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Why didn’t the Giants select a quarterback at No. 2?

Because Dave Gettleman didn’t fall in love with any of them, that’s why

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback.

For months leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, many were obsessed with the idea that the New York Giants had to select a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Didn’t they? Eli Manning is 37 and, to be polite, didn’t play well in 2017. Davis Webb? An unknown third-round pick drafted by a GM who wasn’t employed by the Giants anymore.

Our own Chris Pflum did exhaustive studies of the quarterbacks all expected to be first-round picks, and possibilities for the Giants. Dan Pizzuta did several in-depth quarterback studies. On the ‘Locked on Giants’ podcast, Patricia Traina and I talked to several quarterback experts.

Yet, in the end the Giants took Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick. With USC’s Sam Darnold, thought to be the quarterback ranked highest on their draft board, still available after the Cleveland Browns took Baker Mayfield at No. 1.

What gives?

GM Dave Gettleman gave a pretty simple explanation after making the Barkley pick.

“If you have to try to make yourself fall in love with a player, it is wrong. You will never be happy with the pick” he said. “At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have to talk yourself into a guy. If you talk yourself into a guy, you are making a mistake.”

Gettleman did love Barkley. He said that Barkley was only the second player to ever get a perfect 9.0 score on his scouting report — the other having been Peyton Manning.

“Once Browns took Baker, I told our guys ‘Don’t even waste your time. We’re taking Saquon and we’re going to run,’ “ Gettleman said.

“He’s been touched by the hand of God.”

The Giants’ long-term plan with Eli Manning?

“What’s the long-term plan with the quarterback? He’s going to play. What do you want me to tell you? He’s our quarterback, we believe in him, he threw the hell out of the ball for three days, he has not lost one bit of arm strength and I’m coming back five years later, watching a quarterback in his prime, and now he’s 37,” Gettleman said. “You have to stop worrying about age. Oh, by the way, Julius Peppers played last year at 38, Mike Davis played at 37. There are some guys that are just freaks. Brady is 41. I mean c’mon. He is our quarterback.”

Will the Giants regret passing on Darnold? The New York Jets took Darnold at No. 3, so that comparison is always going to be there. Gettleman wasn’t hearing any of that talk Thursday night.

“Slow down. We passed on about 230,000 players. You guys have got to understand me, I don’t care. All I care about is the New York Football Giants and every decision we make will be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants,” he said. “I don’t care about that stuff. It doesn’t bother me. I know you’re looking at me like I’m crazy. I don’t care. Every decision that we are going to make is going to be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. It is going to be in the best interest of this iconic franchise.”