Mock drafts are still overwhelmingly giving Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins to the New York Giants at No. 6, with Haskins being the choice in 80 percent of the most recent mocks listed in the SB Nation database. The winds, though, are blowing in another direction — toward the guys who terrorize the quarterbacks.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini said Friday that the Giants are not interested in Haskins with the No. 6 overall pick.
“About a week after the Combine, I circled back with some people like, ‘What are you thinking Haskins? Do you guys like him? Do you think you are going for it with your No. 6 pick?” Russini said. “It was, ‘No, actually. We are not doing a lot of work on him.’
“I spoke to a few people. I’ll paraphrase one: ‘He doesn’t fit with us.’ The idea that they are not going go after a quarterback with the No. 6 pick solidifies they are not giving up on Eli (Manning).”
Russini said she was “pretty confident” the Giants will take a defensive player at No. 6.
Pat Leonard of the Daily News wrote that “no matter how experts rank these QBs, there is near-universal agreement that the best player available at the Giants’ first pick will not be a quarterback.”
With that in mind, Leonard wrote that the Giants selecting a quarterback at No. 6 “doesn’t add up.”
A veteran scout told me the other day that I “better start boning up on d-lineman at No. 6.” Another told me it’s “still early, but pass rusher looks like the pick.”
Since becoming Giants GM, Dave Gettleman has often said that you have to trust your evaluations and take the best player.
“You cannot reach,” Gettleman said at the Combine. “I will say it until the cows come home, you can’t reach.”
Gettleman proved he practices what he preaches when he took Saquon Barkley at No. 2 a year ago, despite the overwhelming belief that in the scouting community that a) he should have taken a quarterback in a class rich at that position and b) the positional value of a running back made taking one at No. 2 ill-advised.
The strength of this year’s class is on the defensive line.
“We all know that,” Cleveland Browns GM John Dorsey said at the Combine.
Gettleman is certainly among those who is aware. Here is what Gettleman said when asked about the draft’s pass rushers at the Combine:
“This is a really strong draft for hogs on both sides of the ball. It’s obviously a very important need. You guys sat and watched us and saw our inability to close out games. We had three games the second half of the year we make stops we finish the season 7-1. A stop.”
That need didn’t change just because the Giants signed edge defender Markus Golden. He is on a one-ear contract and had just 2.5 sacks a season ago. Golden is fired up to play for defensive coordinator James Bettcher and believes he is “on my way to getting back to where I was” when he had 12.5 sacks for Bettcher’s Arizona defense in 2017.
Still, the Giants need more.
If they want pass rush at No. 6, it will certainly be there. If both Haskins and Kyler Murray come off the board before the Giants pick, some combination of Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen, Devin White, Rashan Gary, Ed Oliver and Montez Sweat will be available. Even if only one QB is taken, some players from that group will be there.
A second group of pass rusher, perhaps slightly less likely to go top 6 but still considered quality prospects, includes Brian Burns, Jeffrey Simmons and Clelin Ferrell.
Quarterback at 17?
As I wrote on Friday I do not believe Giants decision-makers are unanimous in their support of any single quarterback in this draft class.
That will make things interesting if Haskins somehow falls to 17 (unlikely), or if Missouri’s Drew Lock is there, which seems more plausible. Maybe even if Duke’s Daniel Jones is on the board.
There is also, of course, the Josh Rosen factor to consider. Also the possibility that the guy the Giants really want is in the 2020 draft class.
Other possibilities at 17?
Doubling up on pass rush seems unlikely, but this is Gettleman and the unthinkable always seems thinkable. Offensive tackle, especially if they are unable to secure Mike Remmers or another veteran right tackle. Wide receiver could be in play. Defensive back seems less likely, but again this is the unpredictable Gettleman with the card in his hand.
Anyway, that’s the direction this draft seems to be heading. Of course, with six weeks to go anything can happen.