Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 04-27-19

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.


By Aaron Klein
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 alike.

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.

Yes, they 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.
*[CORRECTION: 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 favorites).]

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 instead.

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 desert.

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.

Do you have questions? Comments?
Send them all over to
and follow me on Twitter @_AaronKlein_
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Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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