The Giants are sitting in the power position of the NFL draft, holding the fates of several teams and players in the palms of their hands. And everyone is watching, waiting and guessing, because no one is really sure what Dave Gettleman is going to do.
And that, by the way, is just how the Giants GM likes it.
"Like it?" he said on Thursday. "I love it. Are you kidding me?"
He might as well enjoy it, because it's part of the spoils of the miserable, 3-13 season the Giants just endured. Their intentions aren't clear because they have an amazing array of options. They get to choose between their possible Quarterback of the Future, the best overall player, or perhaps just the best defensive player in the draft. Or they can trade down and still get Gettleman's coveted "gold jacket" player at any number of positions while loading up on future No. 1 picks, or just a bunch of picks in later rounds.
That's a good problem to have … as long as the choice he makes is right.
So what is Gettleman going to do? Here's everything you need to know -- and everything I know at the moment, with the help of an array of team and league sources over the last few months -- about who that pick is going to be:
The Giants' "love" for Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is real
That doesn't mean he's a lock to be the pick, but there seems to be no doubt he'll be the No. 1 player on their board, and they think building around an offensive core of Barkley, tight end Evan Engram, and Odell Beckham, Jr. could make them an offensive juggernaut for years to come. Yes, taking him would indicate they believe Eli Manning really does have "years" remaining of high-level play, as new head coach Pat Shurmur has said, and that they're confident they can find another way to tab his successor. But Barkley is such an incredible talent and person in their eyes, it may overshadow any quarterback concerns.
USC QB Sam Darnold could be difficult to pass up
Here's the first wild card to watch. The Giants are well aware of the importance of a franchise quarterback, Manning's age (37), and how difficult finding his successor could be. No, a quarterback likely won't be in the Top 3 on their draft board, but this is the one position that can transcend that ranking. Passing on one now could be a ticket to "Quarterback Hell" two years from now. They don't seem as sure about this class as Ernie Accorsi was about Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, but many people think Darnold is the one guy that has sold Gettleman. If the Browns take Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen at 1, Darnold will be in play because there are some in the organization who think passing on a franchise quarterback would be nuts.
The other quarterbacks don't appear to be in play, though Josh Rosen is an interesting darkhorse
There's no real indication the Giants are interested in Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. Word around the league is some Giants coaches are high on Allen, but he seems too risky of a prospect for Gettleman. As for UCLA's Josh Rosen, some thought he was the Giants' favorite early in the process, and one source cautioned not to rule him out. He would seem to be behind Darnold, though, but I suppose it would be foolish to completely rule him out.
They love Bradley Chubb, too
Among the core tenets of Gettleman's team-building philosophy is the old Giants' standby line of "You can never have enough pass rushers". Chubb is by far the best in the draft and would be a future anchor of their defense and a heck of a tandem with Olivier Vernon over the next couple of years. He seems more of an option if they trade down, though. If they pass on a quarterback and are choosing between Barkley and Chubb, they appear to like Barkley more.
Guard Quenton Nelson is a real possibility if they trade down
They're not taking a guard at No. 2, but if they were to drop out of the Top 5, Nelson would most likely be their target.
The Giants don't seem to want to trade down unless they get an offer they can't refuse
Gettleman wasn't kidding when he said he expected to get a "gold jacket" player at No. 2, which is why he also said "you can't get too cute" at that spot. Passing on a potential Hall-of-Famer to accumulate a couple of extra second- or third-rounders would seem to be the definition of getting "too cute." So they probably won't. Asked about the possibility of a trade down, one team source said "Why would we do that and pass on either the best quarterback or best player on our board?" Good question. And if they do it, don't expect them to drop very far. Pick 6 or 7 would seem to be the floor. I'm doubtful they'd drop lower than 5.