A few minutes before 8 p.m., just 40 minutes or so from when Saquon Barkley was expected to become a member of the New York Giants, there were reports that the New York Giants were close to swapping the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to the Denver Broncos, moving down to No. 5 in the process.
It made a ton of sense. The Giants could move down, get some extra picks, then select either defensive end Bradley Chubb or guard Quenton Nelson to bolster one of their lines.
It didn’t happen. With the Giants on the clock, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped to the microphone and announced that the Giants had selected Barkley.
As with passing on quarterbacks, it was all about the fact that GM Dave Gettleman loved the “touched by the hand of God” running back — Barkley.
“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. “We all had such a conviction on this kid that at the end of the day ... the only reason that pick wasn’t in at 9:58 was because we had to wait until the five-minute mark. Otherwise it would have been in.”
He also had a Gettleman-esque way of saying he didn’t like what teams were offering in exchange for the No. 2 pick.
“People call you and they want the second pick in the draft for a bag of doughnuts, a hot pretzel and a hot dog,” Gettleman said. “It’s like, ‘Get away. Leave me alone. I ain’t got time to screw around.’ ”
Instead, the Giants took the player they believe was the best one available in this draft.
“You can overthink it, it’s a running back this and that, you can make yourself crazy about it and you can overthink things. You have to go with your instincts and understand what it takes to put together a winning football team,” Gettleman said. “If you think about it, this kid makes our quarterback better, he makes our receivers better, he makes our O-line better. He makes our defense better because he has the much stronger ability to hold the ball. He is a great kid and he will be great for our culture.”