INDIANAPOLIS - There will be a temptation for the Giants with the second pick in the draft to take a player who can help them immediately. There will be a running back, a defensive end, and maybe others who could be the future Hall of Famers that Dave Gettleman said he'd expect from a pick that high.
But this draft for the Giants is about more than that. It's about setting up the franchise for the next decade or more. They have a 37-year-old quarterback whose time is running out, and a rare opportunity find his heir apparent. If they believe there is a great quarterback in this draft, they absolutely have to take him if he's still available.
And it increasingly sounds like they absolutely will.
"If he's the right guy, if you think that guy can be a franchise quarterback like Eli has been -- and still is as far as I'm concerned -- then you do it," Gettleman said at the NFL scouting combine on Wednesday. "But let me tell you something: You make a mistake on a quarterback, especially this high in the first round, it sets you back five years. It kills you. You got to be right. You have to be right. He's got to be the right guy."
That is the only variable at play here. It's not about whether running back Saquon Barkley or defensive end Bradley Chubb are better players. It's about whether the Giants see a franchise quarterback in the draft. There is nothing more important to a franchise than a quarterback. With a good one, they're an instant competitor. Without a good one, they're stuck in an endless quarterback search.
And they don't need to look outside New York for an example. Until last season, Eli Manning had started every game for the Giants since midway through the 2004 season, leading them to two Super Bowl championships along the way. The Jets - who picked 12th in that draft, one spot after the Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger - have started 13 quarterbacks in that same span.
"We know that if you don't have a quarterback it is going to be a long season," Gettleman said. "We know that. We will come to the right conclusion."
That doesn't make it a lock that the Giants will take a quarterback. First, they have to be sold on at least one of the quarterbacks in this draft - like USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen, or Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. And if they're only sold on one, they have to hope the Cleveland Browns don't take him first.
There are other variables, too - most notably their opinion of Davis Webb, the young quarterback on their roster whom the last regime thought could be Manning's heir apparent. The Giants are trying to compare Webb to the quarterbacks in this draft as part of their decision-making process. But the organization didn't help by not getting Webb into a game last season. That leaves mostly college tape to analyze.
And a year ago, nobody analyzed him as a future franchise quarterback. Otherwise, he never would have lasted all the way to Round 3.
That makes this all about the Fab Four of Darnold, Rosen, Allen and Mayfield. Will one of them convince the Giants he has the right stuff?
"You want a guy that's a good decision maker in all facets of his life," said Giants coach Pat Shurmur. "You want a guy that understands timing, is an accurate passer. But you want to walk away from the guy and say 'This guy's got it.' You'd like it to be a slam-dunk decision. Unfortunately when you go through this process there's a lot of good players so you've got to pick your flavor."
"I tell you what, it is an interesting class," Gettleman added. "All shapes and sizes, all flavors. This is like Howard Johnson's back in the day. It is a real interesting group."
There are other interesting players too, and plenty of non-quarterbacks have been worthy of the No. 2 pick - a point Shurmur has hammered home several times.
"The last time the Giants had the second pick in the draft, they picked Lawrence Taylor," Shurmur said. "The last time they had the third pick in the draft, they picked Carl Banks and those were two franchise-changing players."
It is true they took Taylor No. 2 in 1981, and Banks No. 3 in 1984. But in 1981, there was only one quarterback taken in the first round - Rich Campbell, who went sixth to the Packers, and attempted only 68 NFL passes before becoming a newspaper columnist. And in 1984, no quarterbacks were taken in Round 1 (though Boomer Esiason was selected in Round 2).
Also, the Giants had a young Phil Simms on their roster, and he had just been selected with the seventh overall pick in 1979.
So could the Giants take a non-quarterback that high again? Sure. But if they pass on a franchise-changing quarterback in the process, they're making a serious mistake.
And they seem to know that, too.
"We understand the impact a top-flight quarterback has on a team," Shurmur said. "We dig in just as deep on other players, but certainly the impact of the quarterback pick is obviously a front-burner item for us."