Much of the chatter has been about quarterbacks Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold at the top of this year’s NFL draft. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. had neither as the No. 1 pick in his first mock draft of the year.
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was pegged to the Cleveland Browns in Mel Kiper's 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0. That left the New York Giants with their choice of Rosen or Darnold with the No. 2 overall pick. Not a bad spot to be in for a team with a new general manager, new coach and a 37-year-old starting quarterback.
Kiper gave the Giants Rosen, the UCLA quarterback with the ideal size and howitzer for an arm.
Quarterback makes sense. It’s hard to argue that selection with the No. 2 overall pick. The Giants have Eli Manning nearing the end, and the opportunity to select his successor with this type of premium pick doesn’t come around often.
The last time the Giants had a top-five selection was in the 2004 draft, when they ultimately came away with Manning in a trade that eventually yielded two Super Bowl triumphs. The thinking is this is the Giants’ chance to find their next franchise quarterback. They can be the rare franchise to be set at the position for a good 20-25 years straight.
The idea of having a choice between Rosen and Darnold is intriguing. At least it should be. And let’s not forget about Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. If he measures in at 6-feet or better at next week’s Senior Bowl don’t be surprised to see him enter the conversation.
All of which benefits the Giants. The more the merrier. Darnold, who came into the season with the most hype, went fifth to the Denver Broncos in Kiper’s initial mock draft.
It’s early, but in my estimation Darnold seems to be the most Giants-like quarterback of the bunch. He will check all the boxes with his off-the-field attitude and work ethic. There have been nothing but raves about his ability to command a huddle and his standing in the locker room. His teammates love him, according to his former left tackle Chad Wheeler.
Wheeler, who just finished his rookie season with the Giants, called Darnold “Eli 2.0” with the way he carries himself with class and ease. He can shrug off even the most intense pressure or criticism that might come with being a quarterback playing in New York. This would seem to endear him to the Giants.
Rosen has put the best product on the field to date. His ability to make any and every throw is impressive. He's generally considered the best quarterback right now.
But Kiper notes there are some “red flags” that will surface during the draft process. I’ve already heard whispers about whether he truly loves football or is more enamored by the fringe benefits of being the star quarterback. These are surely some of the things we will hear about Rosen as the process unfolds.
Either way, Rosen or Darnold? The Giants should be happy if Kiper’s scenario unfolds and they’re given that choice.