History repeats itself at New York Giants training camp


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On Feb. 14, 1979, the Giants named Dolphins director of pro scouting George Young the team’s general manager. Young picked another outsider, San Diego offensive coordinator Ray Perkins as head coach. The two imports were hired to revive a moribund franchise.

“It’s a sign the Giants are conforming with the rest of the league,” president and co-owner Wellington Mara said upon hiring Young.

History is repeating itself, almost eerily, for the Giants. For the first time since that February day 43 years ago, the Giants have gone outside the organization for both GM and coach. GM Joe Schoen came from Buffalo and he hired Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as coach.

“We need to make some changes in how we do things around here. That was one of the big reasons why we wanted to bring somebody in from the outside,” president and co-owner John Mara said when he hired Schoen.

Like father, like son. Schoen’s mom was four months pregnant with him the last time the Giants went outside the organization for the twin hires. Daboll was 3.

“Wow,” Schoen said when I gave him the history lesson. “That’s crazy. The way this league is today, I don’t think you see that happen again.”

Since the Giants won the Super Bowl 10 years ago, they have won neither the division nor a playoff game, and they’ve averaged six wins a season with five head coaches. Hiring Young spurred the Giants to a long era of success, including two Super Bowls in the next 12 seasons. Wellington’s son would take that, particularly with the long slog the Giants have been through since stunning the Patriots in Super Bowl 46 a decade ago.

Viewing camp practice Friday—John Mara watched alone on the sideline, the way his father did religiously for years—I thought a couple of things: All 90 of these players, from quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley on down, are on trial with two new bosses. Of course there are a few, like franchise safety Xavier McKinney and twin tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal, who border on cornerstones, but this might be the most fungible roster of any in the league—and it could be the one that changes the most in the next two years.

Secondly, this offense looks way behind the D early. As the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” aptly boomed through speakers in mid-practice, there were two botched shotgun snaps to the quarterback, a dropped swing pass by Barkley, and Jones throwing a pick-six to cornerback Darnay Holmes. Man, was that ugly. And it didn’t get better before the end of practice. The offense truly painted it black Friday.

One practice in July is one small piece of the jigsaw puzzle for Schoen and Daboll. One of the reasons Mara picked Schoen is that he’s been part of three teams—Miami, Carolina and Buffalo—that went from moribund to the playoffs in short order. “I have faith we’ll get this turned around, but it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Schoen, 43, who looks like a slimmer version of Steve Garvey, well-coiffed and well-dressed, sitting in the Giants’ cafeteria Friday morning before practice. ”I’ve seen how to build teams the right way three or four times, and we’re going to build depth and talent with a steady plan in place.”

Already around the building you hear of Daboll reaching out like none of his predecessors did. In early June, he phoned all 21 members of the media who cover the Giants every day in early July. “Looking forward to working with you,” was his message in 10- to 15-minute conversations with each one. He walks around the business side of the building, introducing himself to strangers, telling each how important everyone in the building is to winning. As one of the veterans in the building told me, “I don’t remember a coach ever telling someone selling suites how valuable he was.” That’s not going to win one play this fall, but it does make people happier in the workplace, particularly when losing has been so prevalent.

Everyone wants to know about Jones’ future, but that’s impossible to know till the games begin. If anything, the schedule gives Jones a fighting chance. Six of the first 10 games are against teams (Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville, Seattle, Houston, Detroit) that, like the Giants, could struggle to reach .500.

Jones showed his star traits Friday at times—sprinting through the defense for one long run, combining with talented second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson several times—but he had more bad plays than good ones. “He’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic, he’s got good mobile skills,” Daboll said, evenly, about Jones. “There’s a lot of different things you could do with a quarterback like that. We’re still tinkering with things to make sure that what I want him to do is be vocal back to me on things that he doesn’t feel comfortable with.”

