Photo Credit: Washington Post
Just a week after the New York Giants sent superstar WR Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in return for 1st and 3rd round picks as well as SS Jabrill Peppers, in my opinion, it has become clear to me Odell was far from the problem in the Giants organization. The real reason Dave Gettleman and the Giants’ future seems to be in shambles is because of the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley. While you can’t deny the production and unique, once in a generation skillset Barkley brings to the table in a less than creative Giants offense to put it kindly, the selection of the running back seems to a significant roadblock in the Giants future.
Shortly after the Browns shocked the sports world by taking QB Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in 2018, attention quickly turned to the Giants who possessed the second overall pick. In a draft filled with top QB talent, maybe the most in the past decade, in Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and even Lamar Jackson, it seemed like one of the four remaining would make a perfect match with Giants, who needed (and still need) a succession plan for their beloved two-time Super Bowl winning QB Eli Manning. But, as we all know that didn’t come to fruition and Barkley was taken instead. With all five franchises that took a QB in the first round of 2018 seem set at the most important position in football for the foreseeable future, it begs the question of what the Giants future would look like had the taken one of the four remaining QBs remaining.
For argument’s sake let’s say the Giants took Sam Darnold with second overall pick in 2018. Oh boy, would they be set up. Darnold showed a lot of promise in a rookie season where he threw 17 TD passes while being surrounded by perhaps the worst collection of offensive weapons in the NFL. This would allow the Giants to officially move on from Manning and free up the high salary to spend elsewhere. But, the biggest difference would be the Odell Beckham remaining on the roster. Odell would provide Darnold with a superstar number one option and with the compliments of Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, Darnold would be set up with solid offensive targets had they chosen him instead of Saquon Barkley. To put it simply, had the Giants not gone for the flashy running back, the easiest position to find cheap production, they would be in much better position for future success than they are currently constructed. Don’t blame Odell or even Eli for the current state of the Giants organization, blame Saquon Barkley.