Giants’ NFL Draft prize slips away, but kids are growing up


Seems like you can forget about Caleb Williams or Drake Maye coming to the Giants next season.

With the Giants coming away with a second straight win Sunday, they quickly have gone from in the running for one of the top two picks in next year’s NFL Draft to a potential afterthought — especially with winnable games remaining after the bye against the Packers, Saints and Rams.

It was just two weeks ago that the Giants lost their third straight game, a lopsided defeat to the Cowboys, to drop to 2-8, fans having gone from hopeful for Daniel Jones to lead the team back to the playoffs to anticipating the possibility of being so bad they could draft a potentially franchise-changing quarterback.

But then came last week’s win over the hapless Commanders and Sunday’s 10-7 victory over the equally horrendous Patriots.

Now 4-8, the Giants are all but out of the Williams-and-Maye sweepstakes, so you might as well have something to cheer for the rest of the way.

Kayvon Thibodeaux drilled Mac Jones and continued his Year 2 emergence as one of the NFL’s top pass rushers.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Sunday provided some examples of who could be a part of a turnaround in the near future.

Here are a few:

Kayvon Thibodeaux

The second-year defensive end picked up another half-sack, giving him a team-high 11 on the season — all in the past 10 games.

The fifth overall pick in 2022 has emerged as a dominant force on defense and made his presence felt again Sunday. He also was credited with two tackles for loss as he continues to overcome double-teams.

Thibodeaux was consistently in the backfield and disruptive again against a Patriots offense that had few answers for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s schemes, of which Thibodeaux was a big part.

For all the questions that remain about offensive tackle Evan Neal, who also was selected in the first round in general manager Joe Schoen’s first draft in 2022, Thibodeaux looks like a player who can remain a force on the Giants’ defense for years to come.

Jalin Hyatt

Jalin Hyatt signals for a first down after one of his five catches for a career-high 109 yards.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

People have been waiting for a performance like this from the third-round pick since the Giants picked the speedster out of Tennessee in April.

Prior to Sunday’s breakout performance, Hyatt had just 12 catches (on 22 targets) on the season and never more than three in a game.

On Sunday, with third-string quarterback Tommy DeVito under center, Hyatt delivered.

He finished the win with five catches for 109 yards — the team’s first 100-yard game by a receiver this season.

Wan’Dale Robinson

Robinson had torched the Lions for 100 yards on nine receptions last Nov. 20 when he went down with a torn ACL. He hasn’t yet duplicated that kind of success in 2023 — he’s up to 36 catches after tallying four on Sunday, for a mere 265 yards — but he’s still in just his second season and playing with his third QB of the season.

Robinson, 22, will give whoever is playing quarterback for the Giants next season more weapons to choose from, and could end up making a formidable duo with Hyatt.

Deonte Banks

Deonte Banks (left) was flying high after collecting a difficult interception.

Banks made one of the best catches of the day on Sunday, picking off Mac Jones and keeping both feet down before going out of bounds.

It was the rookie cornerback’s second pick of the season, and though he and the rest of the defense weren’t tested much against Jones and Bailey Zappe and the Patriots’ cast of mediocre receivers, it was another strong showing. Banks appears to be on his way to becoming a corner the Giants can build their secondary around.

Tommy DeVito

In his first start at home, in front of 200 family and friends, the undrafted DeVito wasn’t spectacular (17-for-25, 191 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT), but he won and again showed he could be a dependable backup.

And that’s something — as the Giants know all too well in the Daniel Jones era — that can be very valuable, especially with Tyrod Taylor headed toward free agency.

Today’s back page

New York Post

The Knicks are … alright

But just alright.

With their 116-113 home loss Sunday to a Suns team that was without Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, the Knicks fell to 9-7, including a 4-7 mark versus teams now .500 and better.

That’s the worst record of any of the top seven teams in the Eastern Conference, and if the Knicks want to make any noise this season, they’ll have to find a way to beat good teams more consistently.

They did it Friday night against the Heat, when they overcame a 21-point second-half deficit.

But after facing a similar hole versus the Suns in a listless first half then rallying, the Knicks went down on a long Devin Booker 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds to go.

Jalen Brunson, who led the Knicks with 35 points, just missed on a last-second 3-point attempt.

After Jalen Brunson’s last shot missed Sunday, the Knicks came away with a 1-1 weekend against two of the NBA’s best teams.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

The Suns are on a seven-game winning streak since beginning the season a disappointing 4-6.

The Knicks’ next two games are at the Garden, against the struggling Hornets and Pistons.

Pass or fail

Five quarterbacks were selected in the first 15 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.

So far, only the No. 1 overall pick, the Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence, looks to have a shot at meeting expectations with the team that selected him.

Lawrence led the Jaguars (8-3) to a win over the Texans on Sunday, but the other four QBs from that first round have been disasters — and this week was no exception.

Zach Wilson, who went after Lawrence at No. 2 to the Jets, only in the starting role because of Aaron Rodgers’ injury, is now benched in favor of Tim Boyle, who led a pathetic Jets offense in Friday’s loss to the Dolphins.

Mac Jones’ four-benching Patriots season might not even be the saddest reality for a 2021 first-round quarterback.

Trey Lance, third overall to the 49ers, is already out of the organization and serving as the third-string quarterback for the Cowboys.

Justin Fields, the No. 11 pick, puts his 6-26 record with the Bears on the line Monday night (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN) against the Vikings. The Bears are in position to draft No. 1 overall in 2024, via the Panthers.

That leaves Jones and the Patriots. Jones was benched at halftime of Sunday’s loss to the Giants by head coach Bill Belichick. It was the fourth time Jones has been benched this season.

It seems obvious the 15th overall pick won’t be in New England much longer.

What we’re reading 👀

🏀 The Nets (8-8) buried an NBA season-high 25 3-pointers to dispatch the Bulls at Barclays Center.

🏈 After Michigan’s thrilling win over Ohio State, The Post’s Zach Braziller looks at how conference title games will shape — and potentially cause havoc for — the College Football Playoff.

🏒 The Rangers’ fourth line was instrumental in Saturday’s statement win over the Bruins.

🏈 Oh, great, the Eagles are 10-1 after a dramatic OT win over the Bills.

✖ Big wrestling news this weekend: CM Punk is back in WWE.

🎾 Jannik Sinner stunningly beat Novak Djokovic twice in one day, and Italy went on to win the Davis Cup.

⛷ Mikaela Shiffrin’s not slowing down.

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