If you thumb through the twelve teams to reach the NFL playoffs, at least ten of them were led by franchise quarterbacks. Only the Baltimore Ravens (Lamar Jackson) and the Dallas Cowboys (Dak Prescott) lack complete conviction that their men under center can thrive under the microscope. (And even Jerry Jones has implied he will invest big bucks in the inconsistent Prescott.)
Pick any playoff game - including Super Bowl LIII - and you'll find a reminder that you can't win without a sublime passer. That message should ripple up the banks of the Meadowlands. Maybe the Jets are set under center, but the Giants are in the same place they were one year ago, balancing the offense on the aging arm of Eli Manning with no successor in place.
Maybe this crop of college players isn't as fertile as last year's NFL Draft. But the Giants should be in prime position to snag the best QB on the board. That's not often the layout when you're holding the sixth pick, but at least three of the clubs ahead of the Giants (Cardinals, 49ers, and Jets) have zero interest in drafting a QB, while the other two (Buccaneers, Raiders) seem willing to give their young passers one more year.
Which means the G-Men have two choices, assuming no forlorn franchise trades up, They have to pick between Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma's Kyler Murray. There are other quarterbacks on deck, but these two seem to have the highest ceiling. The Giants will likely pass on Murray because of the 107 QBs drafted in the first round since the AFL-NFL merger, only Johnny Manziel was under six-feet-tall. Murray, who just won the Heisman Trophy, is just 5-foot-10. Plus there's the whole baseball thing, with Murray signing a contract to play for the Oakland A's, which includes a guaranteed $4.6 million signing bonus.
Which leaves the strapping Haskins, who has the size, skills, and arm strength to impress Giants GM Dave Gettleman. Haskins played for a top-five college program, for an all-time great coach (Urban Meyer), and thrived in the football fishbowl at Columbus, Ohio. In 2018, Haskins posted some eye-popping stats. In 14 games, he completed 70 percent of his passes, for 4,831yards, 50 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. And he's just 21 years old.
No doubt the NFL in Gotham is an upgrade in talent and intensity. Every player Haskins plays with next year will be better than the defenses he faced at Penn State or Purdue. Boomer Esiason is chief among former NFL quarterbacks who like Haskins' NFL bona fides. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Haskins can take the pounding any young passer can expect, especially with Big Blue's faulty offensive line.
Haskins doesn't have scouts drooling as they would over John Elway or Andrew Luck. But the Giants have to show their fans that they are mining every scouting report, every combine and every player to find their next franchise quarterback. Fans looked the other way last year because Saquon Barkley was so absurdly skilled. But if you look at this year's mock drafts you won't find any Barkley or Christian McCaffrey or Zeke Elliott. In fact, you won't see a single RB or WR on CBSSports.com's mock draft until pick No. 15.
This year is all about defense - including a cornerback named Greedy Williams - leaving a thin QB class to fall onto the Giants' lap. Big Blue devotees can live with a swing-and-miss if Haskins happens to fizzle-out in the NFL. They can at least say they tried. What fans can't forgive is the Giants not even stepping up to the plate.
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