Six games in and the Giants might as well already be back on the clock for the NFL draft.
After passing on a potential franchise quarterback last April and going with Saquon Barkley, the Giants may have another top pick in 2019 to grab a replacement for Eli Manning. At 1-5 following Thursday night’s loss to the Eagles, the only question now is how high the pick will be.
While this year’s crop of QB prospects is not as highly regarded as last year’s — which featured Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen — and not as star-studded as the 2020 list — Tua Tagovailoa or Jake Fromm anyone? — here’s a look at who may be worth keeping an eye on Saturdays the rest of the fall. Then there is a list of veterans the Giants could consider who could be available next offseason.
Justin Herbert, Oregon
Herbert has often been under the radar, lightly recruited out of high school before suddenly taking over starting duties as a freshman. The 6-foot-6, 233-pound quarterback broke his collarbone as a sophomore but has looked strong coming back this season. Across three years with the Ducks, he has completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 5,330 yards, 49 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Drew Lock, Missouri
He’s got the prototypical size at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds and landed on the radar with a breakout junior year in 2017, when he passed for 3,964 yards, 44 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. But he’s been a bit shaky in SEC play this year, with no touchdowns and three interceptions in two games. His modest 59.9 percent completion rating is a career high, perhaps making him the Josh Allen of this class.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
His stats are not as gaudy as some of his counterparts’ — 101-for-168, 1,177 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions — but he led the Tigers to the SEC Championship game last year and has drawn comparisons to Derek Carr. After playing at Baylor as a freshman, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder transferred to Auburn and put his strong arm on display.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
He’s only in his second year of playing but the redshirt-sophomore will be draft eligible, and if he keeps playing the way he has been, declaring may be an easy choice. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Haskins has completed 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,919 yards, 25 touchdowns and four interceptions for the 6-0 Buckeyes.
Will Grier, West Virginia
As a redshirt freshman at Florida, Grier failed a PED test, which ultimately led to his transfer to West Virginia. His 6-foot-2, 223-pound frame has often looked smaller to scouts who have seen him in person, but no one seems to doubt his ability to make plays. Through five games this year, he’s completed 71.2 percent of his passes for 1,819 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Ryan Finley, NC State:
He could have declared for last year’s draft but instead opted to go back to school for a fifth year as a redshirt senior for the Wolfpack. The 6-foot-4, 212-pounder was ranked as the No. 1 QB prospect in August by ESPN analyst Todd McShay and has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 1,621 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
This all could have been easier if the Jets had done the Giants a solid and traded them Bridgewater, but instead they sent him to the Saints to back up Drew Brees. In Jets camp, Bridgewater proved he is healthy again after his horrific knee injury and he will be a free agent this offseason, looking to build off his pre-injury success with the Vikings.
The Buccaneers may just want to sever ties with what appears to be a doomed No. 1 draft selection. And while the Giants may not want to touch him either — particularly in light of his controversial life off the field — the former Heisman Trophy winner could still have the potential to turn it around with a fresh start.
The Browns traded for him from the Bills to start while Baker Mayfield was being groomed, but once Taylor entered concussion protocol against the Jets, Mayfield took over for good. Taylor didn’t exactly inspire much confidence when he did start, but he will be a free agent and has proved serviceable in the past.
With Carson Wentz back healthy, Foles could become expendable after the Eagles passed on trading him last offseason. He led them to a Super Bowl but was not great in two starts this season and had a spotty track record prior to last season’s postseason heroics.
If Lamar Jackson is ready to take over, the Ravens could consider releasing the veteran and his hefty cap number. Flacco has fallen off from the Super Bowl quarterback he once was but has been steady enough to keep the Ravens in contention for the most part.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden has already traded his best defensive player, why not his quarterback? Gruden has been critical of Carr through the team’s 1-4 start and the head coach has been proven to be nothing if not unpredictable since returning from his 10-year hiatus.