Giants’ second-year wideout in line for massive breakout campaign

Right, Steve Smith, a former pro bowl NFL wide receiver, works with Jalin Hyatt, wide receiver. The NY Giants NFL team held an organized team activity at their training facility in East Rutherford, NJ on Thursday May 30, 2024.
Credit: Tariq Zehawi/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants landed an exciting talent in the third round of last year’s draft when they traded up to select wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. The rookie campaign was somewhat disappointing for Hyatt, however, there are reasons to believe that he could be in store for a massive breakout season in 2024.

Darius Slayton’s uncertain future should create more opportunities for Jalin Hyatt

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

Darius Slayton has returned to the Giants this week after holding out for the majority of the offseason. Despite his return, it is important to recognize that Slayton is still entering the final year of his contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season.

With Slayton’s future with the team uncertain, the Giants will be eager to give more opportunities to Hyatt. The second-year wideout could cut into Slayton’s playing time as New York aims to evaluate his talents and his ability to potentially succeed Slayton and become a starter long-term.

The Giants need to find more ways to get Hyatt the ball

nfl: washington commanders at new york giants, jalin hyatt

As a rookie in 2023, Hyatt flashed potential. He brought in only 23 receptions for 373 yards and did not score a single touchdown. However, he struggled to receive consistent playing time, being on the field for just 51% of the team’s offensive snaps. That number is bound to increase the season as the Giants aim to be more explosive on offense.

At OTAs, Hyatt has looked sharp and ready to take that step forward. He made a highlight reel catch during Friday’s practice that went viral on social media:

Rather than using Hyatt purely as a deep threat, the Giants should expand his route tree and give him more opportunities to make spectacular catches like the one he hauled in at practice.

Hyatt flashed his potential as a deep threat as a rookie

New York Giants wide receiver Jalin Hyatt (13) attempts to catch a pass as Los Angeles Rams cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (44) defends during the first half at MetLife Stadium
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the NFL, Hyatt was renowned as an elite deep threat who dominated college football during his time with Tennessee. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the best deep threat in last year’s draft class as he totaled 677 deep receiving yards and eight touchdowns on deep receptions.

That ability flashed during Hyatt’s rookie year. Of his 373 receiving yards last season, 234 of them came on 20+ yard receptions. He hauled in six deep targets for 234 yards last season, earning a 98.0 PFF Deep Receiving Grade. Impressively, he also hauled in three of seven contested targets deep, a conversion rate of 42.9 percent.

The Giants need their playmakers to step up in 2024 after losing their top offensive star Saquon Barkley in free agency. Hyatt taking that step forward and emerging as a legitimate weapon would go a long way toward the Giants improving upon their 6-11 record from last season.

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