It was February 25th, a few days away from the NFL Combine when www.giants.com uploaded their latest ‘Mock Draft Tracker’ which included a full round of media professionals making their bold predictions as for that the G-men will do with the #6 overall pick.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com; Dwayne Haskins. Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN; Dwayne Haskins. Todd McShay, ESPN; Dwayne Haskins. Matt Miller, Bleacher Report; Dwayne Haskins. Chad Reuter, NFL.com; Dwayne Haskins. Pete Prisco, CBS Sports; Dwayne Haskins. Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports; Dwayne Haskins. Kalyn Kahler, Monday Morning Quarterback; Dwayne Haskins. Luke Easterling, USA TODAY; Dwayne Haskins. Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News; Dwayne Haskins. Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report; Dwayne Haskins.
Dwayne Haskins, Dwayne Haskins, Dwayne Haskins. Stop me if you’ve heard of the name Dwayne Haskins.
The kid is everywhere, and at one point it seemed absolutely nailed on to fans and media reporters alike that the New York Giants would not only snap up the New Jersey-born pocket-passer at #6, but they’d even trade up into the top three if it meant landing their new franchise quarterback.
Fast-forward to April 15th, well past both the NFL Draft Combine and the Pro Day’s, and just ten days away from the main event itself, the NFL Draft 2019. Let’s take a look at that mock draft full of Haskins tips again…
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN; Dwayne Haskins. Todd McShay, ESPN; Dwayne Haskins. Matt Miller, Bleacher Report; Dwayne Haskins. Nate Davis, USA TODAY; Dwayne Haskins. Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports; Dwayne Haskins. Brad Kelly, The Draft Network; Dwayne Haskins.
From what once was 11 of 20 reporters expecting the Giants to draft Haskins, to now only 6 of 18 making that assumption, it’s time to wonder what has happened in those two months to change so many minds about the Ohio State quarterback. Why is his draft stock dropping all of a sudden?
According to Peter King of NBC Sports, Haskins’ draft stock is plummeting, with the likelihood being that he falls closer to the Giants’ #17 pick, rather than as high as pick number #6. King even said he’d heard that Haskins is starting to be viewed as the fourth-best passer in the draft, after Kyler Murray, Drew Lock and even Daniel Jones.
One of the most off-putting factors about drafting Haskins has to be his lack of starter experience at the collegiate level. As spectacular as his 2018 was, he had previously played in just eight games in the NCAA, making his total college career just 22 games long. Is a top ten pick far too valuable to risk on a guy who only played as a starter for one full year? Quite possibly. If you look at Drew Lock, for example, the guy has played 50 games for Missouri, which is more than double Haskins managed.
Another potential worrying factor? His 40-yard dash score in the combine. Okay, realistically a quarterback isn’t expected to be running under 4.5, with a 4.8 a very respectable time indeed. Haskins ran a 5.04, which psychologically being above that 5-second mark has earned him the label of being ‘slow’. A quarterback that is light on their toes and able to tuck and run for a first down is quietly being a facet of the role that is more desired than ever. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, two first round picks from last year, both heavily rely on their ability to spot a gap and charge for the first down or more. It is probably Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson’s strongest asset, and he made the Pro Bowl 2019.
Additionally, did anyone notice the big omission from the list of players invited to the NFL Draft Opening Night? Where was Dwayne Haskins?
As per Mike Freeman in an article on Bleacher Report, he said: “Normally, when a huge name like Haskins doesn’t go to the draft, it’s because that player’s camp believes he could experience a precipitous drop, and his handlers don’t want him embarrassed on national television. Haskins’ people likely will deny this, but generally, this is true.”
How many teams need to ‘win now’? Drafting Dwayne Haskins has begun to dawn on many teams as a luxury they cannot afford. Sure, his 2018 stats had people salivating and expecting him to go at least top six, however, given his lack of experience, teams have been slowly coming round to the fact that he may need a season or two sitting behind a seasoned veteran. Unlike Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, or even Baker Mayfield, who all became starters at their respective team at least by Week 4, Haskins probably is a little too raw to take on the same kind of responsibility.
So the question remains: having spent an entire season taking beatings, only to emerge with the chance to select one of the top ten players in the country coming out of college, do you really want someone who won’t even make the team in 2019?
Teams want guys to play almost straight away, that’s the cold, hard truth. There are very few teams these days who believe they can afford to be patient with their team and put winning a decent amount of games on the back-burner for another year. Look at the Giants for example. Moving on from Beckham Jr was a bold move, but they didn’t replace him with a cheap imitation, they paid a handsome price to bring in a Super Bowl winner in Golden Tate.
This is why the Giants will draft the best player they can on paper, and have him lining up in the side ready to go in Week 1. For the team’s who want a quarterback, Lock and Jones are seeing their stock rise because they’ve been ‘tried and tested’ through three or four full seasons of Division One football.
Dwayne Haskins will still be a first round pick, you’d bet your house on it, but don’t be too surprised if you get to pick 12 or 13 and he’s still on the board.
Featured Image: Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY