This season hasn’t lived up to expectations for the New York Giants as they sit in third place in the NFC East with a 4-8 record. However, amidst the disappointment, three young players have begun to emerge as potential building blocks for the future.
The Giants have a starting linebacker in Micah McFadden
LB Micah McFadden has been having a breakout second season. The 2022 fifth-round draft pick struggled mightily as a rookie. He played in all 17 games (seven starts) making 59 combined tackles and six tackles for loss, but surrendering an 87.0% completion rate in coverage and earning a disappointing 38.7 overall Pro Football Focus grade.
This season, however, McFadden has improved his play significantly. He’s totaled 74 combined tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and three pass defenses in 11 starts. He’s also dropped his completion rate in coverage to 70.8% and improved his PFF grade to an impressive 69.2 overall.
McFadden has combined with LB Bobby Okereke to give Big Blue a formidable duo in the middle of their defense. He has proven to be one of the best young talents on the Giants’ roster and is a player the team should continue to build around.
Jalin Hyatt can be an elite receiving option
Rookie WR Jalin Hyatt demonstrated his potential to be an elite wide receiver in Week 12 as he totaled five receptions on six targets for 109 yards against New England. QB Tommy DeVito was hitting big play after big play to Hyatt as the two rookies dazzled in MetLife Stadium.
Hyatt’s 92.0 PFF grade made him the highest-graded WR in the NFL for Week 12. His speed, hands, and route-running skills were all on full display in this game.
As a rookie third-round pick, Hyatt entered the league with plenty of promise and is demonstrating that potential that made him a coveted prospect. If he can continue to polish his game, Hyatt could develop into the Giants’ next elite receiving option.
Deonte Banks is showing promise
The Giants’ first-round draft choice, CB Deonte Banks, has had an impressive season considering the level of talent he has faced off against as a rookie. Among the wide receivers Banks has faced off against are CeeDee Lamb, Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, and many more All-Pro and Pro Bowl-level talents.
And despite facing such vast talent, Banks has mostly held his own against the top dogs this season. He’s surrendered just a 54.5% completion rate in coverage with 484 yards and three touchdowns against. He’s also totaled 43 combined tackles, 10 passes defended, and two interceptions.
Banks truly stood out in Big Blue’s most recent win over the Patriots. He was targeted seven times in coverage, surrendering just three receptions for 29 yards with a 15.5 passer rating allowed while also snagging his second interception of the season:
It’s been an impressive season for Banks as he continues to develop into the Giants’ No. 1 cornerback. There have been plenty of disappointments for Big Blue this season, but Banks, McFadden, and Hyatt have given the team reasons to be hopeful for the future.