Whether or not the New York Giants use the second pick on this position, many fans expect them to come away from this draft with a quarterback.
There’s no clear cut number one prospect this year, and mock drafts have linked the Giants with Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, or even dark horse Josh Allen, from Wyoming. To help you get a better idea of what these players might look like five or six years down the road, here’s some comparisons between some of them and NFL quarterbacks from the past and the present.
Sam Darnold, who was the top prospect going into the college season last year, is like Matthew Stafford. They have the exact same physical build, with Darnold’s weight only being off by about a pound, give or take. If you compare their numbers from last year, they also had similar passing performances. Darnold had a 63% completion percentage and threw for a little over 4,000 yards.
While Stafford threw for more yards and had three more touchdowns, and three less interceptions, his completion percentage was only slightly higher at 65%. Darnold does have a turnover problem, but Stafford used to have a worse one than him. Stafford threw 16, 17, and 19 interceptions from 2011 to 2013, and that’s worse than Darnold’s 13 from last year. Stafford proves that a quarterback can get rid of their turnover problems, and if the Giants draft Darnold, it will be in the hope that he develops down the same path and finds similar success.
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I’m going to say that Josh Rosen is Aaron Rodgers. Not in skill, but in the kind of player that he is. This isn’t really an original take, because Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback that gets used as a comparison these days for the QBs coming out of college who can make all the throws, but that’s the mold that Rosen fits. It’s not hard to be impressed just from the eye test while looking at his college highlights, where he largely carried his UCLA team at times and made plenty of NFL caliber throws.
There’s also the talk of character concerns, for both players. I’m not going to take a side, and I will admit that we don’t really know how much of those concerns are true, for either Rodgers or Rosen. In the case of Rosen, UCLA players have defended him on Twitter in the past. But usually, the word of NFL scouts isn’t completely meaningless. He’s more outspoken than the average quarterback and that can either be a good or a bad thing depending on what you want from your QB.
Both he and Aaron Rodgers can fit the ball into most windows, but both of them also have their own brands of controversy. The latter might just play a role into Rosen’s draft position, especially with the context of him coming to New York as the second pick and having to deal with the infamous media.
There was a time when I was a big supporter of Josh Allen being a first round draft pick. But Allen’s last season wasn’t as impressive as the one before that, and his accuracy hasn’t improved enough to warrant him being more than a project quarterback that gets stashed behind a more experienced starter. I don’t mean someone that sits for one or two years and then starts, either. In my opinion, he could be a Case Keenum type of player that gets forgotten about for awhile before showing up somewhere and finding a starting job to the surprise of everybody.
However, Allen is one of the top prospects this year and whoever takes him will likely give him game time before he’s ready. I’m going to compare him to former Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman, who was another guy taken in the first round because of having a large frame and arm strength while lacking some of the other necessary skills to have success in the NFL. Note that Freeman didn’t wash out of the league immediately, and had a starting run for a few years with the Bucs.
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Allen won’t be an immediate bust either, but I think he’ll be considered a bust because of being drafted in the first round and under performing, and that’s another similarity to Freeman. If the Giants take him with the second pick or trade down and take him later in the first round, the expectations will be far higher than they were in Tampa for Freeman.
I’m going to take a bit of a reach here and compare Mayfield to Steve Young. He can beat defenses with both his legs and his arm, and both players come from college offenses that are distinctly different from the pro style ones run in the NFL. Despite Mayfield’s small size compared to other NFL quarterbacks, he also throws on the run well and doesn’t need to stay in the pocket to make plays.
His skill outside of the pocket could be particularly relevant to the Giants, if the addition of Nate Solder doesn’t immediately improve the passing protection by much. Of course, good scramblers like Young know when to stay in the pocket and when to tuck and run, and part of Mayfield’s development will involve knowing when to settle down and check down on his receivers instead of trying to make plays on his own.
Like Young, Mayfield could also end up sitting behind a more experienced QB like Eli Manning for a year or two, before becoming a starter and surprising everybody with how good he is.