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“No way” Giants are taking a quarterback No. 2?

That’s a strong take from draft analyst Scott Wright, but is is correct?

NFL: Combine
Josh Rosen (left) and Sam Darnold at the Combine.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This is veteran NFL draft analyst Scott Wright of Draft Countdown in an interview with me for the ‘Locked on Giants’ podcast discussing what the New York Giants will do with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Let’s repeat. “No way they’re taking a quarterback.”

That’s a strong take from Wright, historically one of the more accurate draft analysts scored by The Huddle Report.

Here’s more from Wright:

“I said since the day they hired David Gettleman [as GM] that they were not taking a quarterback with that No. 2 pick. Eli Manning last year made it pretty clear his thoughts on taking a back seat and by going with Gettleman who’s kind of in with ownership and the old-school Giants regime they’re going to do what Eli wants,” Wright said.

“They think he’s got a few years left and they’re going to try to win with him. Eli certainly isn’t going to want them using their most valuable asset to bring in his replacement, a guy the fans are going to be cheering for him to be benched for every interception.”

Is Wright right?

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reported Tuesday that as now the Giants seem to be leaning away from taking a quarterback, and that none of the quarterbacks in the draft class are expected to be in the top three on their draft board. The indication I have gotten is that at least the top two spots on that board are currently occupied by non-quarterbacks, though that can obviously change.

Let’s examine.

The Eli factor

I’m not buying that Manning would throw a hissy fit and be a problem if the Giants took a quarterback at No. 2. Of course, I don’t buy the narrative that he did that when Ben McAdoo told him Geno Smith would start a game last season.

I do buy the narrative that the Giants believe Manning isn’t finished as a quality quarterback and that they are all-in to be as successful as possible during the remainder of his tenure, however long that lasts. The way they have approached the offseason thus far, signing some veteran players and trading away picks for Alec Ogletree, is an indication of that.

If you are all-in to try for a quick turnaround and an effort to maximize Manning’s remaining time, you can’t use the No. 2 pick in the draft on a player who play.

This quarterback class

Sam Darnold. Josh Rosen. Josh Allen. Baker Mayfield. Lamar Jackson. Every analyst, and fan, has a favorite. Mine is Darnold. You can also poke massive holes in the argument’s for why any of them deserve to be the No. 1 or 2 overall pick. That’s the problem — none of them are perfect prospects. A couple of them could be stars. The rest? Pedestrian to pitiful guys who leave their teams in “quarterback hell.”

I don’t know for sure which guy the Giants favor out of that group. Even if they do have a favorite, do they love him enough for Gettleman and Pat Shurmur to gamble the future of their franchise — and their Giants legacies — on being right?

The Barkley factor

We have been discussing (arguing about) Saquon Barkley and the value of using the No. 2 pick in the draft on a running back. In case you somehow missed those posts:

Let’s not re-litigate those discussions. Just to hear a different voice, though, here is Wright’s viewpoint:

“I think the best way to put it is this -- if you’re willing to make that type of investment in a running back, i.e. a top 5 pick, Barkley is the type you do it on. He is the total package,” Wright said.

But ...

“I personally [am] adverse to taking any running back that early, even one I like as much as [Leonard] Fournette or Barkley. I just believe that you can find maybe not the same production but similar production much further down the line.” ...

“Regardless of what round 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 I could give you good running back options. Are they going to be Barkley? No. Barkley’s an elite prospect. He’s special. But do you need a special running back to accomplish your main goal, which is winning the Super Bowl? I don’t know that you do.”

This is Dave Gettleman

And Gettleman’s name, of course, is pretty much synonymous with the words “hog mollies.” Gettleman loves the big guys, having said over and over since he was hired that “big men allow you to compete.”

The most obvious of those big men is Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. With Gettleman’s love for offensive linemen, and the Giants still in a position where they could use a stud blocker on the inside, don’t put it past the general manager to fall in love with Nelson and pick him at two.

“I wouldn’t argue with them staying at 2 and taking Nelson, who I think is the best player in the draft and the safest player in the draft and the best guard prospect I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve been doing this,” Wright said.

The other possibility that hasn’t been talked about much, perhaps not at all here at Big Blue View, would be taking defensive end Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State. He does qualify as a hog molly, the Giants do need pass-rushing help and Gettleman’s first two picks as GM of the Carolina Panthers were defensive linemen.

Put two-and-two together and if the Giants don’t go QB at No. 2 you have to believe Chubb is in the conversation.

Trading down

If they aren’t taking a quarterback, will the Giants be “open for business” with the second pick? The Denver Broncos might want to move up from No. 5. Is an extra first-round pick and maybe a Day 2 selection worth moving down? What about a haul of three possible first-round picks (two this year and one in 2019) and some other Day 2 picks from the Buffalo Bills? Could the Miami Dolphins (No. 11) figure out a way to get into the mix? A mystery team?

This is another topic we have discussed many times, and will likely discuss many more. Wright loves the haul the Giants could get from Buffalo.

“There’s going to be guys available even in late Round 2 that are being talked about as potential first-round prospects,” Wright said. “If you can come away with two or three of those type guys plus the No. 12 overall pick, plus maybe that No, 22 pick I mean, geez, that’s a king’s ransom. You can plug a lot of holes on that roster with those picks.”

Final thoughts

As closely as the Giants are studying quarterbacks you have to think they are going to come away with one guy they would run to the podium for if the Cleveland Browns don’t select him first overall.

I believe, though, that the Giants are less likely to take a quarterback at No. 2 than anyone thought just a couple of months ago.