A sore back, hand, and thumb defined Joe Schoen's 2023 draft experience.
The back still hurts from defensive coordinator Wink Martindale's bear hug after the selection of cornerback Deonte Banks. The hands went numb from having to sit on them while waiting for their turn to draft center John Michael Schmitz. As for the thumb, Jalin Hyatt stuck out like one when he wasn't off the board yet in the third round.
All in all the discomfort was a small price to pay.
The second-year general manager believes they will be building blocks in sustaining the team's success. Schoen recently joined the “Giants Huddle: Front Office Edition” podcast to reveal some of the inner workings of the three-day draft, which saw the Giants take seven players.
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Below are highlights from the interview.
On how the board fell on the first night:
"Maybe the guys didn't go exactly to the teams we thought they would or the slots they went to, but probably our top 10 to 13 players we nailed in terms of, hey, they're probably going to be gone before we pick [at No. 24]. Once we got into the Washington [at No. 16], Pittsburgh [at No. 14] area, we said, OK, well, this is where the draft really begins for us."
On what goes into making draft-day trades, which the Giants did twice in the first three rounds by moving up to select Banks and Hyatt:
"We have trade charts that we use, and we have different formulas that we use based on the Jimmy Johnson chart or something our analytics department put together. You look at the value. You see if it makes sense. Are you going to win, lose, is it even? And then at the end of the day, if you lose a little bit, are you really winning because you're getting the player you want, or for me, sometimes I look at the pick I'm giving up, who do we like at that part of our board? If that player is so much better than what you're going to get at the pick you're giving up, it just makes sense. I've been there before where you're disappointed you don't get somebody you want and the opportunity to get players that you like, you feel much better at the end of the day."
On what made Banks the right choice in the first round:
"Prototype size. He's got speed. He's got strength. He's got physicality. He can play press man. He's a 4.36 guy that really fit what the defensive staff was looking for in a corner. He ended up being the fourth corner off the board in the first round, and he was actually an ideal fit for what we were looking for in our defense. He was a guy that the defensive coaches coveted, the scouting staff liked, coaching staff in terms of [coach Brian Daboll] liked. So, when you have consensus within the building on a player and is a fit and what he can do for the organization and he's there at the right opportunity, it's a win-win for everybody."
On Martindale's reaction to the Banks pick:
"He was obviously super excited, and it's something for his defense that's very important – having two good corners. So with Tae Banks and Adoree' [Jackson], I think the defense has taken a little bit more shape in terms of what he wants it to look like. But Tae Banks was one of his favorite players in the draft, and when we were able to get him, he was obviously very excited. My back is still a little bit of sore from that bear hug he gave me."
On sweating out the second-round selection of center John Michael Schmitz:
"That was a tough one to sit on our hands and wait for because center was potentially a need. Again, we, we have a lot of confidence in Ben Bredeson, and John will come in and compete with those guys. But we really liked his school film. I saw him play live. I saw him at the senior Bowl. He had a great week. Another guy that there was consensus between the coaching staff and the scouting staff. New York Giant DNA, through and through: smart, tough, dependable and a good football player. So, the fact that we were able to stay pat, and again, I had to sit on my hands on that one. Luckily he was there when we picked. The Bears traded up right before we picked him. There was a little bit of concern that may be a guy that they covet, [general manager] Ryan Poles being a former offensive lineman. So, that was a little bit of an intense moment when they traded up in front of us because I think it was known that center was a need. So excited to get John and looking forward to getting him here."
On trading up for Hyatt:
"Jalen Hyatt's another guy that we had graded fairly high on our board, and when we got into the third round, he was sticking out a little bit like a sore thumb. As we're going through, I talked to [director of player personnel Tim [McDonnell] and [assistant director of player personnel] Dennis [Hickey] and [assistant general manager] Brandon [Brown] said, hey, let's start making some phone calls and see if we could give up our fourth. When does it come into play that we would just have to give up our fourth. And [Rams head coach] Sean McVay had actually texted Dabs the night before. Dabs is like, hey, what if I text McVay? I said, yeah, go ahead. So, we typed in the terms and Dabs sent it off to coach McVay, and eventually they called us back and it worked out. He brings us some height. He's over six feet. He ran 4.3. He can stretch the field, and that's something that we thought we maybe we were missing a little bit of last year. People want to play tight boxes against us with Saquon [Barkley], and this gives us a chance to go vertical if we need to."
On seeing Hyatt's legendary five-touchdown performance against Alabama in person:
"I did attend the Alabama-Tennessee game, and it's funny because [Cedric] Tillman, the other receiver, was the one that was super-productive the year before. So, he was kind of the guy you're going to see, and then that was Jalen Hyatt's coming out party and you're like, oh my gosh, who is this guy? Oh, he's an underclassman but he's draft eligible. So, when you saw his speed live and the production he had against that Alabama defense, a coveted Alabama defense coached by Nick Saban, you're like, OK, who is this kid? And the more research we did, we continued to follow him and he continued to elevate his game [with] each opportunity he was given. So, that was my first exposure to him. Again, he really wasn't on the radar. That game obviously put him on the map and then we continued to follow him and he continued to answer each question throughout the process in the spring. We're fortunate to have him."
On fifth-round running back Eric Gray: "A quick, explosive, instinctive, three-down back that we're excited to have."
On sixth-round cornerback Tre Hawkins III: "Big, physical, long, fast."
On seventh-round defensive lineman Jordon Riley: "Big man with length, strength, can hold the point and can defend the run."
On seventh-round safety Gervarrius Owens: "Tall, long, fast deep-field safety that can come up and strike you but also can play in pass coverage."
Step into the new draft room as the Giants make their picks for the 2023 class.
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