Yes, the New York Giants need to look to the future for their replacement at quarterback. No, the 2017 NFL Draft is not the time to do so. This is a weak quarterback class and there is no rush to nab a successor for Eli Manning. They could even wait till the third or fourth round to try and groom a quarterback. There are more pressing needs for the Giants, and they need to hit a home run on their first round selection. Here are the four players that I think the Giants may end up selecting in the first round.
New York Giants Potential First Round Picks
Every single Giants fan has heard this young man’s name. Ryan Ramczyk is a left tackle out of Wisconsin. He is solid in both rush and pass protection, something that the Giants desperately need. Ramczyk has the prototype build to be a left tackle in the big leagues; he is 6’6″ and 314 pounds. His downside is he needs to put on some more muscle. He has a narrow frame, which could be easily fixed by getting a bit bulkier. Additionally, he is coming off a hip injury, which is why his stock has fallen in the first place. If Ramczyk is available when the Giants pick, he will be selected to replace Ereck Flowers. Flowers will probably be given a chance to redeem himself on the right side, but Ramczyk will immediately be given the chance to run away with the left tackle job.
Here is another interesting option for the Giants. O.J. Howard was very underused at tight end by Alabama. His senior season, he only had 45 receptions for 595 yards and three touchdowns. So why is he so highly touted? In two CFP National Championship Games, he had nine receptions, 314 yards, and three touchdowns. This was against the number two team both seasons. He is everything a team could ask for in a tight end. He has height at 6’6″, he has tremendous speed and acceleration, and he can block.
A down side of Howard, something said by many different analysts, is he going to want to work hard? Since his numbers do not depict the picture his talent describes, does he actually want to be the best possible tight end he could be? From recent interviews, it seems he wants to continue to grow. If Howard is on the board when the Giants pick, he sure will be hard to pass on.
A position in which the Giants have been lacking for a long time, Zach Cunningham would be a significant upgrade to the Giants linebacking corps. Is linebacker the most critical need? Not at all. However, the Giants could really use a Pro Bowl linebacker, something they have lacked since the days of Antonio Pierce. Cunningham is a three down linebacker, one who is phenomenal in run defense and can also be a very solid player in pass coverage. He ended the season with 125 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, three passes deflected, two forced fumbles. There is nothing to dislike about Cunningham. It is looking very likely he will go to the Miami Dolphins one pick before the Giants because they are in desperate need of a linebacker. If he is available, Jerry Reese will have a very big decision to make.
Now this is the most interesting prospect in this year’s draft. Nobody actually knows where he will fall. He could be a top ten pick after his stellar showing in the CFP National Championship Game, or he could slip out of the first round entirely. Many analysts are saying he could be the Teddy Bridgewater of this draft, rated highly by fans, but not by general managers. However, if he is available at the Giants pick, he could be their selection. Deshaun Watson would be coming into a system in which already has a potential Hall of Famer at the quarterback position. Eli Manning could be a great mentor for Watson, and Watson would have no pressure to start right out of the gate. He would play the Aaron Rodgers role, where he backed up Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre for three seasons.
Watson has the physical tools to be a quarterback at the next level. He is 6’3″, 215 pounds, and has the speed to elude pass rushers. He is a winner, something Giants fans will love to see. It will remind them a lot of Eli Manning as well. Watson is not afraid to throw the ball and although this results in a lot of interceptions, he has the poise and determination to stay calm in those big time situations. Nobody knows Watson’s draft position and although it is unlikely the Giants select him with their first round pick, he could very well be available with their second round pick depending how the draft plays out.