The Giants will enter the NFL Draft with two glaring needs they have to fill soon and two first-round picks with which to do it. They need a Quarterback of the Future, unless they really do think Eli Manning will play forever. And they need a pass rusher for a team that basically has none.
There is absolutely no reason they can't get both if GM Dave Gettleman plays his draft cards right, and there are multiple ways he can do it. But the best and smartest way to do it would be to take the franchise quarterback first and the pass rusher later.
So he should take Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins with the sixth overall pick, and a top defensive player -- like Clemson's Clelin Ferrell -- at 17.
That is largely not expected to be the way Gettleman will go. For months the belief has been that he's going to take the best available defensive player at No. 6. And if the right defensive player -- say, Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen or Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams -- falls to them at 6, it's going to be hard to argue with that logic.
But the Giants' quarterback problem isn't going to go away. As everyone knows, Manning is 38 and entering the last year of his contract, and the Giants have been punting on picking his eventual successor for several years now. Sure, they could do it again, but that means they'll have to extend Manning's contract. Plus there's no guarantee they'll be in position to get a quarterback in the 2020 draft.
They need to address this now. And sure, if they can get quarterback Josh Rosen from Arizona and not give up either of their first-round picks, that is the best of all available options. But there's no guarantee Rosen will be available or that the Giants have enough to get him. With a position this important, they can't sit around and wait and hope.
And that's why they can't wait until their second first-round pick, either. There is just nothing more important in sports than a franchise quarterback. It's everything. And the wrong choice at that position could set a franchise back three-to-five years. So if the Giants see a guy they think can be their future "face of the franchise" -- and they're sure about it -- do they really want to pick a defensive player at No. 6 and then sit around and sweat out another 11 picks?
That makes no sense. Why risk that their guy will be gone? Why risk that they won't find a willing trade partner to move up? Unless they are in love with multiple quarterbacks -- which seems unlikely -- the gap between their favorite and the next one on their board could be big. But the drop from say their top pass rusher to their fifth or sixth favorite? That's probably not nearly as significant at all.
Besides, if they miss out on their top choices of pass rusher, they could still end up with one of their top interior linemen, or offensive linemen, or cornerbacks or linebackers. And yes, they need young playmakers at every one of those spots. Also, they are not interested in drafting a later-round quarterback and hoping they get lucky. And there is a much better chance that they can find and develop a Pro Bowl pass rusher from later rounds. Just ask Michael Strahan (second rounder), Osi Umenyiora (second) and Justin Tuck (third).
Now, which quarterback the Giants like -- and whether they love anyone -- depends on who you ask. They have spent a lot of time studying all the top five quarterbacks, and have been linked at different times to Haskins, Missouri's Drew Lock and Duke's Daniel Jones.
Haskins, though, should check a lot of boxes for them. He's got terrific size (6-3, 231), a strong and accurate arm, and is considered the best pocket passer in the draft -- which seems to play into the type of the old-school, smashmouth team Gettleman is building. The opinion on him inside the Giants organization has not appeared to be unanimous, though. Some have questions about his footwork and technique.
He does seem, though, to be a good kid with good character, who comes highly recommended from Ryan Day, the current head coach at Ohio State who spent the previous two years as offensive coordinator. He's also close with Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, dating to when they coached together with the Eagles in 2015. And Haskins is a self-described Giants fan who says he'll welcome the opportunity to sit behind Manning and learn for a year.
That seems ideal, and less risky than hoping Jones or Lock is still there at 17. Because Ferrell, a 6-4, 264 pounder who had 11 ½ sacks last season and 27 in his three years as a starter at Clemson, probably will be there at 17. And if he's not, there's a chance that Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns or Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat will be there instead.
There is a much better chance of an elite defensive prospect being there at 17 than the Giants' top quarterback choice being there. Unless the Giants move up from 17, they might be stuck with their third or fourth choice at quarterback -- which is rarely ideal when looking for the future "face of the franchise."
That's why they should jump on the quarterback early, addressing the most important position first and the deeper one later. And on Thursday, a Haskins-Ferrell double would be ideal.