schoen is a longtime friend of Tennessee coach Josh Heupel, who provided valuable intel on his speedy receiver.

"We go way back," Schoen said. "Oklahoma was my (scouting) area a long time ago when he was a quarterbacks coach. I've known him for a long time, and he was the head coach at Central Florida when we took Gabe Davis when we were in Buffalo. There's some history there. I called him at some point today and just checked on Hyatt. We had him in on a visit. I'm not sure why he was there, but we feel good about him and glad he was."

What does Schoen think of the Jones/Hyatt partnership?

"We'll see how it works out," he said. "I know we've spent time with him. He's a great kid and he embodies what we want to be about. He's a good football player. Everybody is going to come in here, compete, earn their spot, and we'll see how it falls. But he's wired the right way.

Hyatt, 6-0 and 195 pounds, was one of the fastest, most exciting, and most productive receivers in the draft. In 2022, he was arguably the most explosive playmaker in college football, a unanimous All-America.

In his first two seasons with the Volunteers, Hyatt caught 41 passes, averaged 12.2 yards per reception and scored four touchdowns. In 12 games last year – he opted out of the Orange Bowl – Hyatt had 67 receptions for 1,267 yards, an 18.9-yard average, and scored a school single-season record 15 touchdowns. Hyatt's five touchdowns against Alabama were another Tennessee record.

"I think he's a good player," Daboll said. "I think he runs some of the routes that we run here. You can see, a little bit like Gabe, how it might translate. But everything is new for him. He's a young guy. We'll throw him in the mix with the other receivers and let those guys compete it out. A good visit here. Definitely has some qualities that you like when you're watching him. Good young man. So, happy we have him."

Despite his impressive numbers, Hyatt is eager to prove there's more to his game than blazing speed.

"I love it when I'm counted out and the Giants, they took a chance on me," Hyatt said. "So, I'm forever grateful but at the same time, I know now it's time to put in the work and now I know it's time to go. I was never picked first for anything. I'm grateful for the Giants giving me an opportunity and I can't wait to go and show and do what I have to do."

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


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