Is this the year the New York Giants finally draft a quarterback?
In 2004, the franchise traded away first-round draft pick Phillip Rivers to the Chargers for Eli Manning. The 2-time Super Bowl MVP has started under center ever since. The 38-year old is likely nearing the end of his career, forcing Pat Shurmur to start planning for the future.
The Giants have drafted 3 quarterbacks since 2013 (Ryan Nassib in 2013, Davis Webb in 2017 and Kyle Lauletta in 2018). All were mid-to-late-rounders.
With the sixth pick in this April’s NFL Draft, Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman will be looking at a handful of signal-callers this weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“You can’t say to yourself, ‘I’m going to get him next year,’” Gettleman said to Giants Wire. “You evaluate the QBs and you take the guy when the time is right. When you believe he is the guy and it’s the right spot. You can’t worry about the future.”
Here are the potential targets, including a pair of Heisman finalists from last fall.
Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback from Ohio State
Haskins is the best pocket passer in this year’s class, and he has the numbers to back it up. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder amassed 4,831 passing yards, 50 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions last year for Big Ten champion Ohio State.
He led the way in Ohio State’s 62-39 victory over rival Michigan, who entered as the No. 1 defense in college football. The Heisman finalist torched the defense with pinpoint accurate throws on short and medium crossing routes to finish with 396 yards and six scores.
While not exactly a running quarterback, he notched 4 touchdowns on the ground last year and provides escapability within the pocket. Think Ben Roethlisberger.
Kyler Murray, Quarterback from Oklahoma
Last year, the Cleveland Browns shocked many by drafting Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma. The 6-footer won the Heisman Trophy in 2017 after leading the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. However, some analysts expressed concern about his height, his offensive scheme in college and his occasional attitude issues.
Mayfield silenced doubters by leading the Browns, winless in 2017, to a 7-9 mark. He tossed for 3,725 yards in 14 games, as well as 27 touchdowns.
He paved the way for Murray, who has followed an eerily similar path. The 5-foot-11 Sooner won the Heisman in 2018 after leading Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff. The former first-round MLB Draft pick to the Oakland Athletics is now positioned for the first-round in the NFL.
He accounted for 5,362 total yards last season, also eclipsing 1,000 yards on the ground. Shurmur has experience working with mobile quarterbacks, as he tutored former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in 2002. He also collaborated with Chip Kelly during his stint in Philadelphia (2013-15).
“Quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes,” Shurmur said to Giants Wire. “I don’t know what’s too small. Russell Wilson is 5-foot-10.”
Daniel Jones, Quarterback from Duke
If the Shurmur and Gettleman want another Eli Manning, Jones might be their guy. His head coach in Durham was none other than David Cutcliffe, who coached Manning at Ole Miss. Cutcliffe also mentored Peyton Manning as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tennessee.
New York would be getting a polished prospect that could learn in the younger Manning’s final years.
As Sam Brief of Sports Illustrated writes: “Jones is a towering QB, at 6′ 5″ and 220 pounds, with a gift for touch passes. On short and medium throws, Jones lobs the ball into the receiver’s hands with ease and grace. He’s great with his accuracy, but he needs to add some firepower into his deep ball—Jones lacks the velocity a lot of this year’s QB prospects have.”
Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports has Jones going late in the first round to the Oakland Raiders. That means Jones has much to prove to rise on New York’s draft board.