As of last weekend it was questionable whether the Cleveland Browns would take a running back with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. One week later, the narrative has shifted. With a series of trades including one for the Buffalo Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor, it is likely that the Browns will select Saquon Barkley with the first pick.
It was projected by experts such as Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay that the Browns were going to select a quarterback first overall. Now that the Browns have traded DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers the next void to fill is at the running back position. With this in mind the New York Giants will have to give stronger consideration to drafting someone other than Barkley.
The positions that the Giants have a need for are at quarterback and running back. An aging Eli Manning puts the organization in a bind. They must decide between playing Manning until his decline is evident or bringing in another passer. This is not an easy decision to make for the team. Their decision has become more dependent on the Browns’ selection. A week ago, it was easier to predict who Cleveland will pick. The Giants must be prepared to bring in another thrower by force of hand.
The talent at the position eases the troubles of making the right pick. The team can choose between Josh Allen from Wyoming, Josh Rosen from UCLA, or Sam Darnold from USC. The question is what will New York do if Saquon Barkley is still available? There are many factors that will influence the selection beyond available talent. The NFL free agency period will begin March 14. Once free agency begins teams will have time to fill voids before making their pick in the draft. The needs of teams can change drastically from March 14 to April 26 which is the onset of the NFL Draft.
There is not a clear number one prospect this year. Mock drafts tend to cycle Allen, Rosen, and Darnold as the top pick. The actual selection could be based on personality fit to an organization. I would expect off-field characteristics of these players to have more influence of their draft stock than those of previous years. The benefits and drawbacks of the three makes the decision more of a “pick your poison” situation.
Josh Allen is the most inaccurate of the three. Allen has a completion percentage of 56.2% and a passer rating of 137.7. Sam Darnold had the shortest career with two seasons behind center. He is the most accurate with a completion rate of 64.9% on 846 attempts. He also threw for 57 touchdowns which is two less than what Rosen recorded in three seasons. Josh Rosen has the longer resume from playing three seasons at UCLA, two of which featured bowl games. He would throw for 9,340 yards during his collegiate career. He recorded 59 touchdowns as well as 26 interceptions.
The impressive resumes of the players make the selection difficult to predict by fans. Darnold appears to be the most polished player, accomplishing more in less time. His accuracy and ability to score will be viewed favorably by organizations. If his game can translate directly into the NFL he will be the best pick for the Giants. He will be a more accurate quarterback than Manning, that can make drives down field. Allen appears to have the best arm strength with the ability to throw the deep ball. Rosen has the experience to lead a team and consistency.
The New York Giants will have much to consider in the next month. They will need to monitor the NFL closely for all transactions. The acquisition of particular free agents can shift their decision on draft day.
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