Giants could make surprising pivot if they can’t trade up in 2024 NFL Draft

The New York Giants’ interest in trading up for a quarterback in April’s draft is reportedly the “worst-kept secret” at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Although it’s impossible to predict whether the team will be able to move up from their current sixth overall pick, the Giants’ backup plan will still involve selecting a quarterback, per The Athletic’s Dan Duggan. In an article published on Saturday, Duggan confirmed that New York is exploring trading up for a top-three pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

However, “it’s not believed” that the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders — who hold the top two selections — are willing to trade down. This would make the New England Patriots, owners of the third overall pick, the most likely trade partner for New York. If the franchise cannot move up, though, it will target Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy at No. 6 overall.

“If [Giants GM Joe] Schoen can’t swing a trade for one of the top three quarterbacks, the focus would shift to McCarthy,” Duggan wrote. “There’s debate about his worthiness for the sixth pick, but the expectation is that a quarterback who had a 27-1 record as a starter at Michigan will win over teams during the pre-draft process.”

Despite signing QB Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160M deal last offseason, the 26-year-old’s extensive injury history appears to pose too much uncertainty for New York’s current regime to risk their jobs on. The Giants have an opportunity to cut ties with Jones after next season and it would seem that the team is operating with that intention at the combine.

While USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels are considered better quarterback prospects than McCarthy, the Michigan product wouldn’t be a terrible consolation prize – or a reach – if the Giants stay put.

Aside from the fact that McCarthy is a proven winner and played in a pro-style offense in college, he is the youngest quarterback projected to be selected in the first round. With talk of the 2025 quarterback class lacking compared to this year’s batch, why not take a shot on the national champion in April?

After all, Giants HC Brian Daboll has a promising track record when it comes to getting the best out of his quarterbacks. Not only did Daboll help develop Bills QB Josh Allen, but he won a playoff game with Jones at the helm during the 2022 season and won three games with undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito as his starter in 2023.

Not to mention that drafting the younger McCarthy instead of a Maye or Daniels would likely put less pressure on New York to start a rookie next season, which would be ideal given Jones’ $47.1M cap hit for 2024.

Just as each of the top quarterback prospects did, McCarthy had a formal interview with the Giants earlier this week, which seemed to have gone smoothly. McCarthy later told reporters that as part of his meeting with the Giants, the coaching staff gave him an idea of what the team’s offense would look like with him on board.

“I drew up a play that I can run in every situation — third down, fourth down, first and second, all that good stuff,’’ McCarthy said. “And then the coaches were kind of changing my verbiage and making it their own. It was really nice to kind of get a feel of what that offense would be like, and it was actually a lot more simple.’’

It’ll be intriguing to see whether McCarthy will be using the Giants’ simplified verbiage again in the near future.

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