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Pre-Game Recon: Should The Giants Already Regret Drafting Saquon Barkley?

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There’s a lot riding on Eli Manning’s shoulders today, and an 0-3 start could be a breaking point for the next several seasons.

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Valentine of our sister site, Big Blue View, was kind enough to chat with us and answer some of our burning questions about his beloved Giants before today’s game. I pestered him about everything from our mutually terrible pass protection, to the future of the Giants in the post-Eli era, to whether or not Ed still thinks Saquon Barkley was the right pick in the 2018 NFL Draft at number two overall. Take a look at all of his answers below!

1. Which one of our offensive lines is worse? Do you expect at least twelve sacks between both teams this week? Because I sure as hell do.

I haven’t studied Houston’s offensive line, but there’s no denying how poorly the Giants’ OL has played thus far. It’s a completely new group and they are pinning their hopes on the idea that it will get better as it plays together more. We’ll see. As for pass rush, the Red Sea has to part for the Giants to generate one. If your guys just want to step out of the way I’m sure the Giants would be fine with that.

2. What has impressed you the most about Saquon Barkley so far?

As talented as he is as both a runner and receiver I think it’s more about the way he carries himself. There’s no conceit. There’s no diva. He works. He seems to be well-grounded. I think that will help him. Oh, and the kid is crazy difficult to tackle. The first guy almost never gets him to the ground.

3. And speaking of Saquon, did you consider him to be the right pick at the time? Do you still hold that position - whatever it may have been - today?

Given my choice I would have taken Sam Darnold. I thought it was clear that he was the top quarterback in the class and, whether Eli Manning had some time left or not, my view was that the Giants would never be in a better position to get their quarterback of the future. Especially since Cleveland took Baker Mayfield, who the Giants weren’t ever going to take. Barkley is a wonderful player and will have a tremendous career, maybe even a Hall of Fame one. There is an argument, though, that if Darnold becomes a great player, an All-Pro who wins Super Bowls, that the Giants can never be right for picking Barkley. Not sure I buy that but if Darnold is a top-tier guy the Giants have to a) be at least a playoff team in the short term and b) successfully replace

Manning when the time comes to be proven right. No matter how good Barkley is. That’s a position I’ve held consistently. I’ve said this -- the Giants believe they can win with Manning -- so they have to win with Manning to have made the right choice.

4. The Giants seemed to have gone “all in” for the 2018 season to make one last run with Eli. Do you think this team can win the NFC East?

Yes, the Giants are “all in” with Manning. And I know this seems like a contradiction -- because it probably is -- but having thought about this extensively I like what they did. Manning is under contract for two more years and, despite his limitations with mobility and the fact that he will make an occasional head-scratching throw, the Giants still believe he can play well enough to win. With the weapons the Giants have, so do I. Provided the offensive line does its job and gives him a chance, which it didn’t Sunday vs. Dallas.

The Giants chose to try and help Manning now rather than “officially” point the franchise toward a future without him by taking Darnold. Can they win the NFC East? No. There are still too many holes on the roster and the Eagles are too good. Can they get to the playoffs? Possibly, if the offensive line gives them a chance to maximize the talents of Barkley, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram.

5. What’s your prediction for this Sunday’s game? Who wins? What score? And why?

How about this -- someone will win! For both teams this amounts to pretty much a “season-defining” game. At 0-2, the road to the playoffs is incredibly difficult. At 0-3 it’s almost impossible and you start to wonder “how bad is this going to get?” I’m going to say that the Giants win 24-17. Why? No sound analytical football reason. I just don’t want to believe that yet another Giants season will be down the drain before it even reaches the quarter-pole.

A big thank you to Ed for stopping by and indulging our questions. I can’t say that I blame him for picking the Giants in this game, and I definitely understand (and mirror) the sentiment of wanting to avoid an 0-3 start at all costs. You can find more of Ed’s and others’ excellent work on all things Giants over at Big Blue View. Make sure to head on over there before the game to say hi and ask some more questions of your own, and as always...play nice!