Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls.
Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: YES, THE JONES PICK SHOOK THINGS UP AND MAY HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE...
THEN AGAIN, MAYBE IT WAS THE PERFECT MOVE
How is everybody doing?
You okay? Breathing again?
In the wake
of the Giants' (somewhat) surprising choice with the No. 6 pick of the first round
in the NFL 2019 Draft, there has been plenty of anger, blame and conspiracy theories
amid some half-hearted support and definite shrugs from the fan base and the media
In other words, when the Giants
took Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the Draft -
passing on Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen, linebacker Devin Bush, defensive tackle
Ed Oliver and offensive tackle Jonah Williams - the football world shook and GiantLand
went berserk ...and not without at least some semblance of reason.
The expectation was that the Giants would draft the best pass rusher with the
sixth pick and then use No. 17 on an offensive lineman, a linebacker or whichever
top quarterback was left. Some felt the Giants would be best served by drafting
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at No. 6, since he was the presumptive best
quarterback in the draft.
need plenty of help on defense and general manager Dave Gettleman didn't ignore
that side of the ball. Many have been clamoring for the team to replace Eli Manning
and the team found someone it thinks can do the job. Except that, somehow, many
feel that Jones is the wrong one. A baseless claim that, except for what has already
been reported in the media. It was supposed to be Haskins if it was going to be
a quarterback; Jones would only be worth it if they waited.
Instead, Jones got the call. Other teams that were considering quarterbacks (Denver,
Cincinnati, San Diego, Oakland, Washington) did nothing. Actually, Denver, which
held the 10th pick, traded down with the Steelers, who took Bush. The Bengals,
reportedly very interesting in Haskins, passed. San Diego, Oakland Washington
did not trade up, but the Redskins took him at 15, a presumed steal. Really?
The chatter was that more than one team was considering a trade up to take Jones
ahead of the Giants and that, if nothing else, he was not expected to last until
No. 17, despite what much of the media world and fans thought.
One cannot overlook the fact that Haskins played at Ohio State and threw 50 touchdowns
last season against major-level competition while Jones was at Duke. But this
is not just based on statistics ... no one on Thursday night seemed willing to
concede that when picking a potential franchise quarterback, teams must consider
the intangibles just as much as the numbers.
Also, that once a team decides that a player is seen as a franchise quarterback
that team must do everything in its power to grab him as soon as possible.
You can cite Tom Brady (sixth round), Joe Montana (third round), Dan Marino (third
round)* and a few others who were mid- or low-round picks and turned into Hall
of Famers, or at least Super Bowl winners, all you want, but for every one of
them there were dozens who busted out the league quickly and without incident.
In last week’s column, I wrote that Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino was drafted
in the third round. That was patently wrong, a nearly inexcusable blunder on my
part. Several of you smarter people gently pointed out the error. However, I was
trying to say that Marino fell in the first round, all the way to Miami with the
27th pick in the famed 1983 quarterback draft, largely because he took a step
back in his senior season and there were some pre-draft rumors that we don’t have
to address now. Needless to say, he was still a first-rounder (and one of my personal
Besides, if New England
or San Francisco or Miami knew that Brady, Montana and Marino would turn out the
way that they did, those teams would have committed human sacrifice at the 50-yard
line in order to get the first overall pick in those respective drafts. Don't
forget, back in 1979, San Francisco's Bill Walsh wanted a kid from Morehead State
named Phil Simms and settled for Montana.
Teams don't wait. Quarterbacks taken in the first round are expected to become
franchise starters while the rest just have a chance.
Of course, just because a team has a conviction about any player, there no guarantee
that the team will be right. Plenty of first-round quarterbacks have made it big,
but just as many play themselves out of the league before signing a second contract.
We'll have to wait and see how Jones pans out, but the Giants believe that he
not only possesses great physical and mechanical skills, but also the intangible
leadership skills with innate professionalism.
They obviously did not see enough of the latter in Haskins or any other quarterback
in the draft. Sure, had someone leap-frogged them into the Top Five and taken
Jones they may have considered Haskins, though not likely, or taken Allen or Bush
We'll never know. But to leap
to the conclusions that Gettleman has no plan, or doesn't care about the team,
or is deliberately trying to destroy the roster, or follows management edict or
takes marching orders from the Manning family? Rubbish.
Try this on for size: Let's say the Giants took Allen or Bush, passing on Jones.
Then, as was feared, someone jumped in to take Jones before the 17th pick came
up. The Giants would go after Drew Lock or Ryan Finley later in the draft and
he became another Davis Webb. In subsequent seasons, Allen and Bush are solid
players, but Jones becomes a booming star with his new team, leading them to a
championship and emerging as the best quarterback out of the 2019 class.
Meanwhile, the Giants had planned to get Oregon's Justin Herbert or Alabama's
Tua Tagovailoa next year or Clemson's Trevor Lawrence in 2021, but it never works
out. Instead, they plow ahead with Manning for another few seasons, replace him
with Kyle Lauletta or find a free agent and keep marching through the quarterback
The above is a very real scenario.
Back to reality: If the Giants think Jones is the real deal and are not the only
team to think so ... why risk it? Time will tell if Gettleman and the Giants were
right, but they had nothing to lose after the team went 3-13 and 5-11 in subsequent
seasons. Last year, the Giants were beaten up by passing on quarterback Sam Darnold.
This year, they took the quarterback they believe can take over and took plenty
of heat already.
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