The only thing the New York Giants might be winning in 2017 is a top-three selection in the 2018 NFL draft as they are 1-7 through the halfway point this season. It looks like they are already studying up on some top prospects should the horrendous slide continue.
According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com, Giants co-owner John Mara is looking for the team’s next franchise quarterback and, obviously, Eli Manning’s replacement. It was an order he gave his scouts “several weeks ago.”
The 36-year-old Manning has not been able to salvage an offense that has a multitude of problems this year.
An offensive line that was neglected during the offseason continues to allow unrelenting pressure into Manning’s pocket while the wide receiving corps has been destroyed due to injuries. Both Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall are out of the season due to injuries.
While Manning’s numbers aren’t noticeably bad on paper — his completion percentage is actually on pace to be his best ever at 63.2 percent — it is clear watching the film that he has slowed a step, which is natural for most players not named Tom Brady at that age. He has difficulties throwing the ball on the run, which is a disaster for a quarterback constantly under pressure and has mostly resorted to short, ineffective passes because of it.
While it’s unfair to label Manning as the reason for the team’s struggles, vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross has already scouted UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, who is the second-ranked quarterback prospect in the 2018 draft class by WalterFootball.com.
Rosen has passed for 2,713 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight games this season while completing 63.1-percent of his passes. However, the football world will be closely monitoring his health after suffering a concussion against Washington that forced him out of last week’s game against Utah. He is expected to play this weekend against Arizona State.
But depth at the quarterback position in this draft class will ensure Ross stays plenty busy over the next few months. USC’s Sam Darnold (No. 3 ranked QB) and Wyoming’s Josh Allen (No. 5 ranked QB) are a pair of arms that are expected to garner serious consideration for early first-round selections.
Heading into the season, Darnold was expected to be the prize of the Jets considering they were not supposed to win more than two or three games this season. But a 4-5 start has them slated for a middle-of-the-pack selection, resulting in the loss of a chance at drafting a franchise quarterback.
The USC product has played in two more games than Rosen, amassing 2,869 yards with 22 touchdowns and 11 picks as he tries to will his Trojans back into the playoff conversation:
Allen is the darkhorse here just because of the school he plays at. Wyoming has had just three quarterbacks selected in the NFL draft dating back to 1960 with none of them attaining any kind of success at the professional level. He hasn’t had a great start to his season with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions through his first nine games of the season, including tough outings against Hawaii and Oregon.
At 6-foot-5, 222 pounds, he has the physical attributes to be a successful quarterback, now he just has to put everything together. He’ll likely be a work in progress, which the Giants might not want to go for.