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Sent: 03-04-2024

E-GIANTS
Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls until the past few. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.

A FIRST-ROUND QB IS BECOMING MORE LIKELY FOR GIANTS

By Jason Leach
A look at the top quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft and what it would take for the Giants to draft them.

After another injury-riddled and turnover-plagued season, even the most avid Daniel Jones supporter must acknowledge it's time for the Giants to move on from him. His record as a starter is now 22-36-1, and the only time he hasn't missed time due to an injury in his five-year career was in 2022.

Jones' most effective attribute is his running ability, but even that might be compromised after he tore his ACL in Week 9 against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Jones wasn't the only issue the team had, as a poor offensive line has been the team's Achilles Heel for over a decade. But as an NFL quarterback, you understand that when things go well you get praised, and when things go bad, you get the brunt of the blame.

If a team is going to have any success in the NFL, it must have a quarterback who can take it over the hump and elevate the players around him.

Fortunately for the Giants, they are several quarterbacks expected to be taken in the first round of the draft. New York currently has the sixth overall pick in the draft, but also has the draft capital to move up. Thanks to trading DT Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks the team now has an additional second-round pick (47th overall). In addition, the Giants could possibly trade back and still land one of the top quarterback prospects.

Here's a quick look at the top projected quarterbacks in this year's draft class, and the probability that the Giants will be able to draft them.

Caleb Williams USC (highly unlikely)

Not only is the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner the highest-rated quarterback on most draft boards, he's also the highest-rated player and is expected to be the first player selected.

In his three seasons in college, first with Oklahoma and then with USC, he threw 93 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions. Before the draft, analysts like to draw comparisons of draft prospects to current NFL players. Some have compared Williams' physical attributes to Patrick Mahomes. That's a high and unlikely standard to live up to, but also illustrates why it's highly doubtful New York will be able to draft him.

It would take a king's ransom for New York to trade up from sixth to first with the Chicago Bears to take Williams and given the fact that the team has several holes to fill GM Joe Schoen may not be willing to pay the price it would cost to trade up to that lofty position. Anything is possible, but unless Schoen sees Williams as a can't miss prospect, Williams becoming a Giant is a pipe dream.

Drake Maye North Carolina (unlikely)

Many have Maye as the second-rated QB in this draft class. After appearing in just four games in 2021, Maye played in 26 games in his last two years at North Carolina.

For his career, he's thrown 63 touchdowns to 16 interceptions and showed he can utilize his legs for scores notching 16 touchdowns on the ground over those last two seasons. He has good ball placement which is needed to succeed in the NFL. However, similar to the case with Williams, New York would have to give up a ton in order to move up because it's hard to see a scenario where Maye is still on the board at six.

Jayden Daniels LSU (slim possibility)

Daniels to the Giants has been picking up a little steam lately due to some mock drafts having the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner on the board when the Giants are on the clock.

Last season, the dual-threat Daniels threw for 3,812 yards with 40 touchdowns -- and just four interceptions. He also rushed for 1,134 yards with 10 touchdowns and displayed a high degree of accuracy with four games last season where he completed at least 75 percent of his passes.

He is the type of quarterback who can keep defensive coordinators up all night trying to game plan for him. He's made steady improvement to his game, particularly on his deep passes. But the burning question is, will he still be available at pick number six?

J.J McCarthy Michigan (the wildcard)

McCarthy showed, in his time with the Michigan Wolverines, that he's a proven winner. He finished his career with a 27-1 record as a starter and led Michigan to a National Championship last season.

His numbers won't jump off the board as in his two years as a starter he completed 448 passes for 5,710 yar, 44 touchdowns, nine interceptions and eight rushing touchdowns. But this is because Michigan's offense didn't rely on him to do much most of the offense was predicated on the ground game with RB Blake Corum.

However, McCarthy has shown great velocity and accuracy on his passes. The fact that he played for Jim Harbaugh is a bonus because he knows what it's like to play for a hard-nosed head coach, and you can be sure that he was given sound advice on what it will take to make it in the NFL.

Barring a shocking development, he'll still be on the board when the Giants pick. There's also a belief that he could still be on the board midway through the first round. This would open the door for New York to possibly trade back in the first round to take him if the team addresses another position with its first pick.

Bo Nix Oregon (option if they trade back into the 1st round)

Traditionally, the Giants' organization likes drafting players who have extensive playing experience. So given the fact that Nix has 61 starts, which is an NCAA record for a quarterback, can be viewed as a plus. Nix played his first three seasons at Auburn before playing his final two seasons with the Oregon Ducks. Last season he earned third team All-American honors when he threw for 4,508 yards with 45 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

The 24-year-old Nix is not expected to be taken in the top 10. Depending on how long he stays on the board, it could be enticing for New York to trade back into the first round and grab him.

Michael Penix Jr., Washington (option if they trade back into the first round)

Penix had a phenomenal final season with the Washington Huskies as he led his team to the National Championship game. His 4,903 passing yards were the most among FBS schools. He also threw 36 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions and was named First Team All-American

He has a ton of experience, as he began his collegiate career with Indiana in 2018, but he has also been plagued with injuries. He tore his ACL in 2018 and 2020 while playing for Indiana. Although his throwing motion is a little unorthodox he throws a good deep ball.

Some feel he could drop to the late in the first round, but what might give the Giants cause to pause is his injury history, and the fact that he's a lefty and the Giants are not stable enough at the right tackle position to protect his blindside.

davesklein@aol.com

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