Giants: 3 rookies essential to victory in Week 1 vs. the Cowboys

nfl: preseason-carolina panthers at new york giants, jalin hyatt
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The New York Giants are under a week away from kicking off their regular season with a Week 1, primetime matchup hosting the Dallas Cowboys. After putting together a strong draft class this spring, New York is expected to rely heavily on their rookies in Week 1 to earn the victory. In order to get the season off on the right track, three rookies need to step up and perform at a high level.

The Giants’ rookie CB duo needs to step up

The Giants are planning on starting two rookie cornerbacks in their defensive lineup in Week 1. First-round CB Deonte Banks is entering the regular season with a “fearless mindset,” aiming to build off his impressive preseason campaign. Across his 33 coverage snaps, Banks was targeted four times, surrendering 0 receptions 39.6 passer rating allowed in the preseason, per Pro Football Focus.

Opposite of Banks will be fellow rookie Tre Hawkins III. The sixth-round draft pick has been a summer standout, making plays and quickly earning his spot in the starting lineup during training camp. General manager Joe Schoen recently expressed his confidence in the pair of rookies’ abilities to rise to the occasion in Week 1.

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Bringing stability to the special teams unit

The Giants’ special teams unit has been a point of weakness across the past few seasons with a revolving door of players entering in and out of the return specialist role. But New York is hoping that it has finally found their answer to its return-man question with rookie RB Eric Gray expected to take over.

Gray spent the preseason as the Giants’ first-team kick and punt returner. Mixing in with the offensive lineup as well, Gray started to find his confidence and comfort at the next level. Considering how inconsistent Big Blue’s return game has been these past few seasons, the team will be relying on Gray to bring some stability to the special teams unit.

Adding a deep threat to the offense

The Giants made it a point of emphasis to add speed to their offense this offseason. Arguably the quickest of the newcomers is third-round rookie WR Jalin Hyatt. In Week 1, Hyatt will bring a deep-threat dynamic to Big Blue’s offense that has been absent for years.

Donning a fresh new look with the number 13 on his jersey, Hyatt looks ready for an explosive rookie season. Across seven targets in the preseason, Hyatt totaled five receptions (one drop) for 31 yards and one explosive touchdown.

Hyatt put his elite speed on full display on the long touchdown grab. This aspect of Hyatt’s game could go a long way in helping the Giants’ offense gain an edge over a fierce Dallas Cowboys defense.