With Eli’s recent struggles and everyone pouring it on the Giants for not taking a QB at #2 I think we need to take a step back from the laughter and remind ourselves that the Giants decision to draft Barkley so high is still far from being a true mistake. It very well could be and has a high probability of being one. But it is still far, far too early to actually give a fair assessment of the pick, because we haven’t seen the long-term effects of said pick. It’ll be roughly 2 – 3 years before we really know what that choice did to the Giants organization. So laugh at the Giants all you wish (they deserve it) but Barkley is still just a theoretical mistake at this point.

For a good example why lets look at these two QBs! In 2015 all the pundits could do was argue who the best choice was. Jameis was so talented but kinda dumb and a hassle off the field. Mariota was a perfect person but played in a gimmick offense and maybe it wouldn’t translate. But you couldn’t go wrong with either choice! The Bucs and Titans looked to have a win-win situation, because both these dudes were destined for stardom. 4 seasons later and both guys are on the verge of being busts.

Jameis has turned out to be as dumb as everyone feared he was. He’s a giant immature baby who has had the world handed to him due to his talent, and he’s finally hit a wall where he can’t coast anymore. He still has all the talent but he can’t stay out of trouble and he can’t make good decisions. The Bucs have surrounded him with enough offensive talent to succeed and he hasn’t taken that next step. He got benched yesterday for Fitzpatrick, who promptly came in and put him to shame, almost winning a game the Bucs had no business even being in thanks to Winston’s 4 picks. Once you get benched mid-season for Ryan Fitzpatrick you may as well hang it up, curse or no curse. I expect Jameis to be gone at season’s end and then he’ll float around as a backup for a bit before getting in trouble some more.

Mariota looked more promising out of the gate and is probably more salvageable but appears to be getting spooked. He plays too cautiously and has dealt with coaching turnover. No one seems to want to use him the way Oregon did, but now I’m not sure that would even work. The Titans don’t really have any options besides Mariota so I doubt he goes anywhere, but the Titans might need to invest in a quality backup this offseason just to be sure.

Thing is, and more to my original point, is that it’s not even entirely on these two dudes for their own failures. The Bucs have had coaching turnover and fielded bad teams under Winston. The Titans have had it even worse in some ways. Mariota has no weapons worth a damn. Both teams have failed to build around these guys and 4 years later, they may have wasted their development phases and stuck themselves in a hole worse than bad: the dreaded mediocre. Where you never get high enough picks to grab the transcendent talent and you can’t quite make the jump. Meanwhile look at Goff and Wentz. Goff looked like trash until he got a good coach. Wentz is legit but the Eagles won the SB without him, because the Eagles did something better than just drafting a good QB: they built a good team around him. They also got lucky. Winning a SB always involves more luck than anyone wants to admit.

There’s no guarantee the QBs drafted in this class will be good. A lot of factors go into a QB looking good, many of them not in their control. There’s no guarantee the Giants will find the right guy this coming draft. There’s no guarantee the right guy will even be in the first round: in 2013 the two best QBs came out of round 2 (Garopollo and Carr). They will all say this class won’t look as good as last year, but keep in mind that once draft season rolls around the hype will get stupid and we’ll all be high on a couple of guys. By the time April hits we’ll have at least 2 potential 1st overall QBs people are salivating over. That’s just how it works.