Throughout the draft process, almost all of the focus with regards to the New York Giants has been on finding the heir to Eli Manning.
The feeling is that picking at second overall, they are going to be getting their next franchise quarterback. The fear is that if they don’t, if they pass on a quarterback for another player or a package of picks, the team will become “The Browns”.
The Browns, of course passed on both Carson Wentz and DeShaun Watson over the last two years.
However, Bill Parcells, Dave Gettleman, and Pat Shurmur have all issued words of caution with regards to the quarterback position this off season.
“That’s the position of the great number of errors...If you just look at history, just go back, every quarterback draft in the first round from 1980, you could do that, have a statistician do that and in 20 minutes just look at who they were and how many of them failed,” Parcells said. “It’s a difficult thing because some of them have attributes that you can’t see that allow them to succeed...and others have attributes that you can’t see that act as a deterrent to their success. Now when someone can figure those out in advance they’re pretty well down the road to finding the right player.”
”You can’t look inside a person’s heart,” he said. “You can’t look in there and know full well how that person is going to respond to pressure situations in a new circumstance.”
“If you take a guy just to take a guy, especially at the quarterback position, and he fails, you set yourself back five years,” Gettleman told reporters at the Senior Bowl. “You set yourself back five years because there are teams that are in what I call quarterback hell. They’ve got quality defense, they’ve got a good special teams, and they’re going 7-9, 8-8, 9-7. And now if there is a legitimate guy, they’ve got to trade up and give away the farm to get the guy.”
Pat Shurmur on what he looks for in a QB and his thoughts on taking one with the No. 2 pick ... pic.twitter.com/rAI5q3UGOC— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) February 28, 2018
“Well, you’re trying to look for all the intangible things that the quarterback does. You want to try to determine whether he is a good decision maker, whether he has a sense of timing. The tape tells you whether he is an accurate passer or not. And then you just want togeta feel for ‘hey is this the guy that we want to lead our team?’ Some of it is subjective, some of it really just comes by getting to know the player. We have a good idea of what a good quarterback is, so we’re trying to see those attributes in all those candidates.”
Each of these men are saying variations on the same thing, that it isn’t enough to pick a quarterback, but you have to pick the right quarterback.
All due respect to Browns fans, and you do deserve more than you’ve gotten from around the NFL and much more than you’ve gotten from the team, a team doesn’t become “The Browns” by passing on a quarterback. The Browns didn’t become “The Browns” by passing on quarterbacks, but by selecting quarterbacks like Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel.
That is what Parcells, Shurmur, and Gettleman meant when talking about slipping in to “quarterback hell”. Being blinded by physical tools and saddling your team with a player who just doesn’t have “IT.”
More than passing on a quarterback and strengthening the rest of your roster, committing premium resources to the wrong quarterback not only robs the rest of your roster of talent, but holds back the good players as well. If a team doesn’t have a quarterback but spends its picks reinforcing the rest of the roster, they are in a better position to withstand a trade up should they need to acquire that quarterback.
The Philadelphia Eagles built a solid enough roster that they could send their first, third, and fourth round picks in 2016, first round pick in 2017, and second round pick in 2018, to the Cleveland Browns, as well as Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to the Miami Dolphins.
The Los Angeles Rams sent the Tennessee Titans their first round pick, two (2) second round picks, and third round pick in the 2016 draft, as well as their first and third round picks in the 2017 draft. They needed a coaching change and some additional free agent investment to bring it all together, but now both teams, the Rams and Eagles appear highly competitive.
Picking at second overall is the most immediately painless place to acquire a potential franchise quarterback for the Giants (the pain of getting to that pick, is in the past). But just because they have it, does that mean they have to spend the pick on a quarterback if they aren’t sure that the right one is there?
If they force the pick of a player they aren’t sold on, would they be setting themselves back more than selecting a non-quarterback (perhaps Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson, or Tremaine Edmunds, or several players in a trade back) and possibly having to trade up for Nick Fromm (Georgia) or Tua Tagovailoa in the future?
“I think we’ve got to keep an open mind on this, and we certainly want to make our team better,” Shurmur said Wednesday morning at the Scouting Combine. “We’re looking for passionate players who want to be coached, that we feel good about, and we’re trying to upgrade the whole team.”