2018 NFL Draft: Giants reportedly view Saquon Barkley as 'a near-perfect prospect'

The New York Giants will control the direction of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Cleveland Browns are picking No. 1, of course, but pretty much everyone expects them to take a quarterback with that selection before following it up with a player at a different position when they come on the board again at No. 1. Which means Giants hold a lot the cards at No. 2. 

Do they want to take a quarterback as well? Might they nab Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson, helping solidify what has been a truly dreadful unit over the last couple of years? Could they take North Carolina State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb in order to replace the departed Jason Pierre-Paul? Will they trade down in order to amass more picks and fill several holes on the roster?

Or will they stay put and become the third team in the last three years to use a top-five pick on a running back? According to the New York Post, that possibility might be more likely than any other. The Post reports that taking a quarterback and trading down are both unlikely, essentially narrowing down the options to Chubb and Penn State running back Saquon Barley. 

The Giants view Saquon Barkley as a near-perfect prospect. They think he's a better player than Ezekiel Elliott, who went No. 4 to the Cowboys in 2016. All Elliott has accomplished is average 104.6 yards in his 25 NFL games, along with 22 rushing touchdowns in two seasons. He also has an entire offense built around him. The main difference? Barkley is a far superior pass-catcher. Plus, there are absolutely no character issues or concerns with Barkley.

"I thought all along this is the guy Dave wants,'' said a national NFL scout who knows Gettleman from crossing paths with him on the road over the years. "And he might get him, if Cleveland is dumb enough not to take him at No. 1."

There is no doubt North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb is in the mix. His visit with the Giants went extremely well — he made a positive impact on everyone in the building by wearing a suit, giving off an ultra-professional vibe — and there is an understanding if they pass him up, there is not another pass-rusher remotely close to his level. There is also this: With his first two picks as the general manager of the Panthers, Gettleman selected defensive linemen. And this: Gettleman believes you win with big people. Chubb does not exactly classify as one of Gettleman's "hog-mollies'' — mainly because he is so darn talented — but he is a physical force on the defensive line.

The Post goes on to state that the Giants are unlikely to take Nelson at No. 2 because of positional value, which is strange given how devalued running backs have become around the NFL. If positional value is at the forefront of the Giants' concerns, then quarterback and defensive end would likely make the most sense. Given that Eli Manning is clearly coming up on the end of his career, it would not be surprising to see the Giants take a passer, but if they are not in love with whoever is left over after the Browns pick at No. 1, nabbing Chubb or trading down wouldn't be bad fall-back options. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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