NFL Draft Talk Volume XLIX
As the NFL draft draws closer and closer here are some questions that are circulating that pertain to prospects and their draft stock as well as their potential and projected impacts at the next level. How far will Dwayne Haskins fall if the New York Giants pass on him at No.6 overall? The former Ohio State Buckeye and 2018 Heisman trophy finalist who led the FBS in touchdown passes with 50 in his first and only season as the team’s starter is widely viewed as the second-best quarterback in this year’s draft. Some draft experts even see him as the top prospect at the position. While he is not in the conversation for the No.1 overall pick in any mock drafts and the Arizona Cardinals, who hold the top selection, have expressed no interest in Haskins throughout the pre-draft process, he is expected to be the second quarterback to come off the board after Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Early on he was being mocked to the New York Giants who hold the sixth overall pick and are in need of a young passer to eventually supplant Eli Manning as the franchise quarterback. However, recent reports have surfaced that are leading many experts to believe that the Giants might forgo taking the next face of the franchise in the top 10 and will opt to take him with their second first-round pick at 17th overall. They acquired the pick from the Cleveland Browns in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade last month. There is an extremely low probability that Haskins would still be on the board by the time they’re on the clock for the second time on the opening night of the draft with some other teams also in need of a young heir apparent. So that begs the question of how far Haskins will fall if the Giants do indeed decide to pass on him at six. The next team that might be tempted to take him would be the Cincinnati Bengals at 11th overall since current starter Andy Dalton has no more guaranteed money left on his current deal and new Head Coach Zac Taylor might want to usher in the new era with a fresh face under center in the coming years. The next possible team would be the Miami Dolphins who are believed to be in full rebuild mode but might believe they could have a shot at contending in the immediate future if a quarterback of Haskins caliber falls in their lap at 13th overall. His free fall would likely come to a screeching halt at 15th overall because the Washington Redskins would be beyond allayed if he were to be available to them at this part of the draft. Even though they traded for Case Keenum this offseason and with Alex Smiths health as well as his career up in the air following his leg injury, they very well might have their eye on the future if he is there. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman might look like mastermind if he is able to get the pass rusher that they covet at six and scoop up Haskins at 17. What makes the pair of Buckeye receivers more than just deep threats? Sticking with the Ohio State theme, Haskins’ top targets last season were Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin who expected to hear their names called in the first few rounds of the draft next week. They combined for nearly 2,000 receiving yards and accounted for about a third of Haskins’ completions with 125 receptions and hauled in almost half of his nation-leading 50 touchdowns passes with 23 in their senior seasons. Both of them possess tremendous vertical speed and are regarded as two of the best deep threats in this year’s loaded receiver class. Campbell’s blazing 4.31 time in the 40-yard dash tied for the fastest among all receivers at the Combine and McLaurin was a quick strike machine for the Buckeyes as his 20 yards per reception in 2018 suggests. While neither of them ran an extensive route tree in the spread offense that they were in while at Ohio State, most of which were quick screens, shallow/deep crossers and vertical routes, they have both displayed a lot of other diverse qualities that show they are more complete receivers and not just one trick ponies. Each of them has seen their draft stock rise throughout the pre-draft process after showing off their refined route running skills at the Reese’ Senior Bowl as well as in their impressive performances in the on-field drills at the combine. Their incredible speed is also complemented by their ability to track and high point the ball when it is in the air and Campbell is a converted running back, so he is especially elusive in the open field once he gets the ball in his hands. He’s considered an early second round pick that could sneak into the bottom of the first and McLaurin could go anywhere from the second to the fourth round.