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Giants’ 6 biggest surprises of 2023

The 2023 NFL season has come to an end for the New York Giants, who finished with an ugly 6-11 record.

There’s already been a ton of upheaval across the league, and the Giants are no exception. Still, as hard as this season was to watch, it wasn’t all bad. There were some high points, including a handful of wins under a third-string quarterback.

That’s not the only highlight of the season. Despite the turmoil in the front office, there are players on both sides of the ball who surprised us with their performance on the field.

Tommy DeVito

As an undrafted rookie free agent, Tommy DeVito likely never thought he’d see the field this season. He would have been wrong, though, because after Daniel Jones went down with a neck injury and Tyrod Taylor went down with a rib injury, DeVito was the next man up.

Not only did he step up, but he played better than anyone expected. When he first stepped on the field, the Giants wouldn’t even let him throw the ball, terrified that such a raw player would give it away. Then he took over as starting quarterback and became a viral sensation, burning hot and fast before cooling off and being replaced by Taylor.

DeVito appeared in nine games this season and recorded 1,101 yards, eight touchdowns, and three interceptions as a passer. He also rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown, adding two fumbles as a rusher. He helped the Giants earn four of their five wins this season and really stepped up to the plate when he was called.

Does DeVito still need work? Absolutely. He’s a rookie, they all need work. But he has proven that he can come in and run an offense in the NFL, which bodes well for his career going forward.

Wan'Dale Robinson

Wan’Dale Robinson is in his sophomore season, but there were certainly no signs of a slump. After tearing his ACL last year, he returned much faster than anyone expected. He started the season a bit slow but rebounded to finish strong and showcased his game-changing versatility.

He was targeted 78 times this season, catching 60 passes for 525 yards and a touchdown. He caught over 76% of the passes thrown his way. No one can complain about that. He also added nine rushes for 87 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Robinson is that it didn’t matter which quarterback was throwing him the ball. He was targeted relatively evenly by all three quarterbacks, which speaks to his ability to get on the same page as the on-field leader as well as his ability to adjust his routes to make catches.

Robinson could very well be the future of the receiving corps for the Giants. With player and personnel turnover, he has an opportunity to help take control of the offense and turn it into something special. He is everything the Giants hoped Kadarius Toney would be.

Micah McFadden

Micah McFadden is a second-year linebacker who improved every aspect of his game this season. He recorded 101 tackles (63 solo), one sack, four fumble recoveries and an interception. Compared to last season’s 59 tackles (36 solo), two sacks, and one forced fumble, this is a huge statistical improvement.

Drafted in the fifth round of the 2022 draft, McFadden shined next to Bobby Okereke and cemented himself as a viable long-term option at inside linebacker.

Isaiah Simmons

Isaiah Simmons joined the Giants after spending his first three years in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals. Acquired via trade, he had some up and down moments, but once he found his place in Wink Martindale’s defense, he finished strong.

He played very well in his role on defense and excelled on special teams. He recorded 50 tackles (33 solo), one sack, one forced fumble, one interception for a touchdown, and three passes defensed.

His future is uncertain because of Martindale’s pending exit, but if he does return, the Giants will be better for it.

Jason Pinnock

Drafted by the Jets in 2021 and claimed off waivers by the Giants in 2022, Jason Pinnock took over for the departing Julian Love this season. He ended the season on injured reserve but played well when he was on the field. He and Xavier McKinney compiled one of the league’s best safety tandems.

Pinnock recorded 85 tackles (59 solo), two sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions for 123 yards and one touchdown, and six passes defensed. He is above average in coverage, tackling, and against the run.

Jamie Gillan

Jamie Gillan’s first season in New York wasn’t pretty, but he redeemed himself this season and really came into his own. He’s always had a big leg, but he refined his all-around game. He should have been selected for the Pro Bowl as he was third in the NFL in punts downed inside the 20 (35) and was among the best in limiting returns (6.9 yards per return).

He even kicked a 40-yard field goal for the Giants this year when Randy Bullock went down with an injury. And he did that while he was also injured.

Story originally appeared on Giants Wire