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Why the Giants ending up without a QB in the 2024 NFL Draft might not be the worst thing

History suggests not all six of the quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft will work out.

Most of them won’t, if previous drafts are any indicator.

So while the Giants came away without a QB in a year they reportedly tried to trade up for UNC’s Drake Maye and spent considerable pre-draft time with Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, that might not be the worst thing in the long run.

First-round NFL draft picks remain precious, especially when a team is selecting in the top 10. Missing on one that high – like the Giants did with Ereck Flowers in 2015 and Eli Apple a year later – can set back a franchise in need of top-end talent.

Missing on a quarterback usually extends the setback. Good quarterbacks are hard to find, and teams tend to stick with their investments at the position longer, hoping a prospect’s potential will turn into production. Coaches and general managers lose their jobs over it. It’s a vicious cycle.

Even in so-called “deep” quarterback drafts, the hit rate is low. Just look at 2021. Trevor Lawrence, whom the Jaguars selected No. 1 overall that year, has been good, but not great, thus far.

The other four first-round quarterbacks in that draft are already on new teams, having fizzled with the ones that drafted them.

The Jets traded No. 2 pick Zach Wilson to the Broncos last week. The 49ers moved on last year from Trey Lance, for whom they had traded a haul to take at No. 3. Justin Fields, drafted No. 11 by the Bears, is now a Steeler. Mac Jones, the Patriots’ pick at No. 15, is Lawrence’s backup in Jacksonville.

That 2021 draft shared similarities with this year’s. It was the last draft in which the top three picks were all quarterbacks. It featured a “can’t-miss” QB in Lawrence, just like this year’s top pick, Caleb Williams, who went to Chicago.

Lawrence and Fields had been touted for years as future NFL stars, just like Williams and Maye were coming into this year’s draft.

And that’s just one example. The 2018 draft also had five first-round quarterbacks. The third QB taken that year, Buffalo’s Josh Allen, and the fifth one off the board, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, are bonafide superstars.

But Baker Mayfield, who went first in that draft, bounced around before finally appearing to find a home with his fourth team, the Buccaneers. Sam Darnold didn’t make it with the Jets, who picked him at No. 3. Arizona took Josh Rosen at No. 10, then replaced him within a year. Rosen hasn’t thrown an NFL pass since 2021 and is currently unemployed.

Mitch Trubisky, Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles are among the other top-10 quarterbacks over the last decade who didn’t live up to expectations. Bryce Young, whom Panthers took first overall last year, has a long way to go after an unspectacular rookie year.

The Giants offer another example of the fickle nature of first-round QBs. They’ve invested twice in Daniel Jones – first by selecting with the sixth overall pick in 2019, and then by extending him last year – but still explored finding his replacement, reportedly offering New England multiple premium picks to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 to take Maye.

Jones has shown flashes as a passer and is an excellent runner, but a torn ACL and two neck injuries have complicated his future.

In the end, the Giants never had a chance to take Williams, Jayden Daniels (who went No. 2 to Washington) or Maye, whom the Patriots took after sticking at No. 3. They could have selected Michael Penix, who went No. 8 to the Falcons; McCarthy, who went No. 10 to the Vikings; or Bo Nix, who went No. 12 to Denver.

Instead, Schoen used the No. 6 pick on explosive LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers, whose chances of developing into a star seem much safer.

Five wide receivers went within the top 10 between 2021-22. Four of them – Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and Garrett Wilson – already boast at least two 1,000-yard seasons.

The other receiver taken, Atlanta’s Drake London, still managed seasons of 905 and 866 receiving yards, despite poor quarterback play. He should get a chance to improve those numbers this season with newly signed Kirk Cousins throwing to him.

As much as teams seemed to love Maye, concerns swirled among some talent evaluators about his footwork. McCarthy, who said on the “Rich Eisen Show” he spent more time with the Giants than any other team, wasn’t asked to do much on Michigan’s run-first offense, meaning he was drafted largely on potential.

McCarthy joins a Minnesota team with a solid offensive line and elite targets in Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison — a luxury he would not have received with the work-in-progress Giants. Maye, meanwhile, is tasked with leading a Patriots offense that’s struggled for years to develop playmakers.

The Giants still have much to figure out about their long-term solution at quarterback, but whoever it ends up being, he should benefit from having Nabers to throw to.


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