EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The draft process has just begun. So, too, has the quarterback hype.
The NFL scouting combine, the one-on-one meetings and private workouts each serve as opportunities for teams to fall in love with what they hope will be their next franchise quarterback. Some of the quarterbacks will inevitably get drafted higher than they probably should. It happens every year.
By the time this process is done, the top quarterback in this year’s draft is almost certain to land among the top three picks. History says so. It has happened in 17 of the past 18 drafts. Only in 2013, when EJ Manuel was first off the board to the Buffalo Bills at pick No. 16, was a QB not selected in the top three.
The first quarterback off the board this year is likely to be Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. He seems to be at the head of the class for most teams at this point of the process. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. currently has Haskins ranked as the fifth-best prospect in this year's class.
There is a strong belief that the Giants are going to address the quarterback position early in this year's draft. If they -- or any other team -- falls in love with Haskins throughout this process, they will likely have to trade up to land him. And there will be teams willing to deal. None of the teams in the top five are believed to be in the quarterback market.
But it’s going to be costly for the QB-hungry teams (Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins) to get their top target, assuming he’s coveted by more than one franchise. History says this as well.
The Giants currently own the No. 6 overall selection, part of their current total of nine picks, with seven of the nine being in the fourth round or beyond. In order for them to get to No. 3 overall, the price should pretty much be set. The Jets moved from sixth to third last year in order to eventually land quarterback Sam Darnold. The Indianapolis Colts received three second-round picks (two in last year's draft, one in this year's) in exchange for dropping three spots.
The most recent team to trade from the sixth pick to No. 2 was the Washington Redskins in 2012, when they took quarterback Robert Griffin III. It cost Washington a second-round pick and two future first-round selections. That was perhaps the steepest price paid to get into the top five in the past decade, in part because of the demand. Griffin was considered a rare prospect at the time and there were multiple teams interested.
That deal appears to be an anomaly, though. The Eagles moved from No. 8 to No. 2 in 2016 for Carson Wentz and essentially gave up the eighth pick, a future first-rounder and second- and third-round picks. Still costly, but not quite so much.
There isn’t much in terms of comps over the past decade for getting to the top overall pick from just outside the top five. The Rams are the only team to trade into the top spot during that stretch, and they did it from No. 15 to select Jared Goff in 2016. It cost them the 15th pick, two second-round selections, a third-round pick and future first- and third-round picks to land the franchise quarterback who helped get them to this year’s Super Bowl.
This is why last year appeared to be the perfect opportunity for the Giants to select their successor to Eli Manning. They had the No. 2 overall pick in a deep quarterback draft. It wouldn’t have cost them any extra draft capital or resources to secure the most important position on the team. Now, they had to be among the NFL’s worst teams in 2018 and still might have to pay a fairly steep price to land their quarterback.
Of course, the past four teams to do it (Jets, Bears, Rams and Eagles) would probably say it was worth whatever price they paid to get their guy.