Giants adding new element to offensive scheme

darius slayton, new york giants
Oct 9, 2022; London, United Kingdom; New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) carries the ball as Green Bay Packers cornerback Eric Stokes (21) defends during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During the 2022 season, the New York Giants possessed one of the slowest wide receiver units in the entire league. The absence of speed to challenge opposing defenses and force their secondary into deeper positions simplified the task for defenses: merely halt the run and render the Giants one-dimensional.

A straightforward strategy for opponents was to congest the box, limit Saquon Barkley, and compel an underperforming wide receiver corps to compensate. Despite these challenges, the Giants, under the guidance of Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka, still achieved significantly more offensive success than in the recent past.

However, the team made substantial strides in the right direction during this off-season, injecting a considerable degree of athleticism and speed into the unit.

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The Giants’ Acquisition of Jalin Hyatt and Darren Waller:

The Giants acquired tight end Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for a third-round pick. Waller, when fit, can deliver WR1 performance. Standing at 6’6″ and weighing 255 pounds, Waller is one of the game’s fastest tight ends. He has posted two seasons with over 1,100 receiving yards, reaching a career-high of nine touchdowns in 2020. If the Giants can fully exploit Waller’s abilities, their offense is set to make significant progress. However, this is not the only position they enhanced.

General manager Joe Schoen was fortunate when Tennessee wideout Jalin Hyatt fell to the third round after being a potential first-round selection just a few weeks prior. Hyatt, standing at 6’0″ and weighing 176 pounds, offers boom-or-bust potential. He clocked a 4.40 40-yard dash, earning the third-best athleticism score at the NFL Combine.

Hyatt’s game speed is undeniable, and alongside Darius Slayton, who possesses a similar skill set, he should help extend the offense. Both have an extra gear that allows them to excel in the deeper parts of the field, displacing defensive backs and creating opportunities for players like Isaiah Hodgins, Wan’Dale Robinson, and Waller underneath.

The Giants found considerable success with Slayton on mesh and crossing concepts last year, and adding Hyatt to the mix should enhance this strategy. The speed of these receivers will challenge opposing teams to man-cover them, pushing them to adopt a more zone-based structure.

The Giants can deploy their receivers to beat Cover-2 and Cover-3 defenses over the top. In Cover-2, expect the Giants to employ numerous deep post routes to the middle of the field. This is primarily because Hyatt, who frequently works out of the slot, can dominate the seams.

In Cover-3, the outside cornerbacks typically fall back into deeper areas, allowing crossing/mesh concepts to succeed and nimble route runners to excel.

Ultimately, the addition of speed and athleticism will assist the Giants in broadening their scheme. This type of variable cannot be taught, so the Giants plan to build on the foundation they established in 2022.

Given that Hyatt amassed 1,267 yards last year with 15 touchdowns, averaging 18.9 yards per reception, it is evident that he can significantly impact the passing game. Like Slayton, he has had some issues with drops in the past, but the Giants are optimistic that they can rectify any shortcomings and nurture him into a meaningful contributor early in his career.

It would be negligent not to mention Parris Campbell, who was signed by the Giants to a heavily incentivized deal. Campbell played a full 17-game season last year for the first time in his career. He’s another example of a player with exceptional speed and athleticism, contributing to a rejuvenated receiving corps.