photo credit: USA Today

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

The New York Giants have a lot of options with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Their most glaring issue, however, is replacing the aging Eli Manning. Although I have been outspoken about the Giants trading back with their pick; in this article I look at the best choice for the Giants in the mindset that they do decide to take a quarterback early in this draft. Below I breakdown how well I believe the top 5 quarterback prospects, in order, would fit into the New York Giants organization.

  1. Sam Darnold, USC

All indications point to Cleveland taking Darnold with the top pick in the draft. If they don’t take him, however, he is a great fit in New York. Darnold is a young, mold-able talent who excelled in big game situations at USC. He’s 6’3” 221 pounds and is only 20 years old. He possesses the ability to scramble outside of the pocket to buy time while passing; something Giants fans haven’t seen since before 2004. This would be an ideal landing spot for Darnold’s development. With 1.5-2 years of developing and learning from Eli Manning, he could hone his mechanical issues and have a rise to stardom similar to Aaron Rodgers; who spent his early career behind Brett Favre. If the Giants do take a quarterback at 2nd overall, it should be Darnold, he has the skill and mentality to succeed in the huge market of New York.

  1. Josh Allen, Wyoming

Allen has all the upside you could ever want in an NFL quarterback. He easily has the best arm in the draft, and likely the best arm we’ve seen or will see in years. At 6’5” and 237 pounds he possesses a durable frame that he wasn’t afraid to use in college. Allen has true play-making ability outside of the pocket; complimented by his 4.75 40-yard dash at the combine. Perhaps the most impressive to me, however, is Allen’s mentality. He’s a scrappy player that understands he isn’t a perfect prospect; he’s recognized in interviews that his mechanics need work. He needs to be better at staying in the pocket and often tried to do too much in Wyoming; leading to interceptions. His biggest critique is his lack of accuracy in college (56% career completion rate) but that’s offset by the lack of talent surrounding him in Wyoming. Allen is another player that benefits from two more years of Eli in New York; with two years of development and mentorship behind Manning, Allen can carry the torch of Super Bowl success that Giants fans have become accustomed to in the Eli Era.

  1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

I’m thoroughly convinced that anyone who doesn’t like Lamar Jackson has never watched his film. He dominated ACC opponents and it’s simply ridiculous the amount of times he breaks tackles and creates yardage out of seemingly dead plays. Jackson is easily the most explosive quarterback in the draft; with the ability to make big plays with both his feet and his arm. Jackson is critiqued for being undersized (6’3”, 200 pounds) specifically his slim frame; leading to durability questions. Yet, Jackson played in 38 games in his 3 years at Louisville. Jackson also has some mechanical issues; including an unbalanced based and poor touch. Yet, Jackson can come in and contribute to an NFL roster immediately. Jackson would be a reach if the Giants keep the 2nd overall pick, however, if they trade back with the Bills, Dolphins, or Cardinals they could secure extra picks and get Jackson if he falls to them in the mid-first round.

  1. Josh Rosen, UCLA

Drafting Rosen concerns me. He’s demonstrated an ego-centric approach to the game and has never demonstrated the ability to win in big games. Yet, Rosen has the best NFL ready mechanics; with great footwork, route reading ability, and pocket presence. At 6’4” 226 pounds he fits the prototypical build for a pocket passing quarterback but has serious durability concerns; and with the current state of the Giants’ offense line, that’s concerning. I can’t see Rosen being “challenged” enough (reference to Coach Mora’s comments) to sit behind Eli for more than half a season without outwardly complaining in the locker room and through media outlets. If the Giants taken Rosen, it signals to me they are no longer serious about keeping Manning, which would be a disappointing approach for Gettleman to take.

  1. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

I’ve not held back on my concerns regarding Baker Mayfield on any team in the NFL. Mayfield is undersized, has a poor mentality that won’t translate to leadership in an NFL locker room, and won’t succeed if he doesn’t have weapons around him. At 6’1” 210 pounds Mayfield is shorter than any of the other top 5 quarterbacks and is the 4th smallest in weight. Mayfield’s misconduct has been well documented both off the field (being arrested after running from the police when they responded to a fight he was involved in) and on the field (inappropriately taunting the Kansas sideline and planting the OU flag on Ohio State’s field). To some that may show great passion for his college team (one well noted for fostering poor character players) but in the NFL that translate to arrogance and a lack of composure. Mayfield’s college stats look fantastic; however, they are offset by a scheme that both protected him well (one of the best offensive lines in college) and was heavy on screens and short passes. Unless Mayfield falls into the perfect situation, I don’t seem him sustaining as a starter in the NFL. Although the Giants actually offer a better situation than teams like the Jets and Browns; I would not want to invest the future of my franchise and big quarterback money on Mayfield.

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