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Malik Nabers is a perfect prize for Joe Schoen not reaching for a QB



Malik Nabers is a perfect prize for Joe Schoen not reaching for a QB

Joe Schoen slammed a double off the wall when he drafted wide receiver Malik Nabers with the sixth pick of the 2024 NFL draft.

Now let’s cue John Sterling: “It is high … it is far … it is … it is caught.”

Schoen swung for the fences, for the Drake Maye home run, only to have Patriots owner Robert Kraft catch it on the warning track.

LSU Tigers wide receiver Malik Nabers poses after being selected by the New York Giants as the No. 6 pick. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hold the Daniel Jones obituary.

Instead, Jones was gifted the first No. 1 receiver of his career.

A player explosive enough — call him Malik the Freak — to stretch a double into a triple after too many strikeouts in the draft.

A player who can make Jones a better quarterback and Brian Daboll/Mike Kafka better play callers. You better believe Daboll will now want to wrestle the play-calling duties away from his assistant head coach/offensive coordinator.

A player who can turn a 10-yard pass from Jones into a 60-yard touchdown.

A player with breathtaking skills who can help transform the Giants from less of a tortoise into more of a hare.

Giants GM Joe Schoen answers questions from reporters about draft pick Malik Nabers. Noah K. Murray-NY Post

A player who at least gives Jones a fighting chance to resemble Danny Dimes again.

Franchise quarterback, of course, is always the home-run pick. It is incumbent upon every GM in today’s quarterback-driven NFL to find a quarterback who can stand up to the likes of Patrick Mahomes and the other young guns who chase a Super Bowl every year.

If you don’t get quarterback right, you have no chance.

If you don’t have a quarterback who you believe can win you a Super Bowl, you most likely won’t win a Super Bowl.

Malik Nabers speaks to the media after being drafted by the New York Giants. Rena Laverty/UPI/Shutterstock

But you damn well better love a quarterback to attempt a blockbuster move up from No. 6 to No. 3, and you damn well better love a quarterback to draft him at No. 6.

Schoen did not love J.J. McCarthy. The Vikings, who traded from No. 11 to No. 10 and picked him, loved J.J. McCarthy.

Schoen did the right thing by opting not to draft a quarterback just for the sake of drafting a quarterback one year after signing Jones to that four-year, $160M contract with an escape hatch following the 2024 season.

Jones and Drew Lock — oh, and Tommy Cutlets — allowed Schoen the license not to feel compelled to force drafting a quarterback he did not love.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones #8, chased out of the pocket by Seattle Seahawks linebacker Boye Mafe. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The drafting of Malik the Freak doesn’t solve the Giants’ franchise quarterback quandary, but at least it prevents them from potentially making the kind of killer mistake that other franchises have made for the likes of Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell and Jeff George and Josh Rosen and Trey Lance and Mac Jones and Zach Wilson, among others.

It gives the Giants the kind of quick-strike ability that Odell Beckham Jr. gave them once upon a time.

“He’s got quickness, explosive, good run after the catch, he’s got a great mindset in terms of the competitive style he plays with, played well in big games,” Daboll said.

Schoen stood on the corner of Urgency Lane and Desperation Road and did not blink.

He threw Jones a lifeline and texted him before the pick was even announced.

“He’s fired up,” Schoen said. “I texted him Malik’s number, that was one of the first things I did.”

Giants general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Dabol answer questions from reporters about draft pick Malik Nabers. Noah K. Murray-NY Post

Schoen and Daboll could have bought themselves a year by investing in a McCarthy or a Michael Penix Jr., but decided that giving themselves a better chance to win now took precedence.

“I’m able to play different positions, create separation, open up a great window for the quarterback to throw me the ball, great teammate, great leader, and just an all-around great football player, dog mentality when I’m out there on the field,” Nabers said.

Schoen and Daboll went hunting for Maye, perhaps because he reminded them of the young Josh Allen, but certainly because they know it is risky business to trust Jones in the wake of his two neck injuries and torn ACL that may or may not be ready by the start of training camp.

“We had a lot of conversations with a lot of teams, I’m not gonna get into specifics,” Schoen said.

There, of course, are Giants fans disappointed or disillusioned that Schoen did not land them a new franchise quarterback because they may not be drafting this high again and because the Class of 2024 was hailed as a bumper quarterback crop.

For a litany of reasons, Jones did not ascend in his second year in the Daboll offense, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t feel good that you have a general manager who has the courage of his convictions and refused to panic.

Nabers doesn’t turn 21 until July.

“He’s a great kid, he’s super competitive, he’s driven,” Schoen said, “and I’m excited about having him.”

LSU Tigers wide receiver Malik Nabers (8) catches a pass. Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Giants did their homework and had no concerns about Nabers carrying a weapon in his pocket on Bourbon Street 14 months ago. He did not face charges. “I love his personality,” Daboll said.

Nabers wore a big smile and a silver LEEK necklace on stage in Detroit and chuckled on a conference call when asked about meeting Daboll.

“He thought he could guard me,” Nabers said.

Very few can. It is why he is a Giant.

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