The New York Giants sound like a team preparing to chart the course to bring the franchise into the next quarterbacking era.
The assumption going back more than a year has been that the Giants would draft a quarterback with their first-round draft pick. The Giants punted the decision last year, only to find themselves in the same position a year later. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins has been, by far, the most common pick for the Giants in mock drafts, but has the door opened to selecting Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine?
NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein ranked the Giants as tied for the second most likely team to draft Murray. Zierlein gave the Arizona Cardinals the highest overall probability at 33 percent. The Giants came in tied with the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, and Cincinnati Bengals with a 15 percent chance of drafting the QB from Oklahoma.
I understand that conventional wisdom says Murray doesn’t fit what GM Dave Gettleman will be looking for in a quarterback, but the same thing could have been said about Browns GM John Dorsey and the quarterback he ended up drafting last year. Dorsey is notorious for coveting height, weight and speed, but he learned after meeting Baker Mayfield that the 2017 Heisman winner had The It Factor, and that was good enough for him. The Giants brass may think the same thing about Murray after meeting with him. And what’s wrong with a world that has Saquon Barkley and Kyler Murray in the same backfield?
Raptor’s Thoughts: The exact percentages are, honestly, kinda meaningless. The bigger story is that between Murray coming in bigger than expected on every front and the statements from Pat Shurmur, the undersized QB might actually be in legitimate consideration for the Giants. Murray measured at roughly the same size as Russell Wilson, which as Wilson, Drew Brees, Michael Vick, and Baker Mayfield have proven, is big enough to win in the NFL. It’s still undersized, but is not a significant barrier to success for an offense.
Dave Gettleman threw a wrench in the works by stating early on in his press conference that football is a “big man’s game”, but added that if a player isn’t big, he has to have some “instincts” to compensate. Well, as Mark Schofield points out, Murray’s athletic instincts are through the roof.
But as Zierlein says in ending, which is something our own Dan Pizzuta has pointed out (as well as former linebacker Bart Scott), Murray’s effect on the Giants’ offense could be profound. The idea of running an RPO (run-pass option), with a read-option for the quarterback , Saquon Barkley in the backfield, Odell Beckham Jr. running the slant, and with Evan Engram running the seam, is an exciting one. The Giants have a lot of work to do with their offensive line, but those types of plays would freeze defenses, slow down pass rushes, and create a variety of conflicts and mismatches to exploit.
The issue might be whether or not the Giants can provide the kind of environment (from a schematic perspective as well as personnel) in which Murray can thrive. The flexibility to create the right environment was why Pat Mahomes excelled in Kansas City. In New York it might come down to whether Pat Shurmur or Dave Gettleman is making the decision and whose philosophy prevails. Shurmur expressed an interest in, and preference for, a quarterback with Murray’s skill-set. And as an offensive mind, he is likely excited by the possibilities. However, if it is Gettleman charting the course, “Big Man Football” might win out over Murray’s game-breaking potential.