Giants’ Draft Disappointment Has Made 1 Big Change

Jalin Hyatt

Getty A New York Giants' draft disappointment has made one big change after a tough rookie season in 2023.

The New York Giants didn’t exactly get what they wanted from Jalin Hyatt as a rookie. Instead of being the prolific deep threat who expanded a limited passing game, wide receiver Hyatt struggled for reps and catches, but those struggles could be over because the third-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft has made one big change this offseason.

That change involves Hyatt adding muscle to a slight frame, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Schwartz noted how the second-year wideout “looks at his physique now and declares it is ‘way better’ than it was when he arrived in 2023 as a third-round draft pick out of Tennessee — the Giants traded up from No. 89 overall to No. 73 to get him.”

Although Hyatt might be convinced about the changes he’s seeing, Schwartz pointed out “the offseason roster lists Hyatt at 185 and he certainly has not bulked up to any discernible degree. He said Groh and coach Brian Daboll after the 2023 season instructed him to get bigger and stronger.”

Extra work with position coach Mike Groh is another part of what Hyatt is doing to try and prompt a major leap forward this year. The Giants will need Hyatt to step up and help a suspect receiving corps further weakened by tight end Darren Waller’s decision to officially retire.

Jalin Hyatt Working Hard to Improve

Bulking up what Schwartz referred to as a “stick-figure” frame is only one part of the work Hyatt is putting in to get better. He knows why more weight can help: “That was one of the things I wanted to improve on. Playing on the outside, you’re going to get more press coverage and more body-to-body catches. So just getting bigger, getting strong with my catch point, getting stronger with my hands, and so far everything is working.”

Beating press is key to Hyatt’s future in the pros. Jamming him at the line is the obvious way for defenses to stall a legitimate field-stretcher with scary vertical speed.

Hyatt did show the occasional, exciting glimpse of his talent for taking the top off of defenses last season. Like when he reeled in this 58-yard catch against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2.

This was a signature play for a burner who still averaged 16.2 yards per reception, despite a lack of targets. The problem is speed is just one part of the equation for a raw receiver still getting to grips with the nuances of playing in the NFL.

Hyatt’s limitations showed up at various times last season, but making extra time to increase what was less than “a full grasp of the entire route tree,” according to Schwartz: “Meeting extra with Groh, often one-on-one, has helped Hyatt as he attempts to wriggle free of the first-year uncertainty that marked his performance as a rookie.”

This kind of offseason work can position Hyatt to offer the Giants the right complement to this year’s top draft pick, Malik Nabers.

Jalin Hyatt, Malik Nabers Mean Giants Won’t Miss Darren Waller

Hyatt was quick to endorse the decision to draft former LSU standout Nabers with the sixth-overall choice. The endorsement made sense because Nabers is another dynamic receiver who can add the game-breaking element the Giants have been missing for too long through the air.

Nabers has already caught the eye with some standout moments during OTAs. As Dane Brugler of The Athletic put it, Nabers “can win underneath as a snatch-and-run target.”

Having Nabers turn short passes into long gains between the numbers will dovetail well with a bigger Hyatt winning on the outside. It will also add what Waller was expected to bring to the offense.

Things didn’t work out that way, and the veteran called time on his career on Sunday, June 9, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. A decision that could give the Giants $11.6 million worth of space under the salary cap.

Waller should have become the go-to safety valve for Daniel Jones. Fortunately, the under-fire quarterback won’t miss the Pro Bowl tight end if Hyatt and Nabers become a potent double act alongside another potential breakout playmaker, slot receiver Wan’Dale Robinson.

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