Giants are expanding their vision of a big-play wide reciever heading into the 2023 NFL Draft

Jalin Hyatt Giants
Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt (11) pulls in the ball from a throw by tight end Princeton Fant (88) and runs in for a touchdown during the NCAA college football game against UT Martin on Saturday, October 22, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Despite advancing to the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs last season, the New York Giants came into this offseason with a clear desire to upgrade their passing attack. 

In 2022, the Giants’ wide receiving corps was something of a revolving door of players few expected to make a major impact coming into the season. The team traded oft-injured receiver Kadarius Toney to Kansas City, saw Kenny Golladay continue to lose his explosiveness, and dealt with injuries to Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson. 

As a result, the team’s leading receiver was Darius Slayton with just 724 yards. The Giants themselves finished 26th in the league in passing yards, 26th in passing touchdowns, 29th in yards gained per completion, and 19th in expected points contributed by the passing offense


21+ and present in participating states. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER!

21+ and present in Participating states. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLERBET $5
GET $200

Needless to say, in a league that features the Chiefs, Bengals, Bills, 49ers, and Eagles, the Giants need to find more explosive plays on offense if they have any hope of making a deep run in the playoffs.

While some have been underwhelmed by the Giants only adding Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder this offseason, and others believe that this wide receiving class lacks true “number one wide receiver” talent, the Giants seem unconcerned about the ability to add a talented playmaker to their team. 

Perhaps some of that is due to the fact that the Giants’ believe that, in today’s NFL, big-play wide receivers come in all shapes and sizes.  

“There’s certain value in how they’ll be utilized,” said general manager Joe Schoen on Thursday when asked about how receivers might fit in the Giants’ offense. “You know, they come in different sizes, shapes, and speeds, but we’re going through all those conversations right now…just going through what their role and utilization will be on the roster. First, down, second down, third. You know, what’s their fourth down value?”

It’s been clear from the start that Schoen values building a “complete football team,” which means having players that can contribute in all phases, including special teams. What’s also been clear is that Schoen has supreme confidence in head coach Brian Daboll’s ability to get valuable contributions out of players who have all different types of skill sets. 

“I think Dabs, that’s one of his strengths, him and Mike,” Schoen said. “Taking the pieces that you have and then trying to accentuate what they do best.”

When it comes to wide receivers, that means not just taking the biggest or fastest guy, but taking one that could be a key playmaker in Daboll’s system. 

“If you’ve got a guy that can take the top off and throw the ball down the field and he goes out and gets it like a Randy Moss, you’d love to have that” admitted Schoen while also acknowledging that big plays can come from “you know, Steve Smith and Carolina throwing the slant he can take 80 [yards]. Any time you can generate yards after catch, I mean, I think that helps you. So, I think all those things are important when you’re looking at the receiver.”

That means that even though this NFL Draft may lack the Ja’Marr Chase or Justin Jefferson level of receiving talent, there could still be big-play wide receivers who earn their chunk plays in different ways. 

Earlier this week, we covered a few of the potential wide receiver options that the Giants have met with during the offseason, and a few of them show up on the 2022 leaderboard in terms of yards gained per catch in college. 

Marvin Mims of Oklahoma was 3rd in the nation with 20.1 yards per catch. Jalin Hyatt from Tennessee was 13th with 18.9 yards per catch, while TCU’s Quentin Johnston was 24th with 17.8 yards per catch.

TCU's Quentin Johnston could be a target for the Giants
TCU’s Quentin Johnston runs after the catch in 2022

There are some under-the-radar options that pop up on the leaderboard as well, like Trea Shropshire of UAB who led the NCAA with 22.5 yards per catch and is expected to be an undrafted free agent, Matt Landers of Arkansas who could be a 6th round pick but had 901 yards on 19.2 yards per catch in 2022, or Jared Wayne from Pittsburgh who had 1,063 yards on 17.7 yards per catch. 

Schoen seems to feel that the Giants can find an explosive wide receiver even if it means only using a middle-round pick, as he did when he was with the Bills and drafted Gabe Davis in the 4th round of the 2020 draft. 

“His makeup was off the charts,” Schoen recalled. “The learns, the ability to move him around, his work ethic. You know, he checked all those boxes, and he’s a very productive receiver at Central Florida.”

“Again, it’s not always what you can see on film. That’s why we go and spend so much time with these kids is trying to figure out the makeup because, when you get to this level, everybody’s good. What’s gonna give you the competitive advantage? Why’s a fourth or fifth-round player gonna make it? Is it their work ethic? Is it their tireless pursuit of being great?”

When the Giants find the right answer to that question, they’ll pull the trigger on the team’s potential next big-play threat. It just might not come at the time or in the package that we’re expecting. 

For more Giants coverage, visit amNY Sports


    UP TO $1,500 ON CAESARS





  • MA and OH only. 21+. New users and first wager only. Must register with eligible promo code. Bet amount of qualifying wager returned only if wager is settled as a loss. Maximum bet credit $1,500; must be used within 14 days of receipt. See caesars.com/promos for full terms. Void where prohibited. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER