Nobody can accuse the New York Giants of failing to do their due diligence involving the best wide receivers in the 2023 NFL draft. Head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen have already met with several top prospects, most recently sitting down to dinner with a wideout compared to five-time Pro-Bowler DeAndre Hopkins.
The dinner with Quentin Johnston took place before the player’s pro day at TCU on Thursday, March 30, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan:
This isn’t the first time Johnston has been linked to the Giants, who have met with other big names from this class. Raanan noted how Boston College standout Zay Flowers and Ohio State star Jaxon Smith-Njigba also sat down with the Giants.
The extensive fact-finding mission involving so many receivers likely to be drafted in the first round indicates the Giants are likely done looking for pass-catchers on the veteran market, despite ongoing rumors involving Odell Beckham Jr.
Prospect Compared to DeAndre Hopkins Makes Sense for Giants
A comparison to Hopkins comes from Bleacher Report’s Derrik Klassen, who described how “for offenses looking for a big-bodied No. 1 to center the passing game around, Johnston is the player for the job.”
It’s an apt assessment of a receiver who hauled in 60 catches for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns during his final season with the Horned Frogs, per Sports Reference. In the process, Johnston proved himself a credible big-play threat by averaging 17.8 yards per reception. The Giants could use a field-stretcher this effective, since none of their main wide receivers averaged more than 15.7 yards per catch last season.
At 6’4″ and 193 pounds, Johnston has a similar physical profile to 6’1″, 212-pounder Hopkins. They also share a penchant for spectacular catches.
Johnston snagged an impressive one-handed grab against Baylor, per Devy Watch writer Jason DiRienzo:
Hopkins has made snaring the ball with a single mitt a happy habit during his decorated career. The trait yielded this touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings last season:
At his best, Hopkins is a complete receiver who can burn defenses deep, escape coverage underneath and amass yards after the catch. Johnston brings the same attributes to the field.
He showcased his complete skill-set during a 14-catch day against Kansas State last season:
The Giants have a good chance to benefit from those qualities this year. Schoen and Daboll own the 25th pick in the first round, while Johnston already sounds open to suiting up for Big Blue.
He spoke with the Giants at the Scouting Combine, revealing he “had good talks with them.” Johnston also admitted “I see myself in that blue just like I was in high school.”
Such an endorsement should encourage the Giants to stay out of the OBJ sweepstakes.
Giants Don’t Need to Chase Odell Beckham Jr.
Schoen has just $4,019,182 left to work with under the salary cap, according to Spotrac.com. It’s hardly enough to bring Beckham back to MetLife Stadium, no matter how many would like to see a reunion.
Team president, CEO and co-owner John Mara said he’s open to Beckham returning, while Daboll divulged he’s texted the three-time Pro-Bowler more than once this offseason.
Not only would the Giants need to reshuffle their finances to afford Beckham. They’d also have to fend off a not insignificant list of other suitors.
The New York Jets are also keen, with ESPN’s Jeff Darlington telling Get Up “both sides would still like to see this done.”
Aside from the Jets, the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs were one of 11 teams, including the Giants, who attended Beckham’s workout in Arizona, per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones.
Beckham isn’t the only big-name wideout still on the veteran market. Hopkins has earned permission from the Arizona Cardinals to pursue a trade, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, but the Giants still have reason to resist.
Acquiring Hopkins would land the Giants a proven commodity, but the better long-term strategy would be to keep all of the this year’s draft capital intact and still select a rookie equipped to follow in Nuk’s footsteps.