ATLANTA – Take me, please.
That, essentially, is what Dwayne Haskins is telling the Giants about the upcoming NFL Draft. They have the No. 6-overall pick and will definitely consider taking a quarterback at that spot. Haskins is considered the top quarterback in this draft class.
“I would love it,’’ Haskins said Friday from the Super Bowl’s radio row when asked if he would be fine with sitting, waiting and learning behind Eli Manning. “I grew up watching Eli Manning back when he had [Jeremy] Shockey and [Amani] Toomer and Plaxico [Burress]. I loved that team.’’
He loved that team because he grew up in Highland Park, N.J. It is one of the reasons he is eyeing the Giants.
“That’s where I’m from, New Jersey,’’ he said.
The Giants will study Haskins carefully in the coming weeks. They are committed to bringing back the 38-year old Manning for the final year of his contract in 2019, but are also serious, for the first time in his 15-year career, about finding his successor. Haskins is most likely the only quarterback they will consider with the No. 6 pick.
Is he worth it?
“Well, there are a lot of other positions that are going to have grades and I don’t do the draft until I get done with this stuff,’’ said Steve Mariucci, the former 49ers and Lions head coach, who now works for NFL Network. “There are a lot of good players at other positions that are going to have higher grades than these quarterbacks but as you know, quarterbacks are at a premium and people reach for them if you need one, so throw all the grades out the window.
“The needy teams rank the quarterbacks to their liking and then they grab one in the first round, because you have to have that guy. And I say that with reservation because the top six highest-paid quarterbacks in the league did not make the playoffs.’’
Are the Giants a quarterback-needy team?
“Yeah,’’ Mariucci said. “Perfect time to get one. Perfect. Eli’s not done and for somebody to sit behind Eli for even a year would be a huge benefit, just like Patrick Mahomes did with Alex Smith. Would be terrific. Like Aaron Rodgers had with Brett Favre. It would be terrific. Nobody wants to go three years but to sit behind somebody is a luxury.’’
Mariucci knows plenty about Haskins, having coached him in the Under Armour All-America Game when Haskins was coming out of high school. Haskins started one year at Ohio State and as a redshirt sophomore threw 50 touchdown passes — setting a Big Ten record — along with 4,834 yards as the Buckeyes went 13-1.
“I’ve known him now for a while and I’m proud that he has grown into the quarterback he is and the young man that he is,’’ Mariucci said. “I think he’s going to have a bright career. It’s gonna be fun where he gets drafted in regards to the other quarterbacks but it’s gonna be pretty high.’’