Happy Saturday, everyone!
With college football all but over, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2017 NFL Draft in earnest. We can, and will, talk until we’re blue in the face about the draft’s strengths and the New York Giants’ needs.
But what about a position at which the Giants are ostensibly set, but might still need to spend a draft pick?
I’m talking about quarterback.
Eli Manning is locked in as the Giants’ starting quarterback, even in a down year, but behind him the situation is somewhat unsettled. Ryan Nassib has been Eli’s backup for four years, but he — somewhat amazingly — ends the year on the injured reserve while third QB Josh Johnson takes over as the primary backup.
The timing was never right for Nassib to be the Giants’ next franchise quarterback (regardless of whether or not he has the talent). With the possibility of a true decline by Manning and Nassib’s impending free agency, should the Giants spend a high draft pick on a quarterback this year?
We’ll start with a quick preview on the quarterbacks I think could be in the range of the Giants’ first- or second-round picks.
Brad Kaaya (Miami) - I won’t say that Kaaya will be a polarizing prospect, because each of these quarterbacks will likely be polarizing as the process runs its course. Kaaya is a talented prospect who in just three years became the Hurricanes’ all-time leading passer. He has the physical tools the league likes, listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, with good-enough mobility and the arm to make throws downfield. Operating in a pro-style offense this past year, Kaaya is at his best making quick decisions and rhythm passes. He also came in to a Miami team largely bereft of talent, and improved every year in college. When faced with pressure, however, Kaaya’s mechanics break down and he becomes very inconsistent.
Patrick Mahomes Jr. (Texas Tech) - Talking about inconsistent, Mahomes can be incredibly inconsistent. He is, however, a blast to watch. Mahomes is athletic, able to roll out and scramble, turning a structured football game into a back-yard melee almost at will. He also shows a Matt Stafford-like arm, able to launch the ball deep downfield from almost any arm angle or base. The problems come form a propensity to turn relatively simple plays into complex ones. While it certainly can work out and result in a huge play, they can also backfire and either be a wasted down or a loss. Mahomes will need the right coach to harness his talent.
Deshaun Watson (Clemson) - Coming in to the 2016 season Watson was considered the prohibitive favorite to be the top quarterback in the class. He is athletic, knows how to win football games, and his coaches rave about work eithic, leadership, and character. But this year saw his stock fall as he failed to take the next step from his fantastic 2015 season. And while he doesn’t lack arm strength, his deep ball accuracy suffered despite the return of number one receiver Mike Williams. Watson has drawn comparisons to Marcus Mariota — in arm strength, athletic ability, and intangibles — but he could need time to transition from Clemson’s spread offense to a sophisticated NFL passing attack.
So Giants fans, do you think the Giants should use a high draft pick on a quarterback this year? It’s a tricky question, since a quarterback is a long-term investment and the team might not see the payoff until 2020. If so, which one do you like?