The unofficial convention of New York football decision-makers met in Los Angeles on Wednesday to watch the Pro Day of a quarterback who may not even be available to them with the second and third picks in the upcoming draft.
Sam Darnold, the USC product who did not throw at the Combine, finally let it rip in front of a small army of scouts and coaches on a rainy Wednesday in southern California. Among the group there for keen observations were Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, head coach Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, and vice president of personnel Brian Heimerdinger. Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams were there as well.
The Browns, who hold the first overall selection in the upcoming draft, trumped all of them with titles — owner Jimmy Haslam was sitting in the stands for the workout. That’s a strong indication that the Browns will want to take Darnold at No. 1, leaving the Giants at No. 2 and Jets at No. 3 to make other decisions.
For the Jets, that seems certain to be a quarterback. They traded with the Colts to move up from No. 6 last week, a clear indication of their intent. The Jets’ brass is expected to go to Wyoming for Josh Allen’s Pro Day on Friday and then stop by Oklahoma for a private workout with Baker Mayfield on Saturday.
The Giants have other position options available, but they are doing their due diligence on the quarterbacks. According to a report, the Giants and Browns held private workouts for UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen on Tuesday, making the most of their time in the Los Angeles area. They may have Mayfield to New Jersey for a workout at some point before the draft begins April 26.
The Browns met with Darnold on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, as did the Giants.
“I don’t know what their plan is,” Darnold said of the Giants on ESPN after his workout. “It seemed like they’re very intrigued when we were having dinner and all that, but to be honest, I don’t know.”
The Giants have plenty of options with the second overall pick, including running back Saquon Barkley who many believe to be the top overall player available. They also could trade back with a quarterback-hungry team such as the Broncos or Bills . . . or Jets.
For now, though, the Giants and Jets are both following through on the process of evaluating the top quarterbacks. And on Wednesday, it was likely the top quarterback.