The case can be made that Joe Schoen deserves an A+ grade in his role as New York Giants general manager since arriving in January 2022. Drafting well, shedding some team-unfriendly contracts and acquiring difference-making players along the way.
Perhaps his most intriguing move happened on August 24 when the Giants traded a 2024 seventh-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for LB/S Isaiah Simmons.
During a press conference on Thursday, August 31, Schoen was asked how Simmons would be used in the defense. The ever-coy Schoen said that defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has a “vision” for Simmons and that “for the compensation, we thought it made sense”.
Just come out and say it Joe! The Giants stole Isaiah Simmons and it may be the move that vaults New York’s defense to the next level.
Simmons was selected No. 8 overall in the 2020 NFL draft but has been considered to be playing out of position at corner and safety with the Cardinals. Many think he can thrive next to Bobby Okereke and be a weapon for Wink as a linebacker. “Explosive” and “athletic” are two words Giants coach Brian Daboll used to describe Simmons who joins the Giants’ defense that lacked depth at the linebacker position.
Giants Ready to Flash New Additions on Opening Night
Alongside the anticipation of Simmons sparking the defense, the Giants have added many new weapons that will play pivotal roles in 2023. Rookie WR Jalin Hyatt has been turning heads during the preseason with his speed and chose a familiar jersey number for himself, the No. 13, formerly donned by Odell Beckham Jr. from 2014 to 2018.
The Giants also plan to give significant playing time to their pair of rookie cornerbacks. First-round pick Deonte Banks and seventh-round pick Tre Hawkins.
Daniel Jones’ favorite target this preseason was the newly acquired Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller, who has received immense praise from Jones.
“I mean, he’s a big target. He runs good routes, creates separation, he’s an easy guy to find. So, yeah, he’s a talented player, a smart guy, understands defense, understands where we’re trying to use him and how to get open,” Jones told reporters on August 18. “He’s extremely versatile. I think that is something that’s impressed me. He’s got the vertical speed to run past people, but he’s also got a good feel and understanding of the underneath stuff also.”
Giants Roster Almost at Full Strength for Week 1
With the news that WR Wan’Dale Robinson was removed from the PUP list and has started practicing, it looks as if the roster will be at near full strength on Sunday night, September 10.
Robinson was selected 43rd overall in 2022 and had been making progress as a slot receiver in offensive coordinator Mike Kafka’s system. In a Week 11 loss against the Detroit Lions, Robinson had 9 catches for 100 yards but suffered an ACL tear and was placed on injured reserve, ending his rookie season early.
After an extensive recovery period, Robinson was officially removed from the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list on August 29. Schoen addressed Robinson’s status during the August 31 press conference, mentioning that it’s premature to determine if Robinson will be ready for the team’s 2023 opener.
The other big injury that was cause for concern was the concussion suffered by last year’s No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal. He hurt his head on August 4 but was cleared on August 16 and looks in line to start at right tackle in Week 1.