2023 NFL draft: Jalin Hyatt was Giants’ backup target at No. 57
Entering Day 2 of the 2023 NFL draft, the New York Giants had their sights firmly set on Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz.
Schmitz was going to be their pick so long as he was on the board but when the Chicago Bears traded up in front of the Giants, general manager Joe Schoen became worried.
“[Expletive],” Schoen said, via Giants Life: The Process. “They came in front of us for something.”
It seemed obvious the Giants were going with Schmitz so Schoen assumed the Bears snaked them. Instead, Chicago selected cornerback Tyrique Stevenson.
That was a relief for the Giants who then predictably selected Schmitz. But that’s not the interesting part. What was interesting is everything else the behind-the-scenes look revealed.
Although the Giants were dead-set on selecting Schmitz, they did have a backup plan at No. 57: Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt.
“We’ll go Schmitz or Hyatt,” Schoen said before the Bears traded up.
“So we’re taking Hyatt,” head coach Brian Daboll said immediately after the Bears trade.
Daboll continued to reassure Schoen, who had begun pacing and was visibly nervous.
“We’re getting one of the two, so [expletive] it,” Daboll said. “Either way they’ll help us. One is fast as [expletive] and the other could start at center.”
“I love the optimism,” Schoen said. “[Expletive], yeah!”
Little did the Giants know at that moment that they’d end up taking Schmitz and still have a shot at Hyatt just a short while later.
Everyone in Giants Nation knows that story by now. As Hyatt slipped, Daboll reached out to Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and the two worked out a trade.
The Giants moved up and landed their backup option at No. 57, leading to much elation in the draft room.
“Daboll’s first trade. Trader Dabes,” Schoen said with a smile.
Although the Giants had to part ways with some draft assets to get it done, Schoen and Daboll ultimately got exactly what they wanted — Schmitz and Hyatt.
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