I was going to make this part of my Vikes NFL Draft preview, but apparently I have too many thoughts on it. Here’s the deal:
Most mock drafts have the Giants staying put at the 2nd overall pick and drafting Penn State Running Back Saquon Barkley. Not only is the media refusing to chastise this idea, but they’re predicting it to happen! Think about this: This year, the Colts moved back from the 3rd overall pick, to the 6th overall pick and received three 2nd-round picks in return (all probable Top-50 picks). Let’s say the Giants get the same in return (they’d get more..) In order for Saquon Barkley to be worth this selection, he would have to surpass the value of four Top-50 draft picks and do so at one of the most undervalued positions in the NFL. To me, that’s borderline impossible.
The Giants can’t be this stupid. They could reap a Herschel Walker-like haul. (Okay, maybe not that much, but this is an awful lot). So we’ll look at it this way: the Giants #2 pick is worth four Top-50 draft picks, at minimum. The only player in the draft worth the gamble of four Top-50 picks would be a quarterback, and the Giants need to take that value by either trading back or selecting their future signal caller. Le’Veon Bell is the best RB in the NFL, and the Steelers would happily trade him for four Top-50 picks (Yes, I know that’s because he costs more money, but this means when Barkley is in his prime, he would be worth the same). In order for Barkley to be worth the pick, he needs to immediately be the best player at his position, and then some.
I’m not arguing that Saquon Barkley won’t be good. He’ll probably be great. I am arguing that no running back is worth this amount of capital. Le’Veon Bell, Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, David Johnson and LeSean McCoy, all of whom are top RBs in the league, were all found outside of the first-round, let alone the top-10 of the draft. Quarterbacks and quality depth win championships. Running backs don’t (Adrian Peterson taught us that. So did Barry Sanders. Trust me, the list goes on).
To put further context on the value of this pick, one trade being floated around is the Buffalo Bills 2018 picks at 12th, 22nd, 56th in addition a 2nd-rounder next year. Using the 2017 NFL Draft as reference, if the Giants drafted as well as possible, they could have turned these picks into a haul of: DeShaun Watson, Evan Engram and Alvin Kamara. Oh, and you get another pick next year. Yeah, I think I’d pass on Barkley for that potential…
Also, can we recognize that the Eli Manning is 37-years old and showing severe signs of slowing down. The Giants will likely not have the 2nd pick again, and as such, they need to take a quarterback. If their guy isn’t there, fine, trade back and take the substantial value I’ve beaten to death above. Is Barkley worth trying to milk one more unlikely championship out of Eli Manning? No. If I’m Pat Shurmur, I’m trying to be the coach of this team for decades. The only way to do so is with a franchise quarterback, and he needs to bang the table for a one if his guy is there. Unfortunately, GM Dave Gettleman has the last say and at 66-years old, he’s closer to retirement than a Super Bowl, making prospect of Barkley’s immediate impact a selfish possibility.
Lastly, Because I can’t fathom this pick, I think this is a 2014 Jaguars/2017 Bears situation. In 2014, nobody was ready for the Jaguars to draft Blake Bortles, and last year, nobody knew the Bears wanted Mitch Trubisky. The Giants have remained silent and I hope for their fans sake, Gettleman turns in a card with a QBs name on it. The Giants haven’t done anything wrong yet, but I just can’t believe the prospect Barkley at second overall hasn’t been more critiqued. With that said, the scary part is that the Giants will probably keep their pick. The Colts have their franchise QB so they didn’t have to play it coy, trading out when they had the chance. I’d have to think the Giants have had offers all offseason to trade back and have stood their ground because they plan on staying. This has to mean they will take a QB. If not, Gettleman should be fired on the spot.