INDIANAPOLIS — Dave Gettleman went old school in describing the assortment of quarterbacks available in this year’s draft.
“All shapes and sizes, all flavors. This is like Howard Johnson’s back in the day,” said the Giants’ general manager, who grew up when the iconic ice cream maker was in vogue. “It is a really interesting group.”
It is also a highly unpredictable group, one that may be more subject to fluctuations in evaluation — and performance once their NFL careers unfold. Unlike other years, when there was a greater consensus that quarterbacks like Carson Wentz and Jared Goff in 2016, or Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in 2015, were can’t miss prospects, it feels as if there is a much more pronounced uncertainty among this year’s group.
Is Josh Allen’s 56.3 completion percentage at Wyoming a function of poor players around him or a red flag that indicates he may have a problem at the NFL level?
Should Sam Darnold have stayed another year at USC and improved his footwork and ability to read defenses, or can he quickly develop into a reliable starter with NFL coaching?
Does Josh Rosen’s concussion last season portend similar problems ahead?
Is Baker Mayfield’s competitiveness a help or a hindrance in a league in which players who are easily triggered have problems rewiring their reactive instincts?
Is Lamar Jackson more wide receiver than quarterback?
Those five presumptive first-round picks will be the subject of intense scrutiny in the coming days and weeks, and the evaluation process will directly impact the Giants and Jets, both of whom have high picks and a need at quarterback. With the Giants at No. 2 and the Jets at No. 6, it will be a franchise-defining choice for both teams.
Especially the Giants, who haven’t had a No. 2 pick since Lawrence Taylor in 1981. With a clear shot at one of the top quarterbacks, Gettleman demurred Wednesday when asked to offer a definitive statement on which quarterback he might take — or even if he would take a quarterback.
A player “that is worth enough of being the second pick of a draft, and what we are basically saying if we answer that question to the affirmative, you are drafting what you think is going to be a Hall of Fame player,” he said. “You can’t get too cute about the whole thing.”
In other words, if you have a conviction on a player — regardless of position — you take him. Now the question is whether Gettleman will develop that kind of feeling about someone. Leaving no stone unturned, he’s also at least willing to listen to trade offers.
“Are we open for business?” he said. “Any decision I make is going to be in the best interest of the New York Giants, plain and simple. If someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse, would I move back? It depends upon who is there.”
Jets coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday the Jets have laid out several contingency plans, and that he feels good about all of those, especially in the event Plan A (presumably signing free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins) doesn’t work out.
“There’s a lot of situations that work out when your Plan A doesn’t work out, and Plan B or C works out better,” Bowles said.
GM Mike Maccagnan wasn’t willing to even put a toe in the water when asked to evaluate specific quarterbacks or his free-agent options. But it’s clear the Jets are smitten with Cousins and will make a run at him in hopes hes doesn’t sign with a team like the Vikings, who have emerged as a serious contender for the Redskins soon-to-be free agent’s services. Minnesota offers a much more competitive team than do the Jets, and if winning now is Cousins’ first priority, then the Vikings have a clear advantage.
But Maccagnan feels good about whatever scenario may unfold.
“We’re going to approach [quarterback] like every other position, via free agency and the draft,” he said. “From that standpoint, we’re excited about the players potentially in free agency and the draft.”
Big decisions ahead for both teams.
Big risks, too, especially in what looks to be a boom-or-bust class of quarterbacks.