By: Lorenzo Marquez (iirenzo)
A GIANT DILEMMA
ESPN football analyst, Todd McShay, claims that, “GM Dave Gettleman wants to get a Hall of Famer at No. 2. That’s why I think the Giants draft Saquon Barkely.” This pick would be a colossal mistake disguised as an All-Pro talent at running back. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I know that Saquon Barkley could very well be the only sure thing in this class. However, I firmly believe that the Giants would secure their place outside the winner's circle for the next several seasons if they miss out on a top quarterback prospect in the deepest class at the position since 2012.
The entire NFL Draft hinges on the first choice of the N.Y.G. Will they get their quarterback of the future, as Eli Manning slowly descends deeper and deeper into his wash cycle? Or, do they draft the best player available, Saquon Barkley, adding a unique talent to the already star-studded offensive cast? The Jets (3), Broncos (5), Dolphins (11) and Bills (12) await the answer as they are all likely in the market for a quarterback in the top fifteen. Only three of the four first round prospects will remain on most big boards following the Browns’ first pick. All signs point to the latter option for the Giants as reports leak about the team's fondness of Barkley. However, if they decide to take a quarterback, the first half of the first round will be turned upside down, as the Jets will certainly go quarterback at No. 3, leaving one of the four quarterbacks left between the Broncos, Bills and Dolphins.
For the Giants at No. 2, Saquon would be a great addition. He’s a three-down back that has athletic ability not seen since Reggie Bush. However, if we play the Saquon scenario out, where does it put the Giants over the next few seasons? The Giants are certainly a better team from day one, loaded from top to bottom on offense. They can become a dominant run-first team, like McShay suggests they want to be. But, the only question that matters is, can the Giants contend in the next two seasons? Two, maximum three, seasons seems to be all that Eli Manning could possibly have left in the tank as his durability, ability to drive the ball and pocket mobility steadily decline. Best case scenario, the Giants are a bubble team, relying on Saquon and their outside talent to hide an aging quarterback and a suspect defense in the loaded NFC.
The Giants’ defense ranked near the very bottom in most major categories a season ago, and will require draft picks, moves in free agency and a few seasons of development to turn around, if they can turn it around at all. Firework enthusiast, Jason Pierre Paul, was shipped off so this front seven can’t squeeze any pockets and Landon Collins can’t make every single play.
The pick to make is simple: Draft the best available quarterback. Whether it’s Darnold, Rosen or Mayfield, I see a perfect situation in New York for a young quarterback. They have a surplus of outside talent in OBJ, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. They greatly upgraded at left tackle with the addition of human giant, Nate Solder, and the era of offensive guru and newly hired head coach, Pat Shurmur, is ready to kickoff. All signs point to acquiring the quarterback of the future, yet the Giants are leaking that they want the best player available, a potential Hall of Famer, Saquon Barkley. Saquon is a sensational talent with no ceiling; however, the solution to an aging quarterback problem is not a tailback. It’s a top quarterback prospect. And the likelihood of the Giants being in a position similar to this one, with a very deep quarterback class, to replace him is slim to none in the next few seasons.
If they draft Saquon, Dave Gettleman is on the hot seat in two to three seasons with an underachieving super squad on offense and someone resembling Geno Smith at the helm. All of this, as Eli walks off into the sunset with a Bud Light and a goodbye. They will have nothing to show for the move and be in the market for his replacement. All the while, their New York counterpart, the Jets, will have drafted their quarterback of the future at No. 3 next week. Imagine Josh Rosen in green, turning the franchise around in the next few seasons as the Giants hold Eli’s retirement presser. Choosing to make a final push with Eli would be choosing to enter another period of shortcomings for the franchise. Choosing Saquon makes the team much better immediately but it does not give the team the opportunity to contend for years to come. Loyalty to Eli Manning does not have to come in the shape of sacrificing the future of the most important, influential position in the sport.