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Position battleground (rookies): Cowboys vs. Giants breakdown for draft picks/UDFAs

Comparing the rookies and UDFAs on the Cowboys and Giants rosters after their first game facing each other.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Previously we broke down both team’s offense and defense for the upcoming game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Now we dive back into the position battleground, this time looking at how each team’s rookie class stacks up against each other. The grades given are based on performance, role and expectation.

Dallas Cowboys

NT Mazi Smith (First Round)

What keeps Mazi Smith from having a better grade is his snap count. The main reason his snap count is so low this season isn’t based on his talent level or lack of development, it’s how the defense is set up. Ahead of Smith is Johnathan Hankins who also plays the same role as Smith, but also the defensive line plays a lot of rotation and hybrid fronts which requires the nose tackle position to take a back seat. Smith had his moment last week in the Philadelphia Eagles game, and his strength and power was on show while clogging up the middle. Facing Saquon Barkley may offer Smith more snaps this week, but for now expect his snap to remain similar to last week.

Grade: B-

TE Luke Schoonmaker (Second Round)

It gets a little harder each week to stay positive on Schoonmaker. Against the Eagles, his route running was labored. The holding call on Rico Dowdle’s run puts a huge damper on things, as the run was the start of the Cowboys momentum change. To keep throwing fuel to the fire, his run blocking last week was subpar. It’s been a little disappointing so far from Schoonmaker, but given the position and the level of development these guys have to go through, we just have to stay patient.

Grade: C-

K Brandon Aubrey (UDFA)

There’s not much that needs to be said here, Aubrey is the shining star of this Cowboys’ rookie class, and no one would have expected to hear that. Aubrey’s 51-yard field goal last week showed the level of confidence and talent he has as a kicker. But it also shows the level of trust this coaching staff have in him to opt for that type of field goal attempt. He’s now 19-of-19 on field goals with a new NFL record.

Grade: A+

FB Hunter Luepke (UDFA)

Luepke has been in on some offensive plays the last few weeks, but only used as a blocker. He was a key player on special teams last week, making one tackle. Watch him this week on punt defense as the Giants are punting more than any other team in the NFL.

Grade: A-

Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

New York Giants

CB Deonte Banks (First Round)

Banks first game against Dallas was limited, being it was his first time in an NFL game. Since then his snap count has gone up and has managed to keep a steady run of positive production. His reactions to route breaks has let him down so far this season which has led to him grabbing receivers and getting penalized. He’s been flagged six times in the last four games.

C John Michael Schmitz (Second Round)

Schmitz has had to deal with shoulder injuries and play through pain. He had what most would argue was a terrible game last week, but he’s been a steady force at center for the Giants and has only given up one sack this season. For a rookie you can’t complain too much about that. But he has missed three games so far this season, and his over-aggressiveness on pass blocking has got him into trouble. In Week 1 against Dallas, he gave up three pressures and had a hard time on run blocking.

WR Jalin Hyatt (Third Round)

Hyatt had one target off 25 offensive snaps when he played Dallas last time. Since then he’s upped that number to average two targets a game. His best game this season came against the Washington Commanders, where he caught three passes for 75 yards. He has yet to score his first NFL touchdown, and most of his struggles come in the form of what most people expected, his route running. He generally ran nine-routes in Tennessee and that has seen him struggle at the NFL level to break free. With the Giants going to their rookie quarterback this week, expect a down game for Hyatt.

CB Tre Hawkins (Sixth Round)

If Adoree’ Jackson isn’t able to play this week, then Tre Hawkins could be the guy the Giants choose to fill his position. He played against Dallas last time and made five tackles. So far this season he’s allowing a 75% completion rate and allowing a 144.4 passer rating. If he’s playing on the outside against Brandin Cooks, then the Cowboys second receiver could have a big day.

QB Tommy DeVito (UDFA)

No Daniel Jones or Tyrod Taylor means the team is looking at their third-string rookie quarterback to take over for the rest of the season. There is a chance they play Matt Barkley too, who they brought up from the practice squad. Neither are ideal options since Barkley last played for the Buffalo Bills in 2020 and DeVito so far has completed 17 passes for 174 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his two games played this season.

Washington Commanders v New York Giants Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images


Which team has the better draft class?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (97 votes)
  • 25%
    New York Giants
    (33 votes)
130 votes total Vote Now

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