While plenty of speculation remains as to which quarterback the Cleveland Browns will choose with the first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman strongly hinted the direction his club was leaning at No. 2 overall.
In his pre-draft meeting with the media Thursday, Gettleman lavished enough praise on Penn State's Saquon Barkley to make it sound as if the running back was already trying on a team jersey.
The 67-year old Gettleman said that Barkley is "one of those guys my mother could have scouted" and scoffed at the notion the club must focus on the quarterbacks when drafting this high, calling that strategy "hogwash."
On the same day that his club announced the release of veteran receiver Brandon Marshall, Gettleman touted the importance of the running game.
"I think that the devaluing of the running back is really a myth," Gettleman said. "If you have a great running back, he immediately makes your quarterback better, your offensive line better and your passing game. So I don't believe in it. It's how you evaluate the players, how we value them, how we rate them and then you go on from there."
New York ranked 31st in the NFL in scoring in 2017, finishing ahead of only the winless Browns (14.6) with just 15.4 points per game.
Frankly, assuming another healthy season for Eli Manning, the Giants will almost certainly boost those numbers in 2017, with or without Barkley, given the addition of former New England Patriots Pro Bowl left tackle Nate Solder and the anticipated growth of talented young pass catchers Odell Beckham, Jr., Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard.
Adding a dynamic talent like the 6-foot, 233 pound Barkley to the mix and suddenly the Giants boast one of the NFL's scariest skill-position groups in the NFL, a fact that might very well catapult New York back into playoff contention in 2018.
Barkley is currently projected to go to the Giants at No. 2 overall in both Dane Brugler and my current mock drafts.