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New York Giants should seriously consider taking Malik Willis with 36th pick in NFL Draft

Jason Burgos
new york giants
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the New York Giants are likely to go in a different direction with their pick early in the second round of the NFL Draft, they should really look long and hard at the idea of taking Malik Willis with first their selection on Friday night.

The Giants quarterback situation currently is a mess. The organization used their top pick in the 2019 NFL draft — sixth overall — to take Daniel Jones from Duke. Even back then, the most optimistic of Big Blue fans saw the move as a bit of a reach at that point in the draft. Three years later and the move looks disastrous.

After showing some real promise in his rookie year when he had 3,027 yards through the air and 24 touchdowns, Jones has gotten progressively worse every year since. Logging fewer passing yards, touchdowns, and a lower quarterback rating each season. Plus, he has not been reliable to stay on the field after missing eight games combined in 2020 and 2021.

Why the New York Giants have seen the best of Daniel Jones already

There is no doubt the team’s poor line play over those three years, and the lack of support from the offensive skill players — especially the oft-injured Saquon Barkley — doesn’t help. However, the line play and Barkley did not make Jones fumble 36 times in 38 games during his tenure.

Despite a great deal of starting quarterback movement this offseason (Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan for example), the New York Giants lacked the chips and available cap space to acquire a major signal-caller upgrade from elsewhere. However, the draft offers some options.

On night one of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Giants made the right decisions for the first time in a long time. For a team that has many holes and two top-10 picks, they chose two extremely talented players in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal. Who not only fill needs but are worthy of being selected at fifth and seventh, respectively. Furthermore, taking a quarterback then would have been another reach just like Jones, and the fact that no other team took a QB until 20 — Kenny Pickett to the Steelers — is the proof.

Why the Giants should seriously consider taking Malik Willis in the NFL Draft

new york giants
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

However. The Giants have a unique opportunity tonight with the 36th pick in the draft. They still could use a quarterback upgrade, and sitting there at 36 will likely be Malik Willis. The man most experts thought was the best option in this draft class and was a serious consideration for teams in the top-10.

The franchise has already passed on picking up Jones’ fifth-year option. Meaning he probably needs to be a Pro Bowler or close for the team to want to continue this marriage for the fifth year. In Willis, the Giants could maybe get a steal in the second round that’s also a salary cap bargain.

  • Malik Willis stats (2021): 2,857 passing yards, 878 rushing yards, 40 total touchdowns

For a cash-strapped team, adding a player with star potential for tens of millions of dollars less over the teams of the deal, than they would have if he were taken in the first round is a big deal. Plus, if Willis does not look like the answer two years from now, the financial investment won’t be much of a hit against the team’s cap.

Unlike Jones, Willis actually is viewed as a top talent in his draft class and has the play-making ability that is necessary for the league today. While Jones has shown he has wheels, there is a difference between a QB who can run and one that can extend plays. Willis is better at that. However, the bigger difference is the QB from Liberty has a better throwing arm as well. Part of why Jones was not a premiere prospect in 2019 was he didn’t have a special arm.

Do the Giants need to take a quarterback in this draft? Probably not. But they have the opportunity to take a pretty good player on a discount, at a position they desperately need to improve now. That’s why the New York Giants should think about drafting Malik Willis with the 36th pick in the NFL Draft.