By Michael Stewart@TheTruthNYG

Now that the aftermath of the draft is in the rear view mirror, most of the hype surrounding the Giants selections had been centered on their top 3 picks (Deonte Banks, John Michael Schmitz and Jalin Hyatt). While these three rookies deserve the attention, I want to spotlight three rookies taken on Day 3 or during the UDFA phase that could eventually have productive careers in the NFL with the New York Giants.

  • Tre Hawkins (CB) Old Dominion: Hawkins was selected by the New York Giants in the 6th round, which arguably would have been taken earlier if he had participated at the NFL combine. Hawkins has an ideal frame for a cornerback at 6’3/195 (room to grow) and put up numbers; such as: 4.39 in the forty, 17 reps on the bench, 6.74 in the 3-cone drill (all would have been top 10 among cornerbacks at the combine) and lastly, 4.22 in the 20-yard shuttle. Hawkins plays very physical and is a solid press coverage and equally productive in a cover 2 or 3 zone. Hawkins is an efficient tackler and would be productive against the run. Final Assessment: I believe theirs is a strong possibility that Hawkins puts on more muscle and tops out somewhere between 205-210 and converts into a safety by 2024. With Xavier McKinney playing in his final year of his rookie contract and the uncertainty of him getting a deal done with the Giants as he is expected to command somewhere in the range of $15M-$18M per year. It’s unlikely that GM Joe Schoen would entertain that.
  • Eric Gray (RB) Oklahoma: The Giants selected Gray with their 1st pick on Day 3 in Round 5 and by all accounts, this pick has been given high praise by many football analysts. Gray had a productive 2022 season at Oklahoma rushing for 1366 yards with 11 touchdowns. However; there is more to Gray’s game aside from running the ball as he is a very skilled receiver as many football expects project him to be even more productive in that area as a pro. One of Gray’s many qualities is his elusiveness and the ability to make opponents miss. Gray doesn’t possess elite speed, but he has extreme quickness that translates into explosive plays on film. Final Assessment: I wouldn’t be shocked if Gray eventually emerges as the Giants #2 RB behind Saquan Barkley as the season progresses.
  • Bryce Ford-Wheaton (WR) West Virgina: The Giants signed Ford-Wheaton during the UDFA phase and by all accounts thus far, NFL insiders label this signing as a possible diamond in the rough. Many mock drafts had Ford-Wheaton going somewhere in rounds 4 or 5 on Day 3 of the draft. Ford-Wheaton has the size (6’3/221) and speed (4.38) to turn the heads of any NFL scout and has shown flashes of dominance on the football field. The biggest knock on him has been consistency and the ability to play up to his athletic traits.  The Giants invested $236K fully guaranteed contract in Ford-Wheaton with an additional $30K in signing bonus; which is more than a first year player would make spending 18 weeks on the practice squad ($216K). Final Assessment: In my opinion, the Giants have high hopes and believe that Ford-Wheaton can and will push for a final spot on the 53-man roster as it would be highly unlikely he gets through waivers and onto the Giants practice squad.