By Michael Stewart
Introduction: Now that the NFL draft is over and the dust has cleared, there’s been a backlash by many sports writers and sports analysts regarding the Giants selection of running back Saquon Barkley over a quarterback in the 1st round. The arguments are mainly surrounding the productivity (years) a running back provides as opposed to a quarterback. Which is understood, however; this is where I disagree with everyone who was against the selection of Barkley. Below are my pros and cons between selecting Barkley and not selecting a quarterback:
- Barkley is a complete running back: He can run, catch the ball, return kickoffs and block
- Barkley is dangerous every time he touches the ball. He explosive and can make people miss.
- Barkley is heads and shoulders above any other running back in this year’s draft. Not even close.
- Barkley gives the Giants an every down back. Not since Tiki Barber, Barkley can control the game.
- Barkley will make everyone around him better. Mostly Eli Manning, will prolong his career.
- Barkley is a quality human being, no drama on and off the field. Will be the face of the New York Giants as a rookie and beyond.
- Running backs have shorter careers. Worth the gamble with the immense talent of Barkley and what he can bring.
Not selecting a Quarterback in round 1
- There were no John Elway’s in this draft. Obviously.
- Wouldn’t play until possibly 2020. 3-13 teams need their 2nd overall pick to play and not sit.
- Giants can win now without drafting a QB in round 1. Surround Manning with talent and Giants are a legit playoff team.
- Giant’s 3-13 record in 2017 was not because of Manning’s performance. Injuries, lack of a running game and lack of talent on the offensive line is why Manning struggled.
- Lots of red flags with every quarterback taken in the 1st round. Mayfield-character issues/Darnold-decision making/Allen-inconsistent/Rosen-injuries/Jackson-mechanics
- Not finding a replacement for Eli Manning early in the draft: If a quarterback in this draft was the next John Elway, Gettleman would have drafted him over Barkley.
Final Thoughts: It’s true that this year’s draft was arguably the deepest for running backs in nearly a decade. I’m sure a running back taken anywhere between rounds 3-7 will emerge and be another Kareem Hunt or an Alvin Kamara in this year’s draft. However; when you check all the boxes of the perfect running back, Saquon Barkley is hands down the most complete back in this draft on and off the field. In fact, he is arguably the best back taken in nearly 25 years and that includes Adrian Peterson. He will immediately add 2 to 3 wins for the Giants alone and will be a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators come game time. Taking a quarterback in the 1st round for the sake of finding a replacement for Eli Manning would be a knee jerk reaction. The quarterback class in the 2018 draft had depth, maybe not as deep as the running back position. Gettleman and Shurmur understood this and they believe that Davis Webb (after evaluating him) has all the ingredients along with their 4th round selection Kyle Lauletta will develop into a solid starting quarterback and one will emerge as Eli Manning’s successor.