Hoonhout: Dwayne Haskins, Invisible Man
Tobias Hoonhout | Tuesday, April 30, 2019
“If Dwayne Haskins, as an African American, goes to Duke and puts up those mediocre stats, seventh in the conference, he’s not drafted day one or day two.”
I won’t mince words — it is a travesty that the New York Giants drafted Daniel Jones at No. 6 in the 2019 NFL Draft.
I know that my colleague and Giants fan Elizabeth Greason is due for her last Sports Authority tomorrow, but I couldn’t pass up on such a golden opportunity.
Kind of like what the Giants did with Dwayne Haskins.
Look, the NFL Draft and quarterbacks have a tumultuous history. It’s never a perfect science, and the risk is that much higher in the first round. In recent history alone, names like Jake Locker, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and RG3 all come to mind as “franchise guys” who didn’t pan out.
But quarterback is still arguably the most important position in all of sports. And when your team needs a new one, you go get one.
That was the situation the New York Giants found themselves in heading into the draft. Whichever way you look at it, it’s the end of an era in the Big Apple. Even though he’s had the last laugh in two Super Bowls, Eli Manning is not a superhuman like Tom Brady, and his days as a starting quarterback in the NFL are numbered. It was time for an investment.
Instead of drafting their future franchise quarterback, however, the Giants drafted an Eli Manning look alike.
Giants General Manager David Gettleman says he was in “full-blown love” with a guy who couldn’t earn a scholarship to Duke to play football. Who went 4-8 on the road in the ACC over his career. Who played against the second-string defense in the Senior Bowl to win game MVP honors.
Yes, I know you can never be sure with these things. Yes, I’m sure Daniel Jones is the “good guy” that all the pundits keep caveating their critiques of him with. But if the NFL is a business, a top-10 pick is supposed to be a surefire investment. With the way that Gettleman has gone on a PR campaign to inflate his own ego about this pick, Daniel Jones is apparently blue chip stock.
Let’s not forget about the Manning connection though. Jones has been to the Manning Passing Academy twice. His coach at Duke, Dave Cutcliffe, coached both Eli and Peyton in college and called Gettleman’s decision “a match made in heaven.”
Who made the match though? Was this more about Daniel Jones or about Eli’s legacy?
Dwayne Haskins may have played only one season at Ohio State, but he threw only two fewer touchdowns (50) than Jones did in his entire college career (52). The two may have similar tapes, but it’s apparent that Haskins is at his floor, while Jones has hit his ceiling.
Adam Schefter said Friday a source told him the Giants were between Jones and Missouri quarterback Drew Lock “as quarterbacks one, and one-A in this draft.”
The more I think about it, the more it makes me uncomfortable for every party involved. We should be past the days when black quarterbacks have to play like Mike Vick and pocket passers can only be white. Yet decisions like the one the New York Giants made — a decision so obviously impacted not by talent, but by a desire to find the next Eli Manning — brings bad blood to the surface.
Haskins said it best: “The league done messed up.”
In the final PLS seminar of my undergraduate career, we just finished reading Ralph Ellison’s masterful “Invisible Man.” I’ll leave you with a quote from the epilogue.
“Let man keep his many parts and you’ll have no tyrant states. Why, if they follow this conformity business they’ll end up by forcing me, an invisible man, to become white, which is not a color but the lack of one. Must I strive towards colorlessness? But seriously, and without snobbery, think of what the world would lose if that should happen. America is woven of many strands; I would recognize them and let it so remain.”
Here’s to more strands of NFL quarterback.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.