Another year, another offseason in which mock drafts all across the Internet will have the Giants picking a quarterback.
The Giants have a 1-5 record entering Monday night’s game against the Falcons. If the season ended today, the Giants would be tied with four other teams – the Raiders, Cardinals, 49ers and Colts – for the worst record in the NFL. That means they would have at least a top-five pick, with a real shot at No. 1 overall (the tiebreaker is determined at the end of the season by strength of schedule). And out of those other teams, only the Raiders potentially could be in the market for a quarterback, given Derek Carr’s struggles under new head coach Jon Gruden.
All of this means the Giants could be in position for the second straight year to find an heir apparent to 37-year-old Eli Manning. They picked second overall last April, but took running back Saquon Barkley over Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen. Of course, Barkley has been a huge bright spot in an otherwise dismal season, but he’s not a quarterback. The Giants did take Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round, but he has been inactive for all six games so far.
Here’s a look at five quarterbacks that, as of now, figure to garner the most attention this offseason:
Justin Herbert, Oregon, Jr.
Herbert has separated himself from the pack with his combination of physical and mental tools. At 6-6, 233 pounds, he’s a big passer with arm strength, but he also has very good athleticism and touch on his throws. He’s a biology major who was named first-team Pac-12 Academic All-American with a 4.08 GPA as a sophomore, and that intelligence translates to the gridiron, as he’s shown the ability to go through his reads and deliver plays both on and off schedule. He missed part of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone, but when healthy he has what teams look for in a franchise passer.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State, Soph.
Haskins has made the most of his first season as the Buckeyes’ starter. Through his first seven games, he leads the nation with 28 passing touchdowns, is third in passing yards (2,298) and passing efficiency (188.1) and has established himself as a Heisman contender. The 6-3, 220-pounder is strong in the pocket with a good arm, and while he’s not as fast as his predecessors, he does have enough mobility to make a play on the run. Like all one-year starters, though, he won’t have much tape for scouts to watch, which could make it difficult to project his NFL future.
Drew Lock, Missouri, Sr.
Before the season started, Lock widely was considered to be the top prospect in the class, but an uneven start to his senior year has taken away some of that luster. Lock may remind some people of Allen from last year’s class: both have ideal size (Lock is 6-4, 220 pounds) and excellent arm strength, and he’ll have plays that will make fans say “Wow.” However, like Allen, Lock struggles with consistency. After leading Missouri to a 3-0 start with a 69-percent completion rate and an 11:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio against the likes of UT-Martin, Wyoming and Purdue, he has thrown one touchdown and five interceptions and completed 48.1 percent of his passes in the Tigers’ last three losses, all against top-tier teams (Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama).
Will Grier, West Virginia, Sr.
At 6-2, 212 pounds, Grier may not have the size of some of these top prospects, but he does have a good arm with zip and accuracy. He plays in a spread offense at West Virginia, but he’s very good at going through his progressions in the pocket, though he does tend to struggle against pressure (he was sacked seven times and threw for just 100 yards against Iowa State). There also are some off-field questions. He was suspended halfway through his 2015 season at Florida for taking performance-enhancing drugs. Grier transferred to West Virginia and sat out the 2016 season, per transfer rules, and was then granted a waiver for the remainder of the suspension.
Daniel Jones, Duke, Jr.
Jones has flown under the radar, but he has elevated his stock this season and could sneak into the back end of some mock drafts. The 6-5, 220-pound Jones has great pocket presence and very good touch on passes at all depths of the field. That should come as no surprise: His head coach at Duke is David Cutcliffe, who tutored both Peyton and Eli Manning. Jones does need to make better decisions – he has thrown 22 career interceptions, including 11 last season. He also broke his clavicle in Week 2 this year, but only missed two games.
Other names to watch: Ryan Finley, N.C. State, Sr.; Jarrett Stidham, Auburn, Jr., Shea Patterson, Michigan, Jr.; Tyree Jackson, Buffalo, Jr.; Clayton Thorson, Northwestern, Sr.