The Giants hold the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The question is how much that selection will impact the 2018 NFL season.
Thursday night we find out.
If they take a position player — running back Saquon Barkley, edge rusher Bradley Chubb and guard Quenton Nelson are the most likely candidates — then the focus shifts to the present. The Giants officially will be a win-now team, or at least a try-to-win-now team. They’ll have added a veteran cornerstone to their offensive line in free agency, a field general at middle linebacker for their defense, and entrusted the team to the hands of their 37-year-old two-time Super Bowl MVP at quarterback in the offseason.
Picking up an opening day starter with the franchise’s most valuable draft position since 1981 will indicate a desire to succeed immediately and compete for a title despite coming off a 3-13 season.
However, there is another option.
The Giants can eschew 2018, at least when it comes to their first-round pick, and take a quarterback. Depending on who goes to the Browns with the first overall pick they will have their choice of at least three of a group that includes Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield.
If they follow that path, they’ll be coming off one of the worst seasons in team history and using the only redeeming element of it — the high pick — on a player who they hope won’t even play in the upcoming season. The Giants’ 2018 draft will be designed to make them a better team in 2020 and beyond.
Dave Gettleman said last week that it can be hard to balance those two urges, one that wants to fix the team right away and the other that is looking to the future.
“Here’s the deal: As the GM, I walk a tight line,” Gettleman said. “I have to look at the short term and I have to look at the long term, and that’s the tightrope that I walk and I have to take all that into consideration in making decisions. Whether it’s the draft, whether it’s unrestricted free agency, whether it’s trading for an Alec Ogletree. Whatever it is, making [waiver] claims, you have to think about it. So I’m on that tightrope doing the best I can with the information that I have and we move forward.”
All indications are that Gettleman will fall off the tightrope on the side of the now. That they will go into the season with Eli Manning as their clear starting quarterback and a team they hope gives him a chance to win a third Super Bowl.
“I think the narrative is that every player we pick is going to help us win,” coach Pat Shurmur said on Wednesday. “That’s the way I look at this . . . I’m very confident that we are going to pick players that are going to help us in all rounds of the draft.”
When they pick that first-round player was determined by the flop of the 2017 season. When that pick begins to help the team remains to be seen.
Barkley a dad. Hearing his name called early in the first round on Thursday night might be the second-best part of Saquon Barkley’s week. The Penn State running back and his girlfriend welcomed their first child on Tuesday when Jada Clare Barkley was born.
“Words can’t even describe how I feel right now,” Barkley posted on Instagram with a picture of him holding the baby. “You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Thank God for blessing me with you in my life and into my arms. I pray that I can be the best father to you and help you grow into an amazing woman.”
Barkley was not in Dallas for pre-draft media availability on Wednesday but is expected to attend the draft on Thursday.