With quarterback Eli Manning turning 37 just after the close of the 2017 NFL season and a plethora of young quarterbacks available in the 2018 NFL Draft, many expected the New York Giants to be thinking about the future with their future with the second overall pick. The Giants have been second-guessed ever since for going in a different direction, but dispute the immediate results, this may have been the best move for the franchise in the long term.
Many outside of the organization were adamant that the Giants needed to draft Manning’s replacement at the top of the NFL Draft. USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, and Wyoming’s Josh Allen were all considered by at least some to be worthy of a top-five pick, but the Giants instead selected Penn State running back Saquan Barkley. After week 4, the Giants sit at the bottom of the NFC East with a 1-3 record and a franchise quarterback quickly approaching his 38th birthday causing the voices questioning the Barkley pick to get louder.
There is something to say for the Giants strategy. Saquon Barkley is a special player. He may not be setting the world on fire in the NFL just yet, but his ability as a rusher and a receiver gives him the potential to be the league’s top back. They drafted what they believed to be a generational talent and will look to get their next signal caller later, or maybe they already have.
The Giants did eventually draft a quarterback 106 pick later in Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta. Lauletta is not a huge name, nor is Richmond, but he did get a lot of buzz as the potential next Jimmy Garoppolo (who also went to a Football Championship Subdivision school). Perhaps they believe that Lauletta can develop into a franchise quarterback.
Sitting at 1-3 the Giants look like they could be picking at the top of the draft once again next year. With so many quarterbacks coming out last season, most NFL teams believe they have their short or long-term answer at the position. It may not be quite as competitive to get the quarterback they want in 2019. They may have their eyes set on Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Missouri’s Drew Lock, or West Virginia’s Will Grier.
In any case, the Giants took a risk. They saw a running back who they believed could have a bigger impact on their team than the quarterbacks available and they took him. This risk will only pay off if Barkley is the world-beater that many think he can be and the Giants find their quarterback for the next decade very soon.