Jalin Hyatt isn’t about to tiptoe into his first NFL season. Instead the New York Giants’ rookie is setting a lofty goal, one that could see him emulate Pro Bowl teammate Saquon Barkley.
Hyatt told reporters at training camp on Thursday, August 3, “I want to be Offensive Rookie of the Year. I think that’s the biggest thing I want to do,” per SNY.tv’s Giants Videos.
If he wins the award, Hyatt will be the first Giants’ player since Barkley to claim the accolade. Barkley collected the prize after a prolific debut campaign in 2018, becoming only the second Giants’ winner after Odell Beckham Jr. set a franchise first by being named OROY in 2014.
Hyatt still has a ways to go before he proves as dynamic as Barkley and Beckham, but the third-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft has been making his share of big plays at camp.
Jalin Hyatt Already Adding Key Element to Giants’ Offense
Deep speed is why the Giants traded up with the Los Angeles Rams to select Hyatt 73rd overall. The 21-year-old proved himself a natural field-stretcher during three seasons at the University of Tennessee.
Key numbers support Hyatt’s status as a vertical threat. Hyatt averaged 16.4 yards per reception during his career with the Volunteers, per Sports Reference, before setting a 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine.
He’s been showcasing that speed at camp, connecting with quarterback Daniel Jones on a number of deep strikers, including this one.
It’s not the only time Jones has gone long to find Hyatt. The two combined again on this deep strike highlighted by Bobby Skinner of Talkin’ Giants.
These are the kind of plays the Giants found hard to manufacture in 2022. A Jones-led passing game propped up the league rankings with just 28 completions of 20-plus yards.
Adding Hyatt to the mix immediately expands how the Giants can attack defenses through the air. It’s the kind of change that can prove worthy of an award, although Hyatt would need to post some impressive numbers to emulate what Barkley and Beckham achieved.
Rookie Needs Special Season to Match Giants’ Greats
Barkley put up awesome numbers as a rookie, including a career-high 91 catches, per NFL UK.
Those numbers show how overly-reliant the Giants are on Barkley to help move the ball. General manager Joe Schoen has sought to fix the issue by surrounding Jones with better targets.
The new faces include Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller, along with wide receivers Parris Campbell and Cole Beasley. All three can thrive between the numbers, but Hyatt can be the Giants’ first legitimate explosive playmaker on the perimeter since Beckham was earning an award.
Hyatt will need to emerge from a crowded rotation also featuring Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard and Jamison Crowder. If he can, the first-year pass-catcher should become Jones’ go-to receiver.
Even if he only works as a deep threat early in the season, Hyatt can open up exciting possibilities for the whole offense. His ability to take the top off of defenses will force opponents to keep safeties deep instead of stacking the box to stop Barkley. Any team willing to double Hyatt on the outside will be vulnerable across the middle against Waller, Campbell and Co.
Hyatt doesn’t need to match Beckham and Barkley’s award-winning ways to transform and elevate the Giants’ offense.