The season isn’t close to over at this point, but New York Giants fans are already looking to the NFL Draft because of the team’s early collapse. Specifically, fans are looking to the draft for a quarterback, with Eli Manning struggling recently. It looks like the Giants will take a quarterback, and if they do decide to go that route, Justin Herbert is the one that’s their consensus top target.
Herbert is expected to be the number one pick in the draft, but with the way that the Giants have been playing this season, it wouldn’t be surprising in the least if they found themselves in that spot. Additionally, if they’re drafting in the top five, a trade to number one wouldn’t be out of the question. What has Herbert done to justify the hype, though?
Well, the Oregon Ducks just played one of the top teams in the country, and Herbert threw for two of the touchdowns and, despite not putting up big numbers, managed the game well and didn’t fall on the big stage. The performance came against a Washington team that was hailed as the best in the PAC-12 Conference going into this game. Now, though, those rankings have changed. And Herbert is one of the players who had a large role in that.
His best plays weren’t just quick completions on bubble plays and slant routes, either. For his second touchdown of the day, Herbert rolled out while under pressure and rifled the ball into a tight area near the corner of the end zone, ensuring that only his receiver would be able to make the catch despite the area being covered. It was a risky play, but of course, the result was an Oregon touchdown.
It’s the kind of play that Sam Darnold was praised for before he was drafted by the New York Jets, but Herbert and Darnold aren’t the same player, even if they’ll likely both end up being the first quarterbacks selected in their respective draft classes. It looks like Herbert is going to throw for more touchdowns and less interceptions. You could make an argument that he’s the stronger, more polished prospect compared to Darnold coming out of USC.
We still have some more of Herbert to see, this season. About half the schedule remains, but the hardest games are out of the way and even in the sole loss of the season, which came at the hands of Stanford, Herbert threw for 346 yards and a touchdown. His draft stock is already high, going into the final stretch. Strong performances against struggling teams such as Arizona and UCLA would do a good job to keep that stock at where it is right now, preventing Herbert from being overtaken in the rankings by someone like Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.
The New York Giants aren’t in a good place right now. But if they do end up with the number one pick, there’s a silver lining. The decision to wait on drafting a quarterback was a controversial one, but it’s hard to complain about if it results in getting a quarterback this year that’s better than the ones that were drafted high following the Giants’ selection of Saquon Barkley.