Deshaun Watson is a “strong fit” for the New York Giants in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft, according to Bucky Brooks of NFL.com. Another NFL.com analyst, Daniel Jeremiah, mocked North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky to the Giants in his latest mock draft.
That means that in the never-ending cycle of talking about the draft, we are once again back at the “should the Giants use a first-round pick on a quarterback” discussion.
Watson, of course, is one of the most polarizing players in this year’s draft. Search the mock drafts and you find him going anywhere from the first overall pick to somewhere in the second round. There are also a variety of opinions from unnamed scouts in Brooks’ “Book on Deshaun Watson.”
Brooks writes that the Giants “would perfectly match” Watson’s talents. Why? Because they don’t need a quarterback ready to step in next season, or maybe even in 2018. They need one when they are ready to move on from Eli Manning, which they clearly have no intention of doing yet.
“Considering how the strategy worked for Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers, Watson would certainly benefit from joining a team with a long-term developmental plan in place,” Brooks adds.
The Giants, of course, would be such a team. They are coming off an 11-win season and have in place a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback any young quarterback can learn from.
I’m not trying to debate here whether or not Watson, or Trubisky for that matter, is worthy of the 23rd overall selection. My view, which I have espoused before, is that the Giants would be making a mistake by using a first-round pick on a player who might not see the field regularly for several years. Manning is, after all, under contract through the 2019 season.
My view is that the best strategy for the Giants is to use their early picks on players who can help Manning maximize the years he has left, not handicap their current franchise quarterback by using a premium pick on a guy who will sit and watch him. Use a mid-round pick on a developmental guy like Davis Webb of Cal or Jerod Evans of Virginia Tech.
Manning himself recently expressed the view that quarterbacks are coming into the league better-prepared to play quickly. If that’s the case, why use a high pick on a guy who won’t play?
It is worth noting that Chris expressed a similar view in his assessment of Jeremiah’s choice of Trubisky for the Giants:
First rounders are expected to be contributors early in their careers, and Manning isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While the thought of potentially having your franchise QB on his rookie deal when he assumes the job after (roughly) three years of preparing is an attractive one. However, can the Giants really afford to be without a first-round pick for those years while Eli plays out his contract and Trubisky prepares?
This is the path, quite honestly, that I expect the Giants to take. GM Jerry Reese says every year that he expects his top three draft picks to contribute quickly and the Giants have, philosophically, moved away from taking “project” players with their early-round picks in recent years. The Giants’ last four first-round picks — Justin Pugh, Odell Beckham Jr., Ereck Flowers and Eli Apple — have all been first-year starters.
For the Giants to take a quarterback at 23 who they would expect NOT to play would fly in the face of that pattern. It would also hurt their chances of winning in 2017.
My view is I think it is more prudent for the Giants, a team capable of winning now, to use their early picks to try and do that rather to try and prepare for something that will happen three years from now.