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‘Things I think’: A great pick in Round 1 for the Giants, but …

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Did the New York Giants do the right thing Thursday night at No. 6 in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Eighty percent of Giants’ fans who voted in our poll gave the pick of wide receiver Malik Nabers an ‘A’. Analysts around the Internet agreed with most lauding the selection.

But …

Yes, there is a but. You know what it is. Daniel Jones is still the Giants’ quarterback and, unless you believe Drew Lock is suddenly going to morph into something he hasn’t been yet in his five-year career, the Giants have no idea what their future looks like at quarterback beyond 2024.

Even within all the praise for the pick of a play-making wide receiver the Giants have needed since Odell Beckham’s time with the team went sideways, there were caveats form some graders.

33rd Team said passing on quarterback J.J. McCarthy was “risky.” Chad Reuter of NFL.com wrote “The question down the line, though, might be whether the Giants would’ve been better off selecting J.J. McCarthy at No. 6 and then a very good receiver on Day 2 instead.”

Perhaps veteran sportswriter Bob McGinn, writing for the subscription site GoLongTD.com put it most succinctly:

The Giants have Daniel Jones, Drew Lock and Tommy DeVito. Sitting at No. 6, they had three quarterback options available but opted for wide receiver Malik Nabers.

Maybe they didn’t like [Michael] Penix, McCarthy or Bo Nix. For the Giants’ decision-makers, they’ll either be right or they’ll be gone.

Bingo!

This was one of those moments that has the potential to define a career for a general manager. It’s why, during his pre-draft press conference, I asked Schoen if it was a greater sin to swing and miss at a quarterback you loved or pass and watch that quarterback succeed elsewhere.

Here is how Schoen answered the question:

“You’ve got to be comfortable … you let your board talk to you, you go through all these conversations, and, again, we’re going to do what’s best for the franchise and all of our meetings and all of our preparation, and when we set the board, it’s all what’s best for the New York Giants. So I’m confident we’re going to get a good player next Thursday, whatever position that is, and we’ll sleep good at night knowing we did all the preparation and we let the board talk to us.”

Maybe they loved McCarthy. Or Penix. Or Nix. Maybe they didn’t. When their draft board spoke to Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, it screamed that they liked Nabers more.

So, that is the choice they made.

Nothing wrong with that. A lot right with it, in fact. They selected a potentially great player at a position of need who could help transform their passing attack.

The issue for Schoen, Daboll, Nabers and the Giants as a whole, is that the Nabers pick will also be judged against the quarterback decision the Giants made at the same time.

If Daniel Jones follows the career arc of Phil Simms, who did not firmly establish himself as a top quarterback the Giants could win with until the sixth year of his NFL career, then everything in Giants-land is hunky-dory. The Giants have their quarterback, and a cadre of receiving weapons with Nabers, Jalin Hyatt, Wan’Dale Robinson and Darius Slayton.

If Jones can’t once again be at least what he was in 2022, if he is — egads!!! — the shell-shocked, overwhelmed 2023 version that we saw — then the Giants have a problem.

Then, unless the Giants can quickly and effectively find a solution to the quarterback issue the Nabers selection will always be judged against the “what-ifs?’ As in ‘what-if?’ McCarthy, Penix or Nix — especially McCarthy since he was the quarterback most likely to be targeted at No. 6 — go on to have great NFL careers while the Giants can’t find a quarterback to maximize Nabers’ talent.

For Jones, this is a great opportunity. He now has a young, diverse, play-making receiver group to throw the ball to. He has a capable tight end in Daniel Bellinger and a capable lead running back in Devin Singletary, though the Giants could use more at both spots. With the free agent additions made, he should have a serviceable offensive line in front of him. He has excellent offensive coaches in Daboll and Mike Kafka crafting the offense.

Can Jones make the Giants right? Or, will passing on McCarthy haunt them no matter how good Nabers becomes?

That is the question that still hangs in the air.

A few other thoughts

  • I won’t be surprised if the Giants select South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler on Friday night. He’s the top-rated QB left, and I still believe it is a good idea for the Giants to add to that position.
  • What the heck were the Atlanta Falcons thinking? I mean, c’mon, drafting Penix at No. 8 after signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal. Doesn’t seem to matter who is running the Falcons — they’re still the confusing Falcons.
  • Speaking of head-scratching, why would the Buffalo Bills swap spots with the Kansas City Chiefs, allowing Kansas City to go up and get speedy wide receiver Xavier Worthy, thus making it more difficult for the Bills to get past the Chiefs in the AFC? Brandon Beane better have something in mind other than collecting picks.
  • I think the Big Blue View Big Board held up incredibly well. Check it out here.
  • Speaking of the Big Board, there are 12 cornerbacks still available with Round 3 or higher grades. I think I will be surprised if one of them does not become a Giant Friday night.

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