The day has finally arrived.
Clocks start ticking on the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday night at AT&T Stadium in Dallas where the host Cowboys’ divisional rivals, the New York Giants, are poised to get a whole lot better.
New York holds the No. 2 pick of the draft and plenty of holes to fill on their roster, which has made their course of action somewhat of a mystery.
The overwhelming favorite for the pick is Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who has developed into the best-overall talent in this year’s draft class.
This is a running back that can wreak havoc on a defense in any way possible. Over his last two seasons in Happy Valley, Barkley rushed for over 2,700 yards and added another 1,100 receiving yards while amassing a total of 43 touchdowns.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is very high on Barkley and it looks as though the feeling is mutual. Last week, Barkley was seen at a Pennsylvania barbershop wearing a Giants hoodie.
Barkley would provide a significant upgrade for a franchise in desperate need of help in the backfield. The Giants have finished in the bottom half of the league’s rushing rankings in each of the last five years, including a No. 26 finish last year.
It doesn’t look like the Cleveland Browns, who pick No. 1, will get in New York’s way. After the signing of Carlos Hyde last month, their link with Barkley weakened to the point where the Browns are expected to take a quarterback. Whether it’s Josh Allen out of Wyoming or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield is a completely different issue.
But the Giants could also use the No. 2 pick to take a quarterback as the heir apparent to Eli Manning, who will turn 38 during the 2018 season.
Gettleman has remained adamant that Manning will be the team’s man under center, but his contract expires in two years and will leave the Giants with Davis Webb and Geno Smith (if he makes it that far). This pick presents the Giants with a chance to draft a possible franchise quarterback without having to give anything up, something that might not happen again anytime soon. The last time the Giants picked second overall was in 1981 when they picked a linebacker out of North Carolina named Lawrence Taylor.
If they do go that route, USC’s Sam Darnold would be the pick as the Giants have kept tabs on him over the past month.
In terms of a dark horse of a pick, the Giants could shock everyone and go with NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, a dominant pass rusher that would be a more-than-welcome addition to James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense. With the team having traded away Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while moving Olivier Vernon to linebacker, there is a need at the spot.