Over the next two weeks, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.
**DISCLAIMER: This is part of a project FOR FUN. All trades suggested are merely hypotheticals, and do not reflect my actual opinion of what will happen on draft day. Enjoy.**
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No. 8: The New York Giants
NYG’s Draft Pick: Ninth
NYG’s 2015 Cap Space: $16,921,246
NYG’s Top Needs: OL, LB, DE
Eli Manning was better this year than he was last year; that much is true. When one considers just how bad Manning was last year though, it’s not saying much. After leading the league with 27 interceptions in 2013, Manning saw his INT numbers shrink by half, back down to 14. The only problem? That still placed him in the top eight QBs in the league. Not only were his INT numbers still high, but he finished outside the top 14 QBs in completion percentage and QBR. In fact, the majority of Manning’s success this year appeared to solely come from the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr.
Maybe it was just coincidence, but for the first four games of the season Manning’s TD-to-INT ratio was 9:5, and once OBJ rejoined the lineup, his next four games saw that same ratio shift to 7:0. Perhaps Manning’s most telling stat, however, was his record against quality opponents. Although the blame obviously can’t be placed on him alone, his Giants were 1-9 against teams with a .500 record or better. That record includes a six-game streak in which the Giants lost all their games against quality opponents. This is all a long way of saying the Giants have a team with a lot of young talent, especially on offense, and it would be a shame to watch that go to waste. Although Manning has an excellent track record come playoff time, he’s now 34 years old. Is it time for the Giants to start thinking about his replacement?
HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:
2015 is the last season of Manning’s contract, after which he may still be looking for big money (i.e. the same ridiculous amount of money some other QBs have been offered in recent years *cough*Jay Cutler*cough*). If the Giants can’t afford to keep him, or even don’t want to keep him, they need to be thinking about his replacement in this year’s draft. So, here would be the blockbuster trade that could bring Marcus Mariota to New York.
Giants Trade: Eli Manning, 2015 first-round pick, and 2016 second-round pick.
Tampa Bay Trades: 2015 No. 1 pick.
A lot of things make sense about this trade. For starters, Tampa Bay is a team in desperate need of a QB. Although it would be nice to believe that Mariota or Jameis Winston are for sure going to be franchise QBs, it simply doesn’t work that way. Both come with major warning signs, and for the Bucs to instead be offered a proven QB like Manning, they’d have to take the Giants up on that. Plus, unlike the Giants, the Bucs have the salary cap space to be able to give Manning the type of money he’ll probably be looking for.
For New York, the Giants are able to move Eli a year before his contract year while still getting a quality deal in return. Although the trade would probably be unpopular at first, the upside of taking Mariota could be too much for the Giants to pass on. The Hawaiian brings a whole different skill set than what the Giants are used to with Manning — including much better decision making — and with an offense absolutely loaded with talented guys who are 25 years old or younger, this could be one of the most dynamic young offenses in the league.
HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN NEW YORK:
Above I mentioned the 25 and younger club, and I wasn’t exaggerating on just how good they were last year. OBJ (22) turned in one of the best performances by a rookie WR in recent memory, leading the Giants in yards, receptions and touchdowns. Not far behind him was Rueben Randle (23), who finished second on the team in receptions and yards. Together, the two of them accounted for half the team’s total yards receiving and touchdown receptions. Now, if we were to expand the age range by just one year, TE Larry Donnell (26) would also make the cut as a young talent. The big TE finished third on the Giants squad in receptions, and was behind only OBJ in touchdown receptions.
As for the backfield, Andre Williams (22) led the Giants in both yards rushing and touchdowns once he took over for the injured Rashad Jennings. Basically, that’s a long-winded way of saying Mariota would have plenty of young talent surrounding him while he grew into his new system. As for the city itself, where better to play football than New York? He’d have die hard fans, and he’d be in one of the biggest markets for football in the world. Plus, as a bonus for the Giants, this could be a giant middle finger to the Eagles who are debatably their biggest rivals.
WOULD HE START?:
It’s possible. In the NFC East, one of the weakest divisions in terms of pass defense, he actually should see decent success for a rookie. Just look at what RG3 did back in 2012. Mariota is like a healthier version of RG3, who in his first year was able to throw for 20 touchdowns with only five interceptions. With Manning gone, it’s hard to find a QB on the Giants roster who’d start over Mariota.
NYG’s Projected Record with Mariota: 9-7
NYG’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 5-11
Mariota’s first year stats: 3,600 yards/24 pass TDs/7 INTs/6 Rushing TDs
Top Photo by commons.wikipedia.org
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