Giants: Four breakout candidates for the 2024 season

Jan 7, 2024; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (17) reacts after a first down reception during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants face an important 2024 season that could determine the future of quarterback Daniel Jones and head coach Brian Daboll. With the offense needing significant improvement, General Manager Joe Schoen has invested in multiple positions, adding two starting-caliber offensive linemen and drafting Malik Nabers with the sixth overall pick, aiming to revitalize a unit that has heavily relied on Saquon Barkley for the last five years.

Strategic Offense Enhancements

Explosive playcalling from Daboll will shift the focus to a passing game strategy, moving away from relying on an injury-prone running back position. This change is designed to prevent opposing defenses from stacking the box and limiting production. This could lead to the breakout of several players on the offensive side of the ball.

A New-Look Defensive Scheme

The Giants are also making big changes on the defensive side of the ball. New defensive coordinator Shane Bowen will be implementing a new defensive scheme, succeeding Wink Martindale, who resigned earlier this offseason. Bowen’s emphasis on zone coverage and one-on-one pass-rushing could lead to some big breakouts as well.

Potential Breakout Giants in 2024

1. Wan’Dale Robinson: A Rising Star

New York Giants wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (17) catches a pass on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

If I had to put money on a player breaking out next season, it would be third-year receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, who’s coming off an ACL tear but put together a decent 2023 campaign. The 23-year-old will be a full year removed from knee surgery and still manage 525 yards this past season and a touchdown. Impressively, he produced 291 yards after contact, which included 4.9 yards after the catch.

Robinson’s abilities in the open field are dangerous, and with Nabers drawing attention from opposing secondaries, the slot receiver should benefit. This past season, he enjoyed a 78.9% reception rate, which was the best on the team at the receiver position, with a minimum of 50 receptions. If he stays healthy, Wan’Dale should quickly develop into one of the best slot receivers in football, but that always depends on the offensive line and its ability to protect the quarterback position.

2. Tyrone Tracy: Versatile Back with Potential

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Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants used their fifth-round pick on Tyrone Tracy, a versatile player who transitioned from wide receiver to running back. With only 148 career rushing attempts yielding 951 yards and 10 touchdowns, Tracy showed impressive efficiency last season with an average of 6.3 yards per carry and eight touchdowns. Notably, he forced 56 missed tackles and logged 25 runs of 10+ yards.

Tracy could not only serve as a dynamic change-of-pace back but also potentially become a long-term solution in the backfield. The Giants’ recent contract with Devin Singletary includes an out that could see Tracy stepping into a more prominent role, especially if he performs well early on.

3. Jalin Hyatt: Elite Potential As A Deep Receiving Threat

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Alex did well to mention Wan’Dale Robinson as a breakout candidate, however, I think there is another wideout who could have an even more prominent emergence this season. Second-year wide receiver Jalin Hyatt is expected to step into a larger role and has the potential to become an elite deep-receiving threat in New York’s offense this season.

Hyatt, last year’s third-round draft choice, struggled to get going as a rookie. He racked up only 23 receptions for 373 yards and failed to score his first career touchdown. However, the 22-year-old did flash his potential with a few big plays throughout the course of the season and still has plenty of talent to unlock.

In his final collegiate season with Tennessee, Hyatt was named the Fred Biletnikoff Award winner after a monstrous 2022 campaign. He tallied 67 catches for 1,267 yards and a school-record 15 touchdowns. Hyatt’s speed is elite. Now playing opposite Malik Nabers, he should see more one-on-one opportunities to get behind the defense in 2024.

4. Deonte Banks: A Potential Lockdown Cornerback

East Rutherford, NJ -- June 11, 2024 -- Deonte Banks at the NY Giants Mandatory Minicamp at their practice facility in East Rutherford, NJ.
Credit: Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Giants traded up one spot to select Deonte Banks in the first round of last year’s draft. He was thrown into the fire as a rookie, quickly being moved up to the No. 1 spot on the depth chart and being tasked with facing off against some of the top wide receivers in the NFL.

He struggled at times, but mostly, Banks held his own. Now preparing for a second season in the NFL, Banks will look to take that step forward as the lead man in the Giants’ new-look secondary. He plays with confidence and aggression — two traits needed to become a top cornerback in the NFL.

As a rookie, Banks totaled 64 combined tackles and 11 pass defenses and snagged two interceptions. He surrendered just a 55.2% completion rate when targeted in coverage. Now playing in a more simplified Bowen defense, Banks should be be able to settle into his role as the top dog in Big Blue’s secondary and could become an elite player for the Giants.

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