If the Giants decide to invest a draft pick in their Quarterback of the Future this year, GM Dave Gettleman made it clear he's not looking for a project. Sure, great quarterbacks have been found in almost all rounds of the NFL Draft.
But most of them have come from the first round. And that's where Gettleman plans to look.
"Yeah. The Cliffs notes answer is yes," Gettleman said at the NFL scouting combine when asked if he thought the place to find a franchise quarterback is Round 1. "History will tell you, if you do your studies, you look at the Qs and all the great Qs went early."
Not all of them, of course, but most of them. And there are a higher percentage of ones that made it out of the early rounds than ones that made it later. More to the point, if the Giants find someone they believe can be the next Eli Manning and carry their franchise for a decade, why wait? It's the most important position in sports. Why would they pass on a surer thing to take a chance on a project in the later rounds?
With that said, there are five quarterbacks in this draft that most NFL scouts, talent evaluators and "experts" believe are first-round worthy. In fact, one NFL personnel executive said "I'd bet on four quarterbacks going in the Top 20."
So here's a look at the Big 5, how the NFL views them, where they might be drafted, and the chances the Giants will take them if any of them fall into their laps in the first round:
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Generally acknowledged to be one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft, though his 5-foot-10 height concerns some teams. It might not matter, though. Many NFL people have been convinced since February that the Arizona Cardinals are going to take him with the first overall pick. And if they don't, it's hard to imagine he'd get by the Oakland Raiders at 4.
There's also the wild card of the Jets pick at 3. The Jets are willing and eager to trade down if someone wants him, like maybe the Cincinnati Bengals at 11 if the Jets would consider dropping that far.
Teams to watch: Cardinals (1), Raiders (4), Bengals (11)
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 6: 5 percent
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 17: 0 percent
Would the Giants take him?: Unlikely at 6. They have long been an organization that loves measurables and Murray comes up … well, short. They also seem to be looking for more of a traditional pocket passer. At 17? Sure, but dream on.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Long regarded as the best pure-pocket passer in the draft, the rumor mill has been churning lately that his stock is slipping. That's hard to tell, of course, since the two weeks before the draft is like a liar's convention around the league.
The Giants liked him when they scouted and met with him. The only question they've had was whether they liked him enough to take him at 6, because they didn't - and don't - believe he'd be available at 17. The Raiders seem to like him too, though it's unclear how much. And the Jets are again in play here at 3 since most teams figure that if they want Haskins they need to get ahead of the Giants, just in case.
Teams to watch: Raiders (4), Giants (6), Broncos (10), Bengals (11), Dolphins (13), Redskins (15)
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 6: 85 percent
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 17: 25 percent
Would the Giants take him?: Possibly, though they seem to be focused on taking a defensive player with the sixth pick. If he got to 17, They'd probably do it. Some NFL people think he might get that far, but with so many QB-needy teams between 6 and 17, that seems unlikely.
Drew Lock, Missouri
He began this process being compared to Jay Cutler both for his personality and for his strong, but not-always-accurate arm. But he's apparently impressed a lot of teams in his private interviews, and scouts seem to be sounding a little bit higher on his overall skills.
There are people in the Giants' organization who like him. Again, the question for them is: Do they like him enough to take him at 6? And again, it doesn't appear so at the moment. That's the place to get him, though, because many around the NFL have been convinced for months that John Elway is … well, locked in on him with the 10th overall pick. The Dolphins could be interested in jumping up for him, too.
Teams to watch: Raiders (4), Giants (6), Broncos (10), Dolphins (13), Redskins (15)
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 6: 90 percent
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 17: 5 percent
Would the Giants take him?: They might talk about it at some point in the next few weeks, and weigh Haskins vs. Lock vs. a defensive player. But it still seems like a defensive player is going to be the choice. Would they take him at 17? Yes. But if he gets close they'd probably have to trade up a few spots, which doesn't sound like something they want to do.
Daniel Jones, Duke
This has been a popular choice for the Giants for a while - at 17, not 6. But it's always been hard to tell if the connection is real, or just an assumption based on the obvious connections - that he was coached by David Cutcliffe, who coached Manning and is known and trusted by Pat Shurmur and many in the Giants' organization.
No doubt that endorsement is strong. No doubt the Giants think highly of his skills. He wasn't the most productive college quarterback, though, and could need a few years to truly develop. That could play into the Giants' plans. It also seems likely he'd be available at 17, though if Murray, Haskins and Lock are gone, they might have to trade up to be safe.
Teams to watch: Dolphins (13), Giants (17), Chargers (28), Patriots (32)
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 6: 100 percent
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 17: 90 percent
Would the Giants take him?: There's no way the Giants would take him at 6, but if they do decide to take a quarterback in the first round, taking Jones at 17 might be the most plausible scenario (assuming Lock and Haskins are gone by then). He's likely to still be available. If he needs time to develop, that's fine with the Giants. They could get a top offensive lineman here, though, and that's going to be tempting. At this point, it's probably 50-50 that Jones would be the guy if he's here, and it would depend on who else is still on the board.
Will Grier, West Virginia
He is definitely the fifth of the five by most accounts, both for his ability and, for some, his demeanor. He comes across as cocky, but more importantly, he plays that way. The best definition is "gunslinger" - someone not afraid to try any throw, no matter what. Some coaches love that. The Giants prefer a more managed, methodical approach. Add in what some scouts consider an "OK" or "average" arm, and worries that he was the product of a college system, he's thought of generally as a second-rounder - though a team taking a late-round flier on him isn't out of the question.
Teams to watch: Chargers (28), Patriots (32)
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 6: 100 percent
Chances he slips to the Giants at No. 17: 100 percent
Would the Giants take him?: Not in the first round, and probably not in the second (with the 37th overall pick). His grade might warrant a second-round pick, but Gettleman made it clear that if he's shopping for quarterbacks he's doing it in Round 1.