Last week, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that the Giants have not done much work scouting Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins because he “doesn’t fit” their team. Haskins is a consensus first-round pick and a popular target for the Giants in mock drafts. Per Russini, the reason the Giants don’t think Haskins is a good fit is likely because of his lack of mobility.
There’s a possibility this could all be a smokescreen, but it raises an interesting question: Are teams becoming so used to scouting and designing offenses for the new wave of dynamic athletes playing the position that an old-school, pocket-passing quarterback will fall on draft night?
Haskins is a traditional pocket passer. One evaluator I spoke to said too much is being made of Haskins’s lack of mobility right now, and was surprised by the speculation that the Giants aren’t doing a lot of work on him because of his lack of mobility. Another veteran scout pointed out the contradiction if the Giants pass on Haskins because he’s not mobile enough: “He’s a lot more mobile than the guy they won two Super Bowls with.”
And even though athletic quarterbacks are the trend, the last teams left standing the past few seasons have typically been led by classic pocket passers. The last four Super Bowls have featured Tom Brady (three times), Jared Goff, Nick Foles, Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. (Newton’s usage on designed runs makes him an outlier, but he operates within the pocket on passing plays.)
The Giants have said they are standing behind Eli Manning as their starter, so it’s possible they go defense with the sixth overall pick (they also pick 17th overall, a selection acquired in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to Cleveland). Or they could wait for next year’s class, headlined by Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm. If they aren’t sold on any of the quarterbacks in this draft, waiting another year is the safest choice. The Jets and the Browns passed on quarterbacks when both teams needed one in 2017 (Cleveland drafted defensive end Myles Garrett first overall and the Jets drafted safety Jamal Adams sixth overall). A year later, both teams drafted their quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.
Of course, if the Giants do like Haskins, they could package the sixth and 17th picks to move into the top five and guarantee they get their man. Haskins will throw at Ohio State’s pro day on Wednesday, and much will be made of how many Giants scouts or coaches will attend. A source said Haskins has already begun meeting with teams in advance of his pro day, some of whom are not quarterback-needy. Whether or not the Giants contingent is watching, the rest of the league will be paying close attention.
THE WEEK IN PRO DAYS: The pro day circuit rolls on this week, with Alabama on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide will have 20 prospects working out, including a handful of first-round prospects: DT Quinnen Williams, RB Josh Jacobs, OT Jonah Williams, and TE Irv Smith Jr. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock will throw on Thursday at Missouri’s pro day, and Kentucky’s pro day on Friday will draw big numbers of scouts to see edge rusher Josh Allen work out.
MISC: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that combine doctors took a thorough look at Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat because of a pre-existing heart condition that was not known publicly before the combine. Sweat was allowed to participate in his combine workout because his issue was determined to be low-risk. I asked a few scouts whether this would change their opinion on Sweat, and the consensus was that it shouldn’t affect his draft stock.
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