The Big Blue-Print: Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins
The New York Giants won their coveted fourth game of the season, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. The offense has improved of late, although Eli Manning had perhaps his worst game of the year against the Chicago Bears. Despite that, they escaped with an overtime victory.
When the Giants are eliminated from playoff contention, head coach Pat Shurmur will likely move on to rookie Kyle Lauletta. The first year quarterback was activated for the first time this season, and will play an integral part in the Giants’ evaluation of the quarterback position. If Lauletta succeeds with flying colors, he very well could force the organization to pass on a signal caller this offseason. But if Lauletta struggles, the “Eli Manning Succession Plan” will continue.
With the college football regular season now over, all eyes are set on the upcoming bowl games. One of the collegiate quarterbacks who has gained plenty of steam in recent weeks is Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.
Who is Dwayne Haskins?
Haskins measures at 6-3 and weighs in 220 pounds. The pro-style quarterback was a four-star recruit out of Potomac, Md., ranking as the third best prospect in the state, according to 247Sports Composite. Haskins was recruited by the likes of Alabama and Maryland, but only made official visits with Florida and Ohio State. The rest was history, as he committed to the Buckeyes football program.
Haskins is having his first run as a starter in his sophomore season after sitting behind J.T. Barrett. However, he really showcased his first and likely only season as the starter for Ohio State. Haskins compiled 4,580 passing yards, 47 touchdowns and eight interceptions, doing so on a 70.2 completion percentage. In what has become a tradition for Buckeyes quarterbacks in recent memory, Haskins helped lead Ohio State to yet another Big Ten Conference Championship. He did so by completing 34 of his 41 pass attempts for a staggering 499 yards, five touchdowns, and one touchdown against the Northwestern Wildcats.
The success has led Haskins to a Heisman nomination, as well as an increase in draft stock.
What the Film Shows
Haskins has blown away many fans and analysts with his arm strength. When he lets go of the ball, it has plenty of zip on it, and it gets to his receiver quick. The placement on his passes are impeccable as well, as it hits his target right in the palms. Just look at this dart of a throw to Terry McLaurin against Northwestern.
This is maybe the best throw of Dwayne Haskins career. Arm talent won’t be a question with him.
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) December 2, 2018
One of the points of contention surrounding Haskins has been his decision making. Many believe that he forces too may of his throws when facing the blitz. Granted, this criticism came at the very beginning of the season. Ever since, there has been improvement, as he’s more poised in the pocket, and is not afraid to extend the play.
Just look at this play from Haskins, as he escapes oncoming pressure while still keeping his eyes down the field, and hits a wide open McLaurin in the endzone.
In the game prior, Haskins faced off against the Michigan Wolverines, who had the nation’s best defense. Many thought this would be the game where Haskins would struggle. That didn’t happen, as Haskins picked apart the Wolverines and made the NFL-caliber defense look foolish.
It’s tough not to fall in love with Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins @Dh_simba7 as a NFL prospect
He put on a show vs. Michigan which many considered the best defense in the nation
20/31 396 Yards 6 TD 0 INTs pic.twitter.com/efP0GtH1oF
— Jared Tokarz (@NFLDraftInsider) December 6, 2018
What Draft Experts Are Saying
ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper has become a firm believer in Haskins, despite having one year as a starter under his belt. Not only that, but it’s how well he performs in every game, which could lead him to rise up the draft boards.
“Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State is a one-year starter, but so was Mitchell Trubisky and Dwayne Haskins finished so strong,” said Kiper. “With the arm strength that he has and the talent level he has with that consistency: never had equal interceptions and touchdowns. He was touchdowns over interceptions in every game.”
Kiper’s colleague, Todd McShay was sold on Haskins since the start of the season. He called Haskins the best quarterback in the 2019 draft class and even compared him to Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith.
“I would argue Urban Meyer probably hasn’t had a more natural passer probably going back to Alex Smith,” McShay said back in September. “He may not be the runner that some of the other quarterbacks have been, but this guy has got some special talent in terms of sitting in the pocket, reading defenses and throwing the ball accurately.”
Bleacher Report‘s Matt Miller has heard plenty of buzz from scouts about Haskins, who many believe will be the top signal caller on this spring’s draft board.
“Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins should get plenty of credit as this season’s biggest riser,” writes Miller. