The 2018 NFL Draft is finally here! In just a short while the arguments about what the New York Giants should do can stop, and the arguments about what they did can begin. As the minutes tick away toward the Giants being on the clock, let’s take a look at what we know. Or, at least think we know.
The Saquon Barkley love appears to be real
Nothing has changed throughout the day on Thursday when it comes to this. Per the latest information I have, at this point it seems like it will be an upset if the Giants DON’T pick Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. GM Dave Gettleman has continually gushed over Barkley’s ability, having said last week that “he’s one of those guys that my mother could have scouted.”
Nothing is done until it’s done, of course, but unless the Giants have a last-minute change of heart best guess is that Barkley will be their pick.
But, I want them to take a quarterback
For weeks now, we have been saying that Sam Darnold of USC is the only quarterback the Giants truly appear interested in at No. 2. That still appears to be the case, and with the Cleveland Browns apparently vacillating between Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen with the first pick it looks like Darnold will be on the board when the Giants are on the clock.
As of Wednesday, though, the Giants seemed likely to bypass selecting an heir apparent to Eli Manning. Instead, they seem serious about going against the NFL grain, taking a running back second overall, and trying to build as much support around Manning as they can.
This would be an obvious indication they are all-in on Manning for the short term. Would it also an indication they are all-in on Davis Webb as Manning’s heir apparent? Perhaps not. They could just be kicking the can down the road when it comes to making a long-term quarterback decision. There are some whispers from Giants-land, though, that Pat Shurmur has liked Webb’s work. Shurmur did compliment Webb on Thursday:
“I’ll lead off by saying anyone that has the Davis Webb question, think of another one. I think he did a much better job the second and third day. He showed up today and he is following Eli’s lead. I thought he was executing well.”
Keep the name Kyle Lauletta in mind on Day 2. I’ve been told the Richmond signal-caller is a guy the Giants really like. Maybe not enough to select at No. 34, but perhaps a bit later if he is still available to them.
But, I want them to take Bradley Chubb
You could still get your wish. After hearing nothing but Barkley, Barkley, Barkley all day I had someone I trust tell me pretty emphatically on Wednesday night that he believed the North Carolina State defensive end would be the choice.
To be honest, Chubb seems a more Gettleman-esque pick than Barkley. Amidst all the Barkley chatter, that thought keeps rattling around in my head.
What about a trade down?
Moving down from No. 2 remains a possibility, but is perhaps not as likely as we may have thought a few weeks ago. Gettleman has talked about getting a “gold jacket” type player at No. 2, and giving up a chance to get a player he thinks could become a Hall of Famer is going to be difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.
The Giants, though, could still be open for business. They currently sit with the second pick in Round 2, and could be willing to do something at that spot. Whether that’s up for what would likely be an offensive tackle or down for additional Day 2 picks remains to be seen. Don’t, though, be surprised if the Giants make some type of move from that spot.
What about the hog mollies?
Gettleman reminded us during his pre-draft press conference last week about his fetish for big players.
“You know my philosophy – big men allow you to compete and you have to build your lines. I’m going to build this team from the inside out. You look at the teams that go deep in the playoffs, you turn around and you take a look at how (Eagles General Manager) Howie (Roseman) has built Philly – both fronts, let’s go,” Gettleman said. “Because again, those three truths don’t change, you’ve got to run the ball, you’ve got to defend the run and rush the passer. So, everyone else wants to talk about skill guys and I want to talk about hog mollies.”
If you want, you could use that statement to hold out hope that the Giants will select Chubb at No. 2. I think you can take to the bank that the Giants will be using the second and third days of the draft to add some offensive line help.
They have had Jon Halapio at right guard and Chad Wheeler at right tackle during mini-camp. John Greco has been functioning as the backup center. That tells you they need help there, and it will be stunning if Gettleman doesn’t provide it.
Gettleman knows how important this is
This is a franchise-defining offseason, and draft, for the Giants. They have missed the playoffs five of six years. They have a 37-year-old QB. They have a new coach and GM. They are picking at No. 2 for the first time since 1981, when they chose Lawrence Taylor. They haven’t picked inside the top five since 2004, when they pulled off the deal for Eli Manning that helped them win two Super Bowl titles.
Gettleman understands the gravity of the decision the Giants will announce later this evening.
“Well, when you’re picking this high, if you make a mistake, you’re done. We talk that when you miss on a quarterback, you really hurt the franchise for probably five years. It’s a five-year mistake,” The GM said last week during his pre-draft press conference. “Yeah, it’s a big decision, but as long as you’ve done your homework and turned all the rocks over, you will come to the right answer. You ask the right questions and you will get the right answers.”
What answer will it be? We find that out in a few hours. Will it turn out to be the right one? The second the pick is announced everyone will have an opinion about that. We won’t, however, really know the answer to that for several years.