Hard Knocks: New York Giants Edition, Episode 2: Quarterbacks, Receivers and More (2024)

The second installment of HBO’s Hard Knocks series focusing on the New York Giants’ off-season focused primarily on the pre-combine meetings and the NFL scouting combine itself, where viewers were treated to an insight into what the Giants scouts thought of the top quarterback and receiver prospects.

We also learned who made the first move regarding a potential trade-up between the Giants and New England Patriots. As we covered in another article, we were given more insight into the team’s discussions with then-pending free agent running back Saquon Barkley.

Here are our takeaways from Episode No. 2.

Warning: This article contains spoilers.

— NFL (@NFL) July 9, 2024

We got some insight into how the Giants’ brass viewed some of the top quarterbacks in this draft class in some footage shot before the combine from various area scouts. Here’s a breakdown of what was said and who said it.

  • Jayden Daniels, LSU: Of the quarterbacks mentioned, there seemed to be the most doubt about Daniels, whom area scout Scott Hamel noted was a three-time captain but not much of a vocal leader, though he was improving in that regard. Hamel also suggested the importance of getting a feel for putting Daniels “on the spot with stuff and getting a feel for that” as far as the football stuff went.You can see in the clip released by NFL Films above how Daniels did with that exercise.
  • Drake Maye, North Carolina: Patrick Hanscomb, College Area Scout, provided his notes on Maye, noting how personality-wise, Maye is “a little looser than Daniel (Jones), but there are some similarities.” He also predicted that Maye’s football character and mental part of his game would " probably grade out high.”
  • J.J. McCarthy, Michigan: Brendan Prophett, College Area Scout, noted McCarthy’s youth and spoke about how, although McCarthy could overrule stuff on the field, his offensive line called the protections. Prophett urged the brass to “get a feel for his experience.”
  • Caleb Williams, USC: College area scout Blaise Bell spoke of the adversity Williams faced in his final season when he lost five of the last six games after starting 6-0. Mentioned how Williams refused to speak to the media after the loss to UCLA, which Bell said, “In our market, that’s a no-no.” Otherwise, everything else checked out.

…and on the Top Receivers

  • Marvin Harrison, Jr., Ohio State: Prophett praised Harrison for not having an ego despite his pedigree. He was also described as someone who wasn’t phased by anything and remained “cool, calm, and collected.” Harrison also earned praise for being an “elite level worker” with a great personality so that when he gets to the league, the moment won’t be too big for him.
  • Rome Odunze, Washington: College area scout Hannah Burnett described Odunze as an “alpha” and “high energy guy” capable of taking over a room. But Odunze, Burnett said, is “smart, tough, dependable—everything you could want.”
  • Malik Nabers, LSU: The Giants eventual first-round pick was described by Hamel as being “highly passionate and competitive” and as someone with “a big-time chip on his shoulder.” Nabers, it was noted, “likes his targets, and you will hear about it” if he doesn’t get targets. “We need to get around this kid to see if we can work with him—there’s a lot to his personality,” Hamel concluded.

One of the hot pre-draft rumors was that the Giants wanted to move up in the draft to have a chance at getting former North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. With the Giants figuring (correctly) that Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels would go No. 1 and No. 2 in the first round, New York set its sights on moving to No. 3, the spot held by the New England Patriots.

Once the Giants decided to throw caution to the wind and see if there was a deal to be made, Schoen visited the Patriots’ suite at the NFL combine to speak with Eliot Wolfe, the Patriots' Executive Vice President of Player Personnel. Schoen asked Wolf to let him know if they planned to move out at three. Wolf revealed that a couple of other teams called with a similar request.

It was later reported (though not shown in Episode 2) that the Patriots rejected the Giants' offer of two first-round picks, picks 11 and 23, and a 2025 first-round pick offered by the Minnesota Vikings to move up.

The Patriots were never really serious about moving out of the third spot where they snatched up Maye.

Coach Daboll is speed personified ‍💨#HardKnocks Offseason with the New York @Giants Tuesdays 9pm ET on @StreamOnMax pic.twitter.com/6491SoB1Xw

— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) July 8, 2024

Daboll's Choice

Daboll seemed to take an immediate liking to receiver Malik Nabers during the combine scenes, particularly when Nabers uncovered his competitive side in response to Daboll’s questions about losing and not getting the ball enough.

Daboll reiterated those feelings to Schoen in another scene before they interviewed Nabers. Daboll called Nabers a “baller” and said he had watched a great deal of his film. Later in the episode, it was hard not to see how impressed Daboll was with Nabers’s responses to his questions.

With Nabers being the team’s first-round pick, it’s crystal clear that once the team decided not to go quarterback but to stay put, it was Daboll, who, remember, is likely going to be the play-caller this year, who banged the drum to get the former LSU receiver.

However, there may have been some initial reservations about Nabers on the parts of Schoen and assistant general manager Brandon Brown, the latter of whom wondered aloud if the “Q” (quarterback) could handle being in the same offense as Nabers.

Schoen revealed that he talked to Daniel Jones about Malik Nabers as a possibility and that Jones gave positive feedback about potentially throwing to Nabers.

Daboll has a reputation as a quarterback guru, given his prior work with Brett Favre (Jets), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), and Josh Allen (Buffalo). In this episode, we got a little insight into how he interviews quarterbacks and one tactic stood out in particular.

Daboll had quarterbacks draw up their favorite plays and then tell them to change them based on his feedback. He’d then go on to another topic of conversation when suddenly he’d ask the quarterback to call back the play they just diagrammed (with the changes) a few minutes ago without looking at the whiteboard.

Hard Knocks: New York Giants Edition, Episode 2: Quarterbacks, Receivers and More (1)

Carolina Tried to Squeeze the Giants to Give Up More for Brian Burns

Schoen revealed that Panthers general manager Dan Morgan initially wanted at least a first-round pick for Brian Burns and that Schoen countered with two second-round picks and possibly a pick in the 2025 draft.

Ultimately, Schoen got Morgan to drop the requirement for a first-round pick, but in a nugget revealed during the preview for Episode 3, which airs next week, Morgan apparently wanted the Giants to throw in a seventh-round pick (which they didn’t have in 2024) as part of the Brian Burns trade.

As for the new contract the Giants gave Burns, if it wasn’t for the bump in the salary cap, the Giants might have had a hard time making that deal work without having to restructure a bunch more contracts.

Once the Giants decided to pursue an edge rusher for their team, that pretty much closed the door on any chance they might have had at re-signing safety Xavier McKinney.

Giants defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, who was part of the coaching contingency that worked out the defensive backs in the combine, was seen giving a warm hug and greeting to Kentucky cornerback Andry Phillips, whom the Giants would draft in the third round a couple of months later.

In giving up the draft capital for Burns, apparently, Schoen realized that he might not get a chance at drafting a cornerback for the perimeter. That likely explained why he tried to get an established veteran during free agency.

Daboll and new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen were impressed by Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin's performance at the combine. The team eventually drafted Nubin in the second round.

Hard Knocks: New York Giants Edition, Episode 2: Quarterbacks, Receivers and More (2024)

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