Roger Goodell uttering the name “Daniel Jones” served as perhaps the most shocking moment of the draft, and the decision that led to the commissioner reading that card did not come easy for the Giants.
Dave Gettleman had another name in mind, in the event the Giants felt their short-term need at defensive end was too great to ignore at No. 6. The second-year Giants GM said (via NBC Sports’ Peter King) the decision to bypass Josh Allen for Jones was “agonizing.”
“I agonized over that,” Gettleman said. “I agonized. Before the draft, we discussed that thoroughly as a group — first last Friday, then again Wednesday. Obviously we had great regard for Josh Allen. But the one thing I have learned is you don’t fool around with a quarterback. If he’s your guy, you take him.”
Gettleman said post-draft he knew of two teams that would have taken Jones before the Giants’ No. 17 pick. The Jaguars snapped up Allen at No. 7, doing so despite not expecting the Kentucky edge rusher to be there. Jacksonville was expecting to make a decision between T.J. Hockenson and Jonah Williams, with Albert Breer of SI.com noting Hockenson was the Jags’ likely pick had the Giants gone with Allen as many expected. After the Jags’ Allen pivot, the Lions took Hockenson at No. 8.
The Giants have possessed three top-six picks since 2004, the first of those leading to Eli Manning and the second producing Saquon Barkley. Gettleman did not indicate last year he had any kind of debate between choosing Barkley or Sam Darnold. A year later, the Giants GM said his team might not have another near-future chance to grab a top quarterback prospect without sacrificing plenty in a trade, helping lead the Giants to Jones this year.
“There are no guarantees. So the bottom line is, if you believe this kid can get you to the promised land, why wait?” Gettleman said, via Breer. “You have to have confidence in what you’re doing. You’re drafting players. The team will be better. Now, what happens next year? What if you don’t take him this year, and next year you’re picking 22? You’re going to have to move heaven and earth. This is the closest we’re going to get. It made the most sense.”
The Giants did not leave Manning in the dark about the Jones decision. He called the Giants’ 16th-year quarterback while on the clock at No. 6. Gettleman said Manning could potentially be Big Blue’s starter for multiple additional seasons.
“I was on the phone with Eli. I told him, ‘You’re our quarterback, let’s go,'” Gettleman said, via Breer. “And by the way, we’re drafting the Jones kid, and your job is to be the best quarterback you can be and help us win. It’s his responsibility to crawl up your fanny and learn.”
New York attempted to trade up to land Denver’s pick at No. 10, but the Broncos went with the Steelers’ proposal instead, King reports. It’s possible the Giants wanted to trade up to land Rashan Gary or Brian Burns, whom the Packers and Panthers respectively selected. The Giants selected defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at No. 17.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.