ESPN's Louis Riddick and NFL Analyst Greg Cosell preview the 2018 NFL Draft:
The clock is ticking, and the 2018 NFL Draft is nine days away.
The Giants hold the second overall pick, the team's highest selection since taking Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor No. 2 in the 1981 Draft.
So who will the Giants take next Thursday night?
To preview the draft, ESPN's Louis Riddick and Greg Cossell held a conference call with reporters on Monday to evaluate prospects and discuss how they expect these players to transition to the NFL. Riddick is a former NFL player and personnel executive who is currently an ESPN analyst. Cosell is an NFL analyst and the nephew of iconic broadcaster Howard Cosell.
Riddick, who interviewed with the Giants for the team's general manager position before Dave Gettleman was hired, understands why the team might look to grab its potential quarterback of the future.
"The more I think about it, the more I realize that you should be considering the future as far as Eli [Manning] is concerned and will you have the chance to get a quarterback that you can now sit and park behind him, have him learn, and hopefully be your quarterback for the next 10-12 years, hopefully two or three contracts down the road," Riddick said. "They may not ever be in this position again. You don't want to be in this position again. I can understand why that is a strong argument and a strong consideration for them."
So does Riddick project the Giants to grab Manning's potential heir apparent? Not so fast.
"I think Saquon Barkley is just a special kid, I really do," Riddick said. "I think he will help Eli because he will give him someone who he can turn around and hand the ball off to between 25 and 28 times a game. His versatility as far as being able to catch the ball out of the backfield, his willingness to pass protect, his willingness and ability to help this offense overall, as far as ball control will make the defense better…that would be my pick."
Another option would be on defense.
"[A] guy who projects very well to the scheme that James Bettcher will run there is obviously Bradley Chubb, who can play in a two-point, play out of the three-point, is very multiple like that, and is just like Chandler Jones," Riddick said. "When you think about it, he'd be perfect for a team like this…That's the kind of player who would fit well with the Giants as well."
As for the quarterbacks, Riddick and Cossell broke down the top-tier of signal-callers:
On Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen:
Riddick: "He's big, he's physical, he's got big hands, he's played in bad weather, he's got the biggest arm, he can drive it through the AFC North's bad weather in November and December. So, yeah, (being picked by the Browns at No. 1) makes sense. But he's the guy who from an accuracy standpoint will look like a Hall of Famer one play and then look like he's going to break your heart and looks like he can't hit the broad side of the barn the next play. So you tell me what you're going to get out of Josh Allen. Now, has he improved during the pre-draft run-up process? Yeah, he has. We'll see."
Cosell: "The Browns will have a big-time receiver in Josh Gordon, assuming he's on the field. In that kind of offense, I think you're asking your quarterback to make a lot of difficult throws. Someone like Josh Allen did that in college with an offense like that where there are individual isolation routes."
On USC quarterback Sam Darnold:
Riddick: "The guy is a gamer, the guy who plays Brett Favre-like. [He] doesn't always make it look pretty, but he's the guy who people think in the clutch is the guy you would want on the football field, someone who's working really hard on his mechanics and his consistency in the pocket as far as how he delivers the ball from a platform standpoint so he can be more consistent. So is he a finished product? No, not by any means at all."
Cosell: "He's much more of a baller at this point than a nuanced, technical quarterback. So the question is, where do you fall on that spectrum between being kind of a pocket-technician with pocket efficiency, which Darnold needs a lot of work in that area, versus sort of a second-reaction playmaker, which, if we were having this conversation 10 or 15 years ago, no one would even be discussing that. But now a lot of people discuss that, and a lot of people like that as a top two or three trait to be an NFL quarterback. And Darnold certainly gives you that trait more than he gives you pocket efficiency."
On UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen:
Riddick: "Quite honestly, from a prototypical pro-style quarterback is the best one to me by far. He is smooth as silk in the pocket. He is smooth as silk pre-snap, the pocket, post-snap. How he moves defenders with his eyes, how he moves defenders with pump fakes, how he can subtly buy time within the pocket…He's not the kind of guy who's going to get out on the perimeter and be a dual run-pass threat. He has a very high football IQ. I do not right now disparage him for his outside interests and all the other things he has going on in his life at a young age. I'd want to know more about him because he plays the game like someone who really cares about the game."
On Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield:
Riddick: "Baker Mayfield is my favorite because he's an 11-on-11 gamer. That's what he is. And it's not going to be a problem for him from the mental standpoint. From everything I've been told, he'll be able to handle all of that. The offense down at Oklahoma under Lincoln Riley is one where on first and second down, yeah, it leads to a lot of big throwing windows because they have a great play-action passing game. Well, so do a lot of football teams in the NFL. Have you ever seen Kansas City's play-action passing game? It's as good as there is. Baker will be able to tear people apart on first and second down because he's used to that type of offense that they ran at Oklahoma. Third down, when you're watching Oklahoma also, he's very good at scanning the entire field. You know he can buy time. He has a heck of an arm. It should never be an issue and he's as accurate as heck. The only thing that people are going to be worried about, obviously, is the size (6-0, 214). I say no one's worried about Drew Brees' size, all that is (just) trying to knock the kid down. And they're going to worry about him a little bit off the field and he needs to answer those questions.''
Cosell: "I like Baker Mayfield a lot. I think his tape is really interesting. When you watch him on tape, he's not what the perception is. He's not a run-around quarterback. But the NFL passing games too have changed a lot. Each and every year, there's more quick-gain, there's more three-step, there's more five-step…I'm not saying that you want every quarterback to be six feet, but I'm not sure that height is as much of an issue as it was years ago when passing games were not quite like this."