PHILADELPHIA — DeShone Kizer has said he wants to be the next Tom Brady.
He’d be willing to start out as the next Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Notre Dame quarterback said on Wednesday at an NFL Play 60 event at Shriners Childrens Hospital that he would be fine with being selected by one of the handful of teams in the NFL that already have an established starting franchise quarterback and may be looking to find an eventual replacement for that starter. A team like, say, the Giants.
“I take pride in learning from everybody I am around,” Kizer said. “To put myself around someone who has been around the block and been successful, I think it would be a great opportunity for me to learn the game, how it works being an NFL quarterback. It would be awesome, almost a red shirt-type of year situation in the NFL, that would be a cool experience to get to know the ropes.”
Whether or not the Giants are willing to do that with an early pick in the first two days of the draft remains to be seen. They have said since the end of the 2016 season that they are starting to look down the road for an eventual replacement for Eli Manning.
Saying it and doing it, though, are very different things. And such a pick — whether it be Kizer or someone else in the first three rounds of the draft — will have ripple effects on the entire locker room.
“Yes, but,” former NFL coach Brian Billick, now an analyst for NFL Network, said when asked if the Giants should try to pick their next franchise quarterback in this draft. “When you have a quarterback, I don’t care how classy a guy he is or how willing he is to mentor someone, particularly if it’s a first-round pick, that clock is ticking. It defies human nature for someone to go ‘Oh, that’s fine.’ That can be very uncomfortable. I’m not saying it can’t be done or it shouldn’t be done, but it’s not a comfortable situation.
“Ask Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers how that went down.”
For them, personally, it was ugly. For the Packers, though, it was almost perfect as they transitioned from one franchise quarterback to the next without any serious dip in productivity.
Are the Giants ready to make that kind of statement about Manning? Are they ready to make that kind of statement about their team? As Billick pointed out, selecting a player with a high pick who you hope will not have to play for another two or three years can upset the rest of the roster, the majority of whom are in win-now mode and likely won’t be on the team by that point.
“They are a good enough team to be able to absorb a first-round pick that you hope doesn’t take the field,” Billick said. “But that’s a dynamic that has to be addressed with regards to Eli and the players around him.”
The Giants are unlikely to select Kizer with the 23rd pick. If they wind up with him, it likely will be in the second round. That is when NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said the Giants will probably begin thinking about the position.
“You can’t force that stuff,” Mayock said. “But in the second or third round, if [Tennessee’s Joshua] Dobbs is there and they like Dobbs, depending on what their feel is, it could be the year [to pick a quarterback].”
Mayock said he believes the Giants will go offensive line in the first round.
“Sooner or later they have to solidify that offensive line,” he said. “They’re at 23. I think that offensive line run starts right around there, 19 or 20. Tampa Bay, Denver, that whole group starts right then. I think the Giants are sitting there and if a Garett Bolles or Ryan Ramczyk or Cam Robinson is available I think that makes a lot of sense for them. Whether or not they are interested in moving up is another question, to get one of those three if they have a favorite.”
It will be easy for the Giants to let the quarterback pick go by at 23 if the top players are off the board by then. There is some speculation, though, that some top talent such as Clemson’s Deshaun Watson or Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes may be available that late in the process. How would they handle riding shotgun for a few years of their career?
“I just want to play and be called upon to help a team win, whatever role that is,” Watson said. “Learning from a veteran guy would be of great value. You come in, learn, don’t have to play right away. Ask him questions, learn more about how to be successful in this league and be able to play for a long time.”
If it’s with the Giants, that long time may not start for a while.