Giants: Why WR Jalin Hyatt is in store for a breakout 2024 campaign

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After selecting former Fred Biletnekoff award winner Jalin Hyatt out of Tennessee in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft, the New York Giants‘ front office and fan base were confident they had gotten a steal that would produce in big ways for the team’s offense. However, Hyatt’s rookie season was a tumultuous letdown, as the speedy deep threat only finished with 23 receptions on 40 targets for 373 yards with zero touchdowns. 

What went wrong in Jalin Hyatt’s rookie season?

Seldomly used for the majority of the season, Hyatt’s vertical threat was lost in an abysmal offense that only averaged 15.6 PPG (30th), 6.5 yards per pass attempt (27th), and 30.5 pass attempts per game (26th). Couple the poor offensive passing scheme with mostly bad quarterback play and the horrendous offensive line play, and it makes it easy to see why the Giants simply could not get Hyatt the ball.

As a deep ball receiver, the offensive line play makes all the difference in the world. Not only do they affect the amount of time given to Hyatt to get downfield, but they also affect the confidence of the quarterback to let plays develop consistently and feel comfortable taking shots downfield.

In many games last season, it seemed the Giants tried to scheme around this flaw, effectively taking away Hyatt’s best ability. This is due to the fact that the G-Men had just one offensive lineman finish above a 65.0 Pro Football Focus grade (LT Andrew Thomas). And even then, Thomas had a down year due to a lingering hamstring issue, resulting in seven missed games and a 76.1 grade (37th). Ultimately, the group would finish with 85 sacks allowed, which ranks as the second most of all time in a single regular season.

How will the 2024 season be different for Hyatt and the Giants?

During the season, Giants GM Joe Schoen stated “He’s going to be good… we just need to get him the ball more.” A testimony that most fans are behind, Schoen’s vow of confidence in the receiver should be music to the ears of all New York fans, as they plan on the young receiver stepping up in a big way this next season.

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Improvements to the Giants’ offensive line should lead to Hyatt’s breakout

There is a multitude of ways that Hyatt’s role can increase. However, besides some very attainable individual improvements such as more consistent catching, Hyatt’s success will fall largely on the performance of the offensive line. As scary as it sounds, Giants fans have some things to look forward to about this line. Especially considering the replacement of offensive line coach Bobby Johnson with Carmen Bricillo, who just helped lead the Raiders to the most single-season rushing yards since 2011.

Johnson’s time was short in New York, but he still managed to find himself at the scrutiny of the entire fanbase, and for good reason. During his two years, his units finished ranked 30th overall consecutively according to PFF. Additionally, Johnson’s old team Buffalo just had a historic season, after only being one year removed from the coach. This past season, they conceded just 12 sacks and finished with the sixth-ranked unit. Under Johnson, Buffalo ranked just 17th.

On top of the coaching change, the Giants were able to sign free agents such as Jon Runyon, Jermaine Eluemunor, Aaron Stinnie, Austin Schlotterman, and Matt Nelson. These five veteran linemen have boatloads of experience to be considered “backups,” and will likely all see the field at some point this season.

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Runyon and Eluemunor are pillars of this group, both starting 30+ games in the past two seasons and should be expected to slide into starting positions immediately. Eluemunor, whose strongest position is at right tackle, will hopefully get his spot, kicking Evan Neal inside to guard, where he could get a fresh start.

This line comprised of Thomas, Runyon, JMS, Neal, and Eluemunor is a good group on paper and one that will at the very least provide a step in the right direction compared to last year. And with any step this group takes forward, expect Hyatt to only make more and more plays.

Hyatt is in store for a breakout in 2024

Although he may not be a true No. 1 wide receiver by the end of the year, if Hyatt stays healthy, he should be able to at least double his rookie stats and provide crucial chunk plays to this offense. While he doesn’t touch the ball, he will also make a huge impact opening up the underneath layer for other receivers, while receiving a good amount of attention from the secondary. 

Jalin Hyatt’s 2024 stats prediction: 

Jaylin Hyatt 2024 Expected Stats: 55 receptions, 850 yards, 4 touchdowns.

Jaylin Hyatt 2024 Ceiling Stats: 75 receptions, 1150 yards, 7 touchdowns

Jaylin Hyatt 2024 Floor stats: 40 receptions, 600 yards, 2 touchdowns

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