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7-round mock draft: What if Sam Darnold isn’t the Giants’ No. 1 QB?

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Let’s examine an alternate quarterback scenario

Wyoming v UNLV
Josh Allen
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

These weekly 7-round mock drafts for the New York Giants are all about setting up scenarios. They are about considering the draft in different ways — about what “could” happen, not always necessarily what I believe “will” happen.

As such, this week let’s present a “what if Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur have everyone snowed about the quarterback they love?” scenario.

The Giants have criss-crossed the country going to the Pro Days of the top quarterbacks, private workouts, taking guys to dinner, etc. The belief settling over the draft community is that Sam Darnold is the top quarterback in this class, and that the Browns will take him at No. 1. Chris Canty espoused the belief last week that the Giants have one quarterback they love, and there are some — myself included — who think it’s Darnold.

What, though, if it’s not? Let’s have a look at who it might be if that quarterback is not named Darnold.

Round 1 (No. 2) — Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

If the Giants take a quarterback at No. 2, my belief after studying these players and gathering as much information as I can is that the choice would either be Darnold or Allen. I know that will make the Josh Rosen crowd scream. Break down all the film you want, and play down the personality concerns. Maybe they are overblown, I don’t know. I just don’t believe Rosen is the Giants’ guy. At a time when one of the most critical things they are trying to do is change the culture of a locker room that wasn’t good in 2017, the tiniest question about what they might get from the guy who could be the leader of the franchise could be enough to turn them away. Same with Baker Mayfield.

I know the story with Allen. Best physical tools of any quarterback in the class — Mike Mayock puts his tools on par with Carson Wentz. Legit questions about his accuracy and his instincts/awareness.

The Giants, with Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula along with a quarterback situation where Allen wouldn’t be expected to play immediately, would be the perfect place for him to develop.

Would the Giants really do this? I don’t know, but it is a scenario that needs to be considered.

NOTE: The ‘Fanspeak’ simulator offered me a trade with the Buffalo Bills for the 12th and 22nd picks in the first round and Buffalo’s two second-round round picks — 53rd and 56th. I turned it down not because I wouldn’t consider it, but in order to present the Allen scenario.

Other players considered: Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson

Round 2 (No. 41 — Trade) — Taven Bryan, DL, Florida

I accepted a trade with the Oakland Raiders in this spot. Gave up the second pick of Round 2 (34th). Got back the ninth pick of Round 2 and the 11th pick of Round 3. I like the deal because, after selecting a quarterback who I wouldn’t expect to play in 2018, this gave me one more swing in the top half of the draft at finding a player who could contribute in 2018. I now have four picks in the second and third rounds combined.

Why Bryan? Think about all the chatter since the trade of Jason Pierre-Paul that the Giants need an impact player on the edge. Well, some have compared him to J.J Watt, which isn’t bad. Here is a highlight reel:

NFL Draft Scout compared Bryan’s ceiling to Fletcher Cox which, again, isn’t bad:

In an era in which statistics are often padded by scheme, Bryan proved the opposite, making more plays behind the line of scrimmage than his six tackles for loss would suggest. His burst and power help him consistently disrupt the middle, leading to easy tackle for loss opportunities for opponents. He may never develop the instincts and technique coaches would prefer but Bryan is the proverbial bull in a china shop every club is looking for. He - not one of the hotly debated quarterbacks in this class - may very well be the biggest boom or bust prospect of the year.

Other players considered: Kolton Miller, Sony Michel, Harrison Phillips, Brian O’Neill, Arden Key

Round 3 (No. 66) — Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

On ‘Locked on Giants’ last week, Scott Wright of Draft Countdown said that Penny was the guy he would target if he waited beyond Round 1 to choose a running back.

“if I were waiting to get a running back this year second or third round Penny is the guy I’d be targeting,” Wright said. “Just a tremendous combination of size and speed.”

Well, lo and behold, Penny was the top-ranked player on the board when it came time to make this pick.

Here is Walter Football on the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Penny:

As a back, Penny is a thickly built downhill runner. He has a surprising burst to hit the hole and accelerate to the second level. Penny is fast for a big back and can run away from the defense when he gets to the open field. His second gear is very impressive and makes him dangerous to rip off long runs on any carry. Penny combines quick, feet, good balance, and decisive running to be a dangerous runner for a zone-blocking system. That kind of system would be his best fit in the NFL.

As a receiver, Penny is a great fit for the current offensive systems in the NFL. He runs good routes, has soft hands, and is able to find soft spots in the defense for his quarterback. Penny is dangerous in the open field, as defensive backs struggle to stop him coming downhill. Penny needs to improve his blocking, but he has potential there. Once he does, he could be a strong three-down back with the ability to hurt defenses as a runner or a receiver, or in protecting his quarterback.

Round 3 (No. 69) — Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama

It is apparent that the Giants will select a cornerback at some point in the upcoming draft. Here, I felt like value met need.

Other players considered: Kemoko Turay, DaShawn Hand, Darius Leonard, Orlando Brown, Frank Ragnow, Dante Pettis

Round 3 (No. 75) — Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

I just can’t help but believe that if Brown is on the board late in the third round or in the fourth round and the Giants have a chance to draft him, Gettleman wouldn’t hesitate. Terrible Combine or not, he is a 6-foot-8, 345-pound human being who fits the hog molly description. Gettleman always says “big guys allow you to compete.” This is, obviously, a big guy who was a very successful blocker in college. He would offer competition, and perhaps a future replacement, for Ereck Flowers at right right tackle.

Round 4 (No. 108) — Shaquem Griffin, LB, Central Florida

Why? Because I could. Because, disability or not, I believe Griffin can be a useful player. Also, these are the kinds of people you should want on your football team.

Other players considered: LB Fred Warner, P Michael Dickson, FB Jaylen Samuels, RB Nyheim Hines, WR Allen Lazard

Round 5 (No. 139) — DB Dane Cruikshank, Arizona

I’m not sure this guy is a cornerback or a safety, and the scouting reports don’t appears to be sure, either. He has some serious athletic ability, though. He could probably help on special teams and, given time, perhaps James Bettcher can find a way to use him in some of his hybrid schemes.

NFL.com says:

Height, weight, speed prospect who has a chance to be drafted off his measurables and Combine testing alone. Cruikshank does have talent and is a hungry hitter, but he may lack the consistency in coverage to hold up as a full-time safety or cornerback. His ability to run and hit could make him a Day 3 target for a team looking to turn him into a backup defensive back and special teams ace.

Other players considered: H-Back Jaylen Samuels

NOTE: I used the recently updated Draft Countdown big board for this mock.