Whenever the New York Giants have to replace Eli Manning — and that could be sooner than they want to admit — they’ll have to look back at their decision to take a running back over all the quarterbacks available to them in the first round Thursday.
Saquon Barkley is a great prospect, the best running back prospect in years, and he’s going to the Giants after they took him second overall in the 2018 NFL draft. That will help Manning and the offense as a whole. He will be a good player. But in the era of devalued running backs, taking one second overall doesn’t seem like the most prudent move. Especially in the Giants’ case.
There was a report that the Denver Broncos were trying to move up to No. 2, from No. 5, to presumably take USC’s Sam Darnold. Darnold, somewhat surprisingly, fell after the Cleveland Browns took Baker Mayfield first overall. The Giants could have probably moved back, and maybe still selected Barkley (or pass rusher Bradley Chubb) and picked up extra picks. Or the Giants could have stayed put and taken Darnold to seamlessly replace Manning, who will be 37 this season. They could have also taken quarterbacks Josh Rosen or Josh Allen.
Instead, they stayed put and took Barkley. That’s one we’ll talk about a long time.
Barkley will have an instant impact, though that impact could be muted a bit because the Giants have a bad offensive line. But he’s a rare prospect. He’ll do just fine.
But if the Giants find themselves in a desperate situation at quarterback soon, they’ll definitely look back at that second overall pick in this draft.
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