In the weekly ‘FanPulse’ survey of select community members, SB Nation this week asked a question that hits directly at the core of the debate surrounding the New York Giants:
“Does your team need a QB in 2019 draft?”
Sixty-three percent of Big Blue View community members who participated said that “yes” the Giants need to select a quarterback in the upcoming draft.
So, let’s start from there and discuss this a bit. The Giants say they have a quarterback plan going forward but, of course, they aren’t sharing it with the world. I will offer you some of my thoughts on how I think the situation might unfold heading into next season. Remember, this will not be MY plan. It’s what, as we sit here now with four weeks remaining in the 2018 regular season, I think could happen.
I believe the Giants will draft a quarterback
I just don’t believe they will use their first overall selection on one. Especially if that selection lands in the top 10 of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Throw out whatever name you want — Justin Herbert, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, whoever. BBV writers like Mark Schofield, Chris Pflum and Dan Pizzuta have studied these guys enough to have educated opinions on their skill levels. As of now, I have not. So, I’m not going to say “Player A is better than Player B.” I don’t know.
What I do believe as we sit here today, and this could change as the draft process unfolds and teams get close-up looks at the players, is that right now the Giants don’t see a quarterback in the 2019 class ready to step in and succeed quickly.
With that being the case, I would not anticipate the Giants using a top 10 pick on a player they wouldn’t expect to play. The Giants have needs on their offensive line and all across their defense. As of now, I think the Giants look to address those needs early — and to concentrate heavily on defense throughout the draft.
I also don’t believe the Giants want to enter 2019 with a rookie under center — not with Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr. and the offensive firepower they possess.
When would they take a quarterback? I think there are two scenarios:
- They use their first pick on whoever they deem to be the best player available. Then, they use some of their extra draft picks — they have nine before comp picks are determined — to trade back into the middle or late part of the first round and grab a quarterback they really like.
- They identify a quarterback or two they really like and use a Day 2 pick on that player. In that scenario, they are hoping to find a Russell Wilson or a Jimmy Garoppolo.
So, who opens the season as the 2019 QB?
This is really the “what will happen with Eli Manning?” question.
The answer? I don’t know. But ... I do have some theories.
I said before the season began — and before the Giants had moved on from Davis Webb, to be fully accurate — that if the Giants did not make the playoffs in 2018 it simply didn’t make sense to bring Manning back for his age 38 season.
I see that somewhat differently now. At midseason I wrote that there was still a path for Manning, under contract for next season, to be the Giants’ quarterback if he wanted to continue playing.
That path involved Manning and the Giants winning enough games in the second half of the season and showing enough improvement offensively to make the organization believe keeping Manning at quarterback for another year while they developed or looked for their long-term answer was a viable plan.
Well, guess what? The Giants have won three of four. They have averaged 29.25 points per game over that span, which would be fourth in the NFL over the full 2018 season. They have scored 30 or more points twice in the last three weeks and three times this season after failing to do so in each of the past two seasons.
Manning hasn’t been perfect, but he has played better as running game has taken hold and the offensive line has given him better protection. If this trend continues, the “keep Eli” argument is easier to make.
As we sit here today with four games remaining I do not believe the Giants have made a decision regarding Manning. I think they want to see over the next few games whether what the Giants have done the past month is sustainable.
When it’s all said and done the Giants will make a hard choice. And right now I’m not sure which way it will go.
If it’s not Manning, then who would it be?
I already said I don’t think it will be a rookie. The current free-agent apple of everyone’s eye is New Orleans Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater. I get it. He’s still just 26, has a connection to Pat Shurmur and looked like he might become a quality quarterback before wrecking his knee. I don’t, though, think Bridgewater is coming to the Giants.
If he moves on from the Saints, I think it would be a lot easier for Bridgewater to restart his career by going to Jacksonville and replacing Blake Bortles or Miami and replacing Ryan Tannehill than coming to New York and replacing a two-time Super Bowl MVP who has been under center for 15 years. Plus, Bridgewater is a Florida native.
Kyle Lauletta? Maybe, but it’s still a big ask for a fourth-round pick from an FCS school to become the starting quarterback — a good starting quarterback — for the New York Giants.
So, then what?
Remember, if it goes this way you would have Lauletta and a Day 2 pick on the roster.
If they move on from Manning I think the Giants will look for a young veteran to compete with Lauletta or perhaps be the outright starter while they develop whoever they choose in the draft. Or, give Lauletta some additional time.
Think about young quarterbacks around the league whose paths are blocked by star quarterbacks — or at least highly-paid ones. My guess is those are the kind of quarterbacks the Giants might target — high-upside guys who really haven’t gotten their opportunity yet.
Nate Sudfeld of the Philadelphia Eagles, a 2016 sixth-round pick by the Washington Redskins, is a guy who seems to intrigue many around the league. Kyle Sloter, the No. 3 quarterback with the Minnesota Vikings, is a 24-year-old player Shurmur is familiar with. Indianapolis Colts backup Jacoby Brissett is a guy some have campaigned for as a possibility. There may be others, as well.
We’re just getting started in unraveling all of this palace intrigue. Right now, though, these are the potential scenarios I see.