Louisville Lamar Jackson
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Coming off a 3-13 season and with Eli Manning now 37, the consensus belief is that the New York Giants have to take a quarterback in this year’s draft. Lamar Jackson should be that guy.

It makes perfect sense for the New York Giants to look for Eli Manning’s successor in the 2018 NFL Draft, especially given the fact that Davis Webb hasn’t taken a snap in the NFL, and that the regime that drafted him is gone.

Good news for the Giants is this year there are several talented quarterbacks in this draft class. The class is so deep that the Giants don’t have to look for their future quarterback with the second pick in the draft.

Instead, they can wait until the second round and take Louisville Cardinals quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson with the 34th overall pick.

In his three years with the Cardinals, Jackson threw for 9,043 yards, 69 touchdowns, and 27 interceptions.

At 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, he has the ideal height that you want in an NFL quarterback, but he will need to add some muscle given the physical nature of the league.

Despite having a stellar college career, Jackson is not projected to go in the first round based on several mock drafts, including one from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

 

If the Giants believe this is the feeling around the league then they should strongly consider using their second overall pick in the draft and either take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or trade down to acquire more picks and take the best available offensive lineman with their first pick.

New York Giants

Being able to take a quarterback that can beat you with his arm and legs in the second round is too good for the Giants to pass up.

It’s true that, traditionally, the Giants have always preferred a pocket passer over a dual-threat quarterback. But general manager Dave Gettleman knows the benefit of having a dual-threat quarterback.

After all, he watched Cam Newton lead Carolina to a 40-23-1 record, four NFC South division titles and a trip to Super Bowl 50—in a season when he was named NFL MVP—during his time as the Panthers’ GM.

So being able to acquire a quarterback with skills similar to Newton’s has to be in the back of Gettleman’s mind.

It’s surprising that Jackson is not projected to go in the first round given how comparable his passing statistics are to the top four quarterbacks in this draft: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Baker Mayfield.

Here’s a comparison on Jackson statistics compared to the projected top four quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.

PlayerCompletionsAttemptsYardsComp. %TDINTQB Rating
Darnold3034804,14363.12613148.1
Rosen2834523,72662.62610147.0
Allen1522701,81256.3166127.8
Mayfield2854044,62770.5436198.9
Jackson2544303,66059.12710146.6

With the exception of Mayfield, Jackson’s numbers are comparable to the rest of the quarterbacks listed. He also has as much upside to succeed at the next level as any of the other four quarterbacks. That some of those quarterbacks are projected to go 30 picks or more ahead of Jackson is what makes him the possible steal of the draft.

Jackson also ran the ball 232 times for 1,601 yards and 18 touchdowns. His speed and elusiveness have drawn comparisons to Michael Vick.

His ability to throw and run has also drawn the comparison to Houston Texan quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson was lighting up the league, throwing for 19 touchdowns and adding two more on the ground before a torn ACL cut his season short.

Jackson will need to work on his touch when throwing the intermediate routes, but this is something he can work on with head coach Pat Shurmur, who is considered a quarterback guru.

 

Jackson’s versatility will open up the playbook for Shurmur’s playing calling which could produce explosive results when you factor in the playmakers the Giants have on offense such as Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram.

The Giants could have Jackson sit behind Manning and learn from him and Shurmur, and then become the starter when Manning’s contract runs out following the 2019 season or perhaps after 2018 if Manning has a down year.

There are several directions the Giants can go early in the draft. Gettleman and Shurmur are in mutual agreement that they have to build the offensive line. They can address that need in round one, and then grab their quarterback of the future in Jackson in round two.

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