The buildup to the NFL Draft last forever. There are likely New York Giants fans who have been focused on it since the 2017 Giants fell to 0-3. Around and around the discussion goes, with many forming opinions, digging in their heels, and not wanting to consider any belief that doesn’t agree with their own.
So, sometimes it is beneficial to hear or read a different perspective. With that in mind, draft analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks of NFL Network held a conference call Wednesday to discuss the draft, which is two weeks away. The Giants were at the center of the conversation.
Below, some of the pertinent questions and answers.
On whether the Giants could have “buyer’s remorse” if they pass on selecting a quarterback at No. 2 ...
BROOKS: I guess it depends on how they view Eli Manning in the building. David Gettleman and Pat Shurmur believe, or they’ve said that they believe Eli has a couple of good years, so during those few remaining years that he has, if they play at a high level, they go to a Super Bowl, I think it’s well worth the trade off. I think the big thing comes to now that you’ve made the decision that Eli is going to be your guy, how can you support him and elevate him, much like the New Orleans Saints were able to continue to keep Drew Brees playing at a high level by surrounding him with talented players. We saw the running backs kind of take some of the load off, we saw Mike Thomas be able to do some things. In New York it is about trying to find the right weapons to allow Eli to play at a high level while his skills are beginning to diminish.
JEREMIAH: I don’t think you ever fully regret taking a great player from that standpoint. You worry about the guys you pick, so I don’t think there would be tremendous regret there, I just think when you look at the opportunity that exists right now, man, it’s tough -- you’ve got a 37 year old quarterback and you’ve got a pretty good group and you’re picking up there with a chance to get one, it’s tough to pass in my opinion.
On the idea of trading down from the No. 2 pick ...
BROOKS: If I’m the New York Giants, I don’t necessarily get cute at No. 2. I know it could be beneficial to get a boatload of picks and to do those things. I think it depends how far out of the top five do I have to go to take advantage of those picks. When you think about the players that could be at the top of the board, a Bradley Chubb, a Saquon Barkley even a Quenton Nelson, if you really love those guys, I think you stick and you pick those guys. You deal with the onslaught of criticism that may come with not taking a quarterback or not trading down and, quote unquote, manipulating the draft. I think the main thing if you’re the Giants, you have to get a guy, like they said, someone who would be the No. 2 pick in draft after draft after draft. I’m going to go with the Pro Bowl caliber player over trying to get cute and make some sexy move.
JEREMIAH: Yeah, I would just say, the only difference -- I know Bucky had referenced earlier the 2011 draft. I would say that year people were trying to create quarterbacks that didn’t exist, trying to create guys that should have been third and fourth round guys and they were taking them in the top 15, when you look at Ponder and Gabbert, those guys especially; Locker was in that group. I think there’s a difference between creating a quarterback and maybe elevating a quarterback. Like in this situation, I have Sam Donald as the fifth highest graded player in the draft, so you have to ask yourself, is it worth -- you take the No. 1 player in the draft is Saquon Barkley, it’s a running back versus a No. 5 player, which is a quarterback. To me the value of that position is worth, if you need one, taking the quarterback in that spot. I do think it’s different from 2011 in that regard. I think these guys are a much better crop of quarterbacks. The other question, you’re always looking at the depth of the class when you’re trying to make your decisions, so the lack of edge rusher, elite edge rushers to me, that is going to help a guy like Bradley Chubb because I think there’s a dropoff after him, and then after that you’ve really only got a couple more guys with first round grades in Davenport and Landry. So that definitely elevates those guys.
Can a non-QB like Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb or Quenton Nelson has as much impact on a franchise as a QB? ...
BROOKS: I think they can. I think it depends on if the pieces are right. If you just go and look at the last two drafts and you look at the running backs taken in the top five, Ezekiel Elliott was the rushing leader. You saw him help the Dallas Cowboys go immediately from being a team on the outside of the tournament to being a team that was a division winner and squarely in the mix as a contender. You look at Leonard Fournette and what his presence did for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense. Yeah, he alleviated some of the pressure on Blake Bortles to have to be a guy who was kind of driving the bus when it came to the offense. So, yeah, a position player outside of quarterback can certainly be impactful. I think it really depends on the way the team is constructed. So I’m not necessarily all on board that the quarterback is the only guy that can move the needle for a squad.
JEREMIAH: I agree with Buck. You can find guys in there, especially if you have a satisfactory option at quarterback that can come in have an immediate impact. I think from a long-term, game-plan situation, trying to be competitive year in, year out, having a great quarterback is going to be the best path to get that done -- and ultimately trying to win a championship which is everybody’s goal. You hit the jackpot when you can get a rookie quarterback, get that five-year rookie deal at those controllable numbers and build up the rest of your roster, not having to go out and pay a ton of money on the markets to try and find a bridge quarterback. It’s cheaper. Just get yourself a quarterback in the Draft and try and load up everywhere else. But once you get that position taken care of it sure makes a lot of things easier.