Last year at this time, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman was unambiguous in his praise for Saquon Barkley heading into the NFL draft. Despite the opinion of many fans and media members that the Giants should select a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the first round, Gettleman maintained that the Bronx-born Penn State running back was a Pro Football Hall of Fame talent that could be a transcendent player.
He ultimately made the right choice in drafting Barkley, who instantly became one of the most explosive players in football, set numerous Giants and league offensive rookie records and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. One year later, it is unclear what Gettleman will do tonight when the Giants are on the clock in Nashville, Tennessee where the draft is being held. What he should do is take another local product in Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins to be the successor to Eli Manning.
Haskins, who will turn 22 on May 3, was born and raised in Highland Park, New Jersey. His family moved to Maryland when Haskins was heading into high school in part to provide him a better opportunity to pursue his goal to play major college football. He grew into a prolific prep star at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland on his way to Ohio State.
Last season, taking over as the starting QB for J.T. Barrett, who graduated Ohio State as one of the program’s most accomplsihed players, Haskins, who was a redshirt sophomore, set the Ohio State and Big Ten Conference records for passing yards and touchdowns with 4,831 and 50 respectively, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
His substantial acumen in reading defenses, accuracy, strong arm and proficiency at making throws into small windows should translate well to the NFL. Haskins’ intangibles are also impressive as he is widely lauded by his former coaches both at Bullis and Ohio State for his intelligence, leadership and character, the same profile Barkley brought to the table.
Determining the future success of a quarterback is far more difficult than projecting the production and outcome of a running back. Historically, the ratio of quarterbacks drafted in the first round that become busts rather than longtime starters or even stars is high. Those that argue that Haskins, who is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, will be average at best contend he lacks effective athleticism, possesses sub-par ability to consistently make plays outside of the pocket and had minimal experience as a starter at Ohio State.
As rumors always arise leading into the draft, word has surfaced Gettleman and the Giants may have quarterbacks Daniel Jones of Duke and Missouri’s Drew Lock rated higher than Haskins, and look to use their No. 17 pick in the first round to take one of them if they are available at that slot or perhaps move up a few spots to choose either Jones or Lock while using the No. 6 pick to select a pass rusher.
The Giants have many areas of weakness to fill. Drafting a defensive lineman, offensive tackle or linebacker with the No. 6 pick is reasonable. But securing the 38-year-old Manning’s replacement is paramount. That man should be Haskins.