Robinson, the 5-8, 185-pound rookie receiver from Kentucky, stood out to me with his versatility and confidence; he could earn the starting slot job. “He’s a problem,“ safety McKinney told me. “Very tough to cover.” The Giants are waiting to see more from their $18-million-a-year 2021 free agent, Kenny Golladay, who’s not separating from DBs well early in camp. That signing looks like a disaster. The receiver group’s a work in progress, but Robinson is real shot in the arm for it.

Regarding Saquon Barkley, who’s missed 18 games to injury in the last two seasons, I keep thinking his future’s elsewhere. The Giants are just getting their cap right—they should be in the top seven in cap space next offseason—and I doubt they want to spend more than $12-million on a running back, even if Barkley plays very well this year. Like so many players on the roster, my guess is he’s auditioning for 31 other teams as much as the Giants this fall.

New York Giants Training Camp
Giants safety Xavier McKinney. (Getty Images)

One player who’s quickly become a Daboll/Schoen favorite is McKinney, a Nick Saban favorite while at Alabama. McKinney enters his third year feeling free under new coordinator Wink Martindale. The new DC loves turning his safeties loose. Good for McKinney, who didn’t blitz on a single snap with the former staff last season. That will change, as will his workload. Martindale, in a rarity, gave the green dot to a safety instead of the customary linebacker. The green dot is worn on the back of one defender’s helmet, and Martindale calls the defense into that player’s helmet before each snap. “An honor,” McKinney told me. “That shows the coaches trust me.”

I asked McKinney about the new regime. “We faced so much adversity the past two years. For us, it’s like can’t get any worse,” McKinney said. “We’ve touched the bottom. We’ve seen the bottom. We can only go up. The energy is a lot different in the building. You really feel that team bonding as far as from player to coach, coach to player, staff to coach. We finally feel that family atmosphere we’ve been wanting for a long time.”

Sounds great at the dawn of training camp. But the job this summer and fall is for Schoen and Daboll to begin building a solid base—with the tackles, with Kayvon Thibodeaux and McKinney keying a young defense. With or without Jones. The pain’s not over yet, but no one expected it to be in year one. Patience, Giants fans. 

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft CB Rankings: Devon Witherspoon highlights loaded draft class


The 2023 NFL Draft is growing nearer, with just weeks remaining until teams make selections that could alter the future of their franchise forever.

A solid secondary is crucial to any team’s defensive prowess, and for the teams looking to tighten up in coverage, this year’s draft is the one to do so.

The 2023 NFL Draft cornerback class is an incredibly deep one, but which corner will be first off the board? Chris Simms unveiled his 2023 NFL Draft Cornerback rankings this week on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, posting Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon at the top of his list of corners in this year’s crop.

But trailing Witherspoon very closely are four other potential NFL superstars, with Simms ranking Michigan’s DJ Turner at No. 2, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez at No. 3, Maryland’s Deonte Banks at No. 4 and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo at No. 5.

The 2023 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 27, and end on Saturday, April 29. The first round will take place on Thursday with rounds two and three airing on Friday and rounds four through seven on Saturday. Click here for Simms’ quarterback rankings,and here for his list of top wide receivers.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Simms’ Top Five CB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

Tier One

1. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

2. DJ Turner, Michigan

3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Tier Two

4. Deonte Banks, Maryland

Tier Three

5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia

RELATED: 2023 NFL Draft order: Complete list of every pick from Round 1 through Round 7

Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft CB Rankings

The following are highlights from Simms’ CB draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

No. 1: Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

What Simms said: “This guy is must-see TV. He’s up there with one of the most twitchy, sudden people I’ve ever seen in my life to the point where when he takes off, you’re like, ‘Wait, is that real? Did he really get to full speed in half a step?’ … Bump or off, both are phenomenol —  it’s rare to have that. He’s got very good play strength for a guy that’s 5’11” and a half at 181 lbs. He doesn’t know that, he thinks he’s 220 … It’s efficient and easy. He’s sudden and can see the ability to accelerate whether it’s downhill or sticking the foot in the ground and changing direction. As compared to my No. 2 and No. 3 guy, he might be a hair tighter in his hips, but his twitchiness and explosion and acceleration … you just start to go, ‘What does this guy not have, besides the fact that he’s not 6’2” or over 200 lbs.’ He’s phenomenol.”

No. 2: DJ Turner, Michigan

What Simms said: “To me, (DJ Turner is) the most technically sound corner in the draft. There’s nobody better at technique. Like Witherspoon, the ability to mirror receivers at the line of scrimmage, the quick feet, it’s phenomenol. His hips are better than Witherspoon … His ability to flip those hips, turn and break on the ball, it’s right up there. It’s actually more smooth hip-wise than it is for Devon Witherspoon … What more can you say about the guy? Start-stop ability, amazing. Make-up speed, amazing. Other than Witherspoon, I think he’s put in the second-most tough spots out of anybody I’ve watched in this. He plays man-to-man, in your face a ton against big-time receivers. He’s awesome defending double moves. He could be the best nickel or outside guy, and he’s also the fastest guy in the draft. He’s got it all.”

No. 3: Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

What Simms said: “There’s not much to pick apart here … He’s got a little more size and meat on his bones. The Tee Higgins of the world, the bigger receivers of the world, they’re gonna have a harder time pushing him around and doing that stuff. He’s got incredible ball skills … He looks prototype. He looks Darrelle Revis, Champ Bailey-ish in his uniform …  He just wasn’t as edgy as the other guys … He’s gonna match up better with DeAndre Hopkins than the other two. But I don’t know if he’ll match up better with Jaylen Waddle or Ja’Marr Chase than the other two … But his technique is real. He’s a top-20 pick. You talk size, technique and straight speed, of course this guy is one of the top corners in the draft.” 

No. 4: Deonte Banks, Maryland

What Simms said: “He has more measurables like Gonzalez. 6 foot, 197 lbs., there’s a thickness to him and a power and strength element that certainly jumps out. Let alone, speed is Real Deal Holyfield … man-to-man, great legs, runs easy … He’s comfortable in his speed. He’s never panicked. He’s comfortable in going, ‘You have a step on me? That’s fine, I’m good,’ … But he’s also incredible, like Witherspoon and Turner, at getting on top of people when they try to run a go-route. No one can ever really get around him for the most part … He’s sticky as hell, he’s got very good feet, but he doesn’t know how to use his hands at all yet. So he’s not really that great at jamming people at the line of scrimmage, but he’s never not there … I thought his ability to play the ball and create PBUs in those 50/50 situations where the quarterback tries to throw the ball back shoulder and all that, he’s got a great feel and vision to be able to cover and see the throw at the same time that I was very impressed with.”

No. 5: Kelee Ringo, Georgia

What Simms said: “When you turn on the film, you go, ‘What? This guy’s a corner, he’s not a safety?’ Because he has a prototype safety vibe … Against the bigger, straight-liner guys, nobody’s gonna push this dude around. That’s certainly not going to be an issue, that along with the straight speed. Hey, the change of direction stuff is not beautiful. He’s a little heavy-footed because he’s a bigger guy … but it’s not bad … When he opens up, he can really go; obviously with a 4.36 second 40 time … He’s very smooth as far as an athlete overall.” 

For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms UnbuttonedProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The top QBs, WRs, RBs, and more ahead of draft weekend


The 2023 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for the full first-round draft order to find out when your team is picking.

Ahead of this year’s draft, Chris Simms has already started analyzing the top prospects by position on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast. So far, Simms has revealed his highly anticipated list of the top 5 quarterback prospects and wide receivers. See below to find out who made the top 5 names for each position and be sure to check back for updates!

Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL Draft as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings:

  1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA and Will Levis, Kentucky

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings:

  1. Zay Flowers, Boston College
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njibga, Ohio State
  3. Quentin Jonston, TCU
  4. Michael Wilson, Stanford
  5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Chris Simms 2023 NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings

  1. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
  2. DJ Turner, Michigan
  3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
  4. Deonte Banks, Maryland
  5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia

How can I watch the 2023 NFL Draft live?

ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

What time does the NFL Draft start?

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds two and three will commence Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Saturday’s final rounds at 12 p.m.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Season and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!