It is always important to read the stories of what actually took place behind the scenes to fully understand the Draft. The picks are done, but why did the Giants select Barkley instead of a Quarterback?
There is a really good piece by Paul Schwartz of the NY Post which goes a long way to explaining the Giants moves.
..there was no true consensus among the Giants coaches, scouts and front office as to the pecking order. Some liked Sam Darnold best. Others liked Josh Allen best. Darnold, Allen. Allen, Darnold. Around and around it went, and then, a little Josh Rosen sprinkled in. What does that tell you?
Schwartz goes on to report that Shurmur liked Allen. And that Chubb would have been the pick if Barkley was not there.
We are still on record that we preferred QB or Trade Down. Given that we had strong grades on Barkley, Chubb and Smith, we would have traded with the Jets for a bevy of picks (they gave up three second rounders to the Colts to move from 1.06 to 1.03) and would have taken Smith.
Let’s note again that we love Saquon Barkley. He was #1 overall on our board. We are not upset with the player. For 1.02 overall, it is deemed overpayment for a running back. He will not only have to deliver on his star potential (which, after all, we do expect!) but HE HAS TO REMAIN HEALTHY. Running backs get hurt. It is not unreasonable for us to assign the “Bust” tag to David Wilson because that is the price for taking a RB in Round 1, even if it is at 1.32. The running back is the hare. The QB, or even Bradley Chubb/Roquan Smith, are the tortoises. The Giants need to win while Barkley is healthy. If he remains relatively healthy his whole career, he can lead the Giants. His character is fantastic, so we look forward to this new face of the franchise.
The idea of having a star player plus three more Round 2 picks would have been more attractive in rebuilding. One only has to think of this prediction by this NY Giants blog to understand the damage that Jerry Reese did to the franchise: we are on record that Will Hernandez will be a better Offensive Lineman than any OLman taken by Jerry Reese in 11 years of drafts. Just think about that lack of prioritization of the team. That is awful architecture. The fact that it can even be possible shows just how ruinous Reese’s tenure was. He got enough done with that very first excellent draft in 2007 plus the selection of JPP in 2010 in order for the team to win 2 titles. But make no mistake that he did very little for the Offensive Line, which was all Accorsi for XLII and the fumes of Accorsi in XLVI. We had Hernandez as the #11 overall player in the 2018 Draft. If we are correct, he will be a stud beast Guard in the NFL for the next 10 years, assuming health. This player, in our eyes, made the 2018 Draft a tremendous success.
The Giants felt like the selection of Barkley was similar to the buzz of having drafted Jeremy Shockey. I disagree. For starters, the Giants had the 15th pick that year and traded up one slot to take him at 14. He was the rookie of the year, All Pro that same year, a 4 time Pro Bowler and an instant man among boys. We had that feeling too, elated Shockey was still there at the time the Giants were ready to select. Need and Talent. The difference here is that you are selecting at 1.02 overall. Considering you had an equal grade for Chubb, it would not have been a disappointment to get that. It is hard to equate draft success when you are living at the top of the draft board. You are SUPPOSED to get a star. I had that “Shockey feeling” for a Giants draft pick in 2018, one I have not had since the Giants moved up to 2.33 for Landon Collins. It was 2.34 for Hernandez. Need and Talent. We will see how that works out.
In Schwartz’s post mortem, we got more insight into Shurmur’s QB evaluation methodology:
- Arm strength
This is somewhat different to our analyst’s reasoning on Mike White vs Kyle Lauletta. Wonder prefers someone with the NFL arm so that everything else can be developed. Shurmur is satisfied with Lauletta’s skills in 1-3 and believes his arm strength is sufficient. We have a great deal of respect for the success that Shurmur has had with developing/coaching QBs, so we certainly have decent expectations that either Lauletta and/or Webb can be groomed. IF Lauletta could somehow be the heir apparent and play at a strong starter level in years to come, this could go down as a special draft. That hyperbole in May of any year is a warning that it is more likely just that- hyperbole. For our purposes, let Hernandez be a 10 year Guard and have Barkley experience good healthy. The rest will be gravy.
Other notes: We heard that Flowers was being shopped for a draft pick. No takers. Unsurprising. The Giants were only willing to part with the Tackle for a mid rounder. Most Giants fans would have parted with a ham sandwich. The Giants do feel that Flowers is serviceable enough to not give him away. Right now, fans want the malcontent to just show up at OTAs, voluntary or otherwise. Word from Landon Collins is that Flowers was upset that Solder was brought in to take his job at LT. Brandon Jacobs said it best: “If you don’t want criticism, go to Cleveland.”