(Photo via NY Daily News/ Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The NFL draft is right around the corner, and nobody is counting the seconds in a more cautiously optimistic fashion than that of Giants nation. Who can blame them, the Giants hold a 8-24 record since their last postseason appearance and have had an under .500 record for 5 of the last 6 years. This is Dave Gettlemans second draft with the goal of rebuilding the Giants in his own vision after mass turnover of the roster the last two years. Every draft is important for an NFL team but this draft seems to be one of the most important in recent memory for the Giants. This draft will reveal the answer to many questions including the biggest question looming over the franchise. What is the plan to find the heir apparent to Eli Manning?
There is much debate among Giants nation on who is at fault for the state of the team and how much of it falls on the shoulder of its most iconic signal caller. This has elevated the anticipation and desire for many in the fan base to see the next franchise QB. For how much of the blame falls on Eli and if its fair is for another article, but one strong indicator for the deterioration of the franchise over the last 6 years is the futility of drafting players by the Giants. From 2011-2017, the Giants have had the most draft selections that are no longer on the current roster or better yet in the league itself. The Giants also rank 26th in pro bowlers selected (2) in that span as well. With this lack of success in the draft, the Giants have been forced to overspend in free agency for veterans to fill in those holes. In 2018 the Giants had probably its best draft in recent memory (1 Pro Bowler, 3 Starters) and with 12 picks in this upcoming draft, it is imperative they put together back to back strong drafts. The lack of draft success however, does not change the fact that Eli Manning is 38 years old, and filling the most important position in football for the future is vital.
(Photo via AP/Michael Conroy)
This brings us to the QB plan. The Giants have two first round picks (6th and 17th) and could use one of them to grab the next franchise QB. Could the Giants trade for a QB? Could the Giants punt the QB situation to next year? Will they use the 6th pick on one of the potential prospects? Unless you have been totally out of the loop, you know the top QB prospects in this draft are Murray, Haskins, Lock, Jones, and Grier. Based upon what scouts you talk to or analysts you follow, the majority have these prospects broken up into 3 tiers ( Tier 1-Murray, Tier 2-Haskins, Tier 3-Lock/Jones/Grier). Outside of Murray, there is plenty of questions and “grey area” when it comes to evaluating the other QB prospects. Whether its Haskins lack of mobility and shaky mechanics, Locks lack of consistency and decision-making, or Jones lack of arm strength and potential ceiling.
Each prospect has major questions on whether they are worth the 6th overall pick in a defense rich draft with elite prospects at the top of it. The Giants could wait until the 17th overall pick to answer the QB question, but that’s a dangerous game to play because the QB you fall in love with may not be there by the time your turn comes. Would they consider moving up from 17th overall to get a QB? Possibly, especially if Haskins or Lock get out of the top 10. Its a smokescreen season in the NFL at this time and trying to figure out which QB the Giants like if any has become mind-boggling. One thing you can’t do is draft a first round QB strictly because you feel inclined to or because he is one of the best in his class. If you reach for a QB you usually end up with a Blake Bortles or Ryan Tannehill. This does not suggest that these QB prospects can’t become a franchise QB or that using one of the two first round picks on one of them would be a mistake. There have been times where scouts believed a QB draft class was poor and it turned out to produce multiple franchise QBs (2017). With the holes the Giants have on the team, those first-round picks may be too rich to select one of the QB prospects available. To me, there are two options the Giants should pursue to fill the future QB void.
(Photo via AP/Ted S. Warren)
If I was running the Giants, my top target would be Josh Rosen, if he were to become officially available. Multiple teams, including the Giants, have reached out to Arizona inquiring about Rosen amid the multiple rumors of the Cardinals interest in potential #1 overall pick Kyler Murray. Rosen in his first year struggled to succeed in Arizona, posting mediocre numbers of 55% comp 11 TD and 14 Int. Taking these numbers solely at face value would be foolish, given the hurdles Rosen had to overcome in his first year as a QB. Rosen was faced with an anemic offensive line (PFF 32nd overall rating) and an injury-riddled supporting cast. With the beating he took over the length of the season, it was impressive to see him show grit and never seem to falter.
There is one big reason this would be my top choice to pursue and that is VALUE. You can make a strong argument that Josh Rosen would be the top QB or at least at the same tier as Haskins if he were to be a prospect in this draft. Josh Rosen would also be a cheaper option than picking a QB with the 6th overall pick since most of Rosen’s signing bonus has been paid already by the Cardinals. With the depreciation on Rosen’s value due to one year already used on his rookie deal, you may be able to get the deal done at a discounted price. If the terms for a deal would require less than one of the two first-round picks the Giants own, then it may be a no brainer to pursue. Rosen can come in and learn from Eli while being paid backup QB money. The Giants can execute the desired “Kansas City” QB method and if the Giants were to be eliminated from making the playoffs in 2019, then Rosen can take the reins. This idea predicates on two things happening, the first being if Rosen is actually available. A report by Adam Schefter states the Cardinals have not engaged in active trade talks about Rosen. This suggests the Cardinals haven’t decided who they will select with the 1st overall pick, or they have decided and its not a QB, or they will wait for a closer time to draft night to engage in trade talks. The second predicate is how much are the Giants willing to part with in a potential trade. It has been reported by both Jordan Raanan (ESPN) and Patricia Traina (Forbes) that the Giants may not part with more than a 3rd round pick. This may not be enough to get a deal done if multiple teams are vying for Rosen’s services.
(Photo via AP/Chris Pietsch)
The second option is to punt the QB question to the 2020 draft. I know this response will have many Giants fans cringing but hear me out. The 2020 draft class is projected to be a better class than 2019 and has the potential to be a special QB draft class similar to that of 2018. This draft class is headed by Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Justin Herbert (Oregon), and Jake Fromm (Georgia) each of whom would have started 3 years in college at the end of 2019. Justin Herbert was scouted heavily by the Giants per multiple reports. It was also believed that the Giants coveted the young Oregon QB before he decided to return for his senior season. Those are just the household names, there are opportunities for under the radar QBs such as Costello and Eason to enter the discussion in a similar fashion to how Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson punched their tickets as first-round prospects.
You may be asking, how can you risk waiting to 2020 if you don’t know what pick you will have, especially when you have a top 10 pick this year. This is a fair argument, but what if you are not in love with one of the 2019 prospects? What if they do not fit your vision or scheme? What if the prospect doesn’t have the tools or intangibles to elevate your team for the next 10-15 years? It’s easy to say this guy is highly rated in this class by the masses and feel enticed to take him. Taking the wrong franchise QB can set your franchise back because you won’t know if the QB will pan out until you are 3 years in. That’s if you last that long. The Giants may also have the capital to move up as 4 teams did in 2018 to get their franchise QB (Jets, Bills, Cardinals, Ravens). The Giants have 12 draft picks this year but that doesn’t mean they have to draft 12 players. These picks could be traded to get draft capital for 2020 or fill the various holes on the team so using draft capital next year to move up won’t be as painful. The Giants will also have over 80 mil in cap space for 2020 per Over The Cap to fill those holes on the roster as well. This gives them flexibility if they do feel like 2020 is the time to move up for a QB.
The Giants may fall in love with one of these QB prospects in 2019 and use one of the first round picks on that individual, or trade for Rosen, or even punt this problem to 2020. Dave Gettleman is the only man who knows the answer. Will his answer be correct? We won’t be sure until about 3 years from now. The bottom line is when this year’s draft comes and goes, we will all finally know the plan to a Giant QB Question.
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Head of The Talk Sports Media.