It is all about the Giants this week.
What Big Blue plans to do with the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft will be one of the most anticipated moments of the weekend because it will allow all the dominoes to fall into place for everyone else once they decide whether or not they will draft a quarterback.
The Giants also have other needs outside finding a potential heir to Eli Manning and have been linked to several top-10 projected draft picks, so here are some key things to know about the Giants as we head into the draft:
The picks: 2, 34, 66, 69 (from Tampa Bay), 108 (from Tampa Bay), 139. The Giants are among five teams with just six picks — the fewest in the draft — but they hold five picks in the first four rounds and four of those are within the first 70 picks, which should help them land some talent and depth.
Obviously, the Giants have Manning but this is a need for the long-term future of the franchise. With the second overall pick, this is the most opportune time the Giants will have to secure a young, franchise quarterback to succeed Manning.
The Giants are likely going to take a running back, whether or not it is Saquon Barkley or somebody else. The team interviewed several backs during the Scouting Combine and are still looking for an explosive back to join Jonathan Stewart, Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins in the backfield.
The Giants added Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh but that does not mean GM Dave Gettleman is done acquiring his “hog mollies.” He reiterated on Thursday he is going to build this team from the inside out. Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson remains in play in a possible trade down scenario, while UTEP guard Will Hernandez or Oregon tackle Tyrell Crosby could be options early in the second round if they are still available.
By trading Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants’ only true pass-rusher is Olivier Vernon. Should the Giants trade down they could take NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb in the first round. UTSA’s Marcus Davenport is another name to watch if they trade below the 10th pick.
Behind Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple, there is a large drop off in the Giants secondary now that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Ross Cockrell are gone. Jenkins and Apple also had trouble staying on the field last season too, so this is definitely an area to expect them to address depth concerns.
Potential first-round picks:
Sam Darnold: The USC quarterback was the first of the group the Giants met and took out to dinner and, according to SI’s Albert Breer, is well-liked by Gettleman.
“It seemed like they’re very intrigued when we were having dinner and all that, but to be honest, I don’t know (their plan),” Darnold said about the Giants after his Pro Day.
The criticism against Darnold are his high turnovers and some questionable decision-making, but the general consensus is the Giants like Darnold but he may not be there to take with the No. 2 pick.
Josh Rosen: The UCLA quarterback may be the most NFL-ready QB of the entire class, but he has been knocked for his wealthy upbringing and interests outside football, which have led to labels such as lacking desire to play.
Gettleman did not seem to buy into that narrative, though, and said his interactions with Rosen led him to believe he is “bright, insightful and he wants to play football,” while Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said he was “brought up very well” and called him a “charismatic young man” at the owners meetings last month.
Josh Allen: The Wyoming quarterback has a big arm and showed it off for a large Giants contingent at his Pro Day last month but faces questions about his low completion percentage in a small conference. The Giants reportedly like Allen’s makeup while they believe he could be a great fit with head coach Pat Shurmur.
“I’d want to play for him because he just had this kind of silent vibe to him,” Allen told the Daily News at the Combine. “He was kind of reserved, and at the same time I can feel his presence and understand how much he loves football, how much he knows football.”
Baker Mayfield: The Heisman Trophy winner met with the Giants but is considered a long-shot to be playing for Big Blue.
Saquon Barkley: There are no secrets when it comes to Gettleman’s feelings about Barkley, whom he continued to marvel over during Thursday’s press conference.
“He’s a tremendous talent,” Gettleman said. “You put the film on of a defensive guy and if they’re playing Penn State, then I’m watching Saquon.”
Quenton Nelson: The Notre Dame guard likely will not be in play unless the Giants trade down to the fifth or sixth pick, although Gettleman said it is never too early to take a great player when asked about taking a lineman at No. 2.
Shurmur said at the NFL owners meetings that Nelson is “wired the right way. We like him a great deal.”
Bradley Chubb: The NC State defensive end is another player the Giants probably will not take unless they trade down, but he apparently left the Giants “extremely impressed” during his visit to the team, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
What to expect: Nobody really knows what will happen but it is hard not to think that Saquon Barkley’s name will be called after listening to Gettleman talk last week, especially if the Browns take Darnold first overall. The Giants GM has gone out of his way to warn about how you cannot make a mistake with the No. 2 pick and that taking the wrong quarterback could set a franchise back five years.
The Giants will likely continue to focus on rebuilding the offensive line in the second or third round while addressing their defensive depth needs in the later rounds of the draft.
Send a Letter to the Editor