A few twists of fate and Louis Riddick could have been holding the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft. Riddick was interviewed by the Giants when their general manager position was open in December, before the job went to Dave Gettleman. That meant Riddick remained as an analyst at ESPN.
But what if he’d gotten the job? Who would he have taken for the Giants at No. 2?
“I’d probably go Saquon [Barkley],” he said of the Penn State running back on a conference call on Monday.
More than that, he strongly hinted that the Giants feel the same way.
“I have a feeling that there is a strong, strong, strong sentiment within that building for Saquon Barkley based upon my experience there, if you know what I mean.”
That experience, of course, included meeting with co-owner John Mara during an interview in which the direction of the pick naturally would have been discussed.
Riddick said there are other players he might consider, and other positions as well.
“The more I think about it, the more I realize that you should be considering the future as far as Eli [Manning] is concerned and will you have the chance to get a quarterback that you can now sit and park behind him, have him learn, and hopefully be your quarterback for the next 10-12 years, hopefully two or three contracts down the road,” Riddick said. “They may not ever be in this position again. You don’t want to be in this position again. I can understand why that is a strong argument and a strong consideration for them.
“Personally,” he added, “I wouldn’t go there.”
Another option would be on defense.
“[A] guy who projects very well to the scheme that James Bettcher will run there is obviously Bradley Chubb who can play in a two-point, play out of the three-point, is very multiple like that, and is just like Chandler Jones,” Riddick said. “When you think about it, he’d be perfect for a team like this. If Bill Belichick ever got his hands on a player like Bradley Chubb, look out. It would just be lights out. That’s the kind of player who would fit well with the Giants as well.”
Riddick also addressed the idea of the Giants trading back but said he would stay with the No. 2 pick.
“I think the Giants are sitting in a spot where they can’t lose if they stay where they are,” he said.
If a team wanted to move up to No. 2, he said, he would require a haul that would set the Giants up in the draft for the next two or three years. “I wouldn’t want to miss out on the players who will be available to them at that point,” he said.
Ultimately, Riddick said, if he were general manager of the Giants, he would select Barkley.
“I think Saquon Barkley is just a special kid, I really do,” Riddick said. “I think he will help Eli because he will give him someone who he can turn around and hand the ball off to between 25 and 28 times a game.”
Riddick said he thinks Barkley can improve all facets of the game for the Giants, from ball control (which will help the defense) to the passing game (as a receiver as well as in pass protection).
“That,” he said, “would be my pick.”