American Football

Matt Miller 2-round mock draft: Giants get speedy wide receiver and a center


Florida v Tennessee
Jalin Hyatt | Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

Do you like Miller’s selections for the Giants?

NFL 2023 mock drafts are now going to begin reflecting what draft analysts learned at the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game. On Monday, ESPN’s Matt Miller released what might be the first big post all-star game mock draft draft. [Subscriber only] Let’s go through his choices for the New York Giants in this two-round exercise.

Round 1 (No. 25) — Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Miller writes:

Watch a couple of games from the Giants’ 2022 season, and it’s painfully obvious the team’s biggest need is at wide receiver — as long as quarterback Daniel Jones is either franchise-tagged or re-signed. The signal-caller took a huge step in his development but now needs help around him to further that growth. The only players on the roster to catch more than 50 passes in 2022 were a running back (Saquon Barkley, 57) and a journeyman receiver (Richie James, 57).

Hyatt exploded onto the scene in Tennessee’s vertical tempo offense, catching 67 passes for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns, all while averaging a clean 18.9 yards per catch. He is a certified deep threat, with one area scout telling me at the Senior Bowl that he’ll likely run in the low 4.3-second range in the 40-yard dash. The Giants are desperate for a receiver who can stretch the field and be Jones’ version of Stefon Diggs, whom coach Brian Daboll used so well while in Buffalo. Hyatt has the vertical speed to fit that role.

Valentine’s View: I absolutely understand the speed, and why people would be excited about it. See John Ross’s career, though, for why speed just isn’t enough.

I have concerns about the fact that Hyatt was almost exclusively a slot receiver at Tennessee and the limited route tree he ran. Can he do more than run fast in a straight line?

Pro Football Network thinks he can:

DeSean Jackson, Will Fuller, Jameson Willams. What do those three WRs have in common? They were speedy 5’10”-6’1″ and sub-190-pound collegiate pass catchers who were selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. And Hyatt has the potential to join their esteemed group.

The Tennessee WR owns a similar projection as well: an outside Z receiver who can stretch the field and take pressure off the No. 1. The NFL loves speed; just look at Hyatt’s former teammate Velus Jones Jr., who was selected in Round 3 at 25 years old last year. That’s a relatively safe floor for Hyatt’s profile.

Not only is the Tennessee WR 21 years old, but he is also the superior prospect. While he must refine the details of the position and develop his overall technique, his long speed and proven downfield ability are worth banking on.

Round 2 (No. 57) — Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin

Miller writes:

Tippmann can be coach Brian Daboll’s New York version of Mitch Morse as an agile center who can pull, trap and lead block in the run game while captaining the offensive line. Tippmann could be drafted higher than this in April based on team need, as he’s my No. 2-ranked center in the class.

Valentine’s View: Tippmann is not a player I am familiar with — and will now have to study. I have no issue, though, with the idea of selecting a center. John Michael Schmitz of Minnesota went No. 32 (first pick of Round 2) to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Steve Avila of TCU went No. 34 to the Arizona Cardinals, making Tippmann the third center selected in Miller’s mock.

The NFL Mock Draft Database says this is early for Tippmann, ranked No. 118 currently on their consensus big board.

Draft Network says:

Tippmann projects as a day-one starting center for multiple NFL offenses and schemes. Tippmann is a scheme-versatile blocker that impresses on both running and passing plays. His power and athleticism allow him to win single or double-team reps. Tippmann is the quarterback of the offensive line and his knowledge of blocking schemes will assist his acclimation to the league. He has the physical ability to develop into a long-term starting center in the league.

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