The year was 2004 and the New York Giants were on the clock. They were also, in fact, in need of a franchise quarterback. There was a ton of speculation leading up to this draft. The top three quarterbacks were Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger. Manning was going to be the first overall pick in almost every team’s book. Manning also made it very known that he did not want to play in San Diego for the Chargers, the team that had the first pick. The Giants had the #4 overall pick and former general manager Ernie Acorsi wanted to pull off a trade. The Chargers then selected Manning, who was extremely frustrated with the pick and wouldn’t even put on the hat the Chargers gave him. He was then booed off stage and chants against him were rattling the crowd. The Giants, at #4, then selected Rivers, only later to pull off a trade that would change the history of the NFL forever.
Many people have mixed feelings about the way Eli handled himself prior to this draft. But that’s in the past and the year is now 2017. Many still talk about who won that trade, as both quarterbacks have performed exceptionally well in this league. Although, Eli has 2 Super Bowl rings to show for it and Rivers has none. So now many lean towards the Giants as being the winners.
The Giants now have the 23rd overall pick in this year’s draft and many don’t know who they’re going to pick. Manning has shown that he is on his decline and is not going to be the player he once was. The Giants drafted quarterback Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft. Many thought it was possible for him to go under the wing of Eli and later become the leader of this team. After many injuries and sub-par play on the field, the Giants released Nassib following last season.
Shortly after that happened, the hunt for the future quarterback of the Giants begun.
Many now expect that the plan is going to be to draft a QB in this years draft, in hopes of finding a suitable heir to the Giant Throne. The Giants also brought in competition for the backup role, signing former Jets quarterback Geno Smith and re-signing last year’s backup Josh Johnson, both to one-year deals.
Smith has only played in three games in the past two years after playing in 30 in his first two seasons. He hasn’t shown he can be a legit starting QB on an NFL team, but the Giants evidently believe he can contribute and battle to earn a spot on this team.
Johnson, who has been in the league since 2008, now knows the Giants playbook and was kept on the team to battle with Smith for the backup role. Neither Smith nor Johnson will be the Giants quarterback of the future.
So now that only leaves one option for how the Giants will find Eli Manning’s successor: draft one. This year’s NFL draft is one of the deepest in years, as many experts are pegging up to 40 prospects with day-one grades. The quarterbacks in this draft aren’t as coveted as in previous years but there still could be a hidden gem somewhere in this year’s class.
Dak Prescott was drafted 135th overall and was the eighth quarterback taken in last years draft. He led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, a playoff berth and the #1 seed in the NFC. Just because someone isn’t projected to be drafted early doesn’t mean that aren’t going to be an amazing QB. Perhaps the most infamous example of this is Tom Brady, who was drafted #199 overall. Brady, of course, has a ring for every finger.
But back to the topic at hand. This draft is deep and includes quarterbacks who could potentially be Super Bowl champions one day. I mean, hey, you never know right? With the 23rd overall pick, no one knows which direction the Giants are looking in. They could draft anything from a running back to a linebacker to an offensive lineman or even a tight end and nobody would be surprised. There are however, a couple quarterbacks the Giants do have there eyes on.
Mitchell Trubisky is rated the #1 QB in this draft out of UNC and most likely will not fall to the Giants. Although Trubisky isn’t a blue chip prospect like players like Manning, Jameis Winston, or Andrew Luck, but could potentially be a game changer for an NFL team. There are many other quarterbacks who could become Giants in this draft. However, many of these players either won’t fall to the Giants or do not fit their scheme well. This list includes DeShaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, and Patrick Mahomes.
A quarterback the Giants could realistically invest in is Brad Kaaya. This kid out of the University of Miami (FL) has started since he was a freshman and has proven to be a dynamic quarterback at the collegiate level. He’s thrown for over 3,100 yards in every season so far and has thrown a total of 69 touchdowns to only 24 interceptions in 3 seasons.
Kaaya has a lot of strengths, but the one that sticks out the most on film is his awareness and accuracy. He’s shown that he can take control of the game and make plays out of nothing. His accuracy and cannon of an arm are big strengths for Kaaya, who makes it really easy for his receivers to make plays. Kaaya, while not projected to go until the 3rd or 4th round, is someone like Dak Prescott that can come in, be Eli’s apprentice, and take over the reigns of this legendary football team once Eli’s time is up.
Only time will tell what the Giants have in mind at the quarterback position and life after Eli. With just 29 days until the draft, it’s all hands on deck in the Giants draft room as they will try to find a guy who could possibly fill Manning’s shoes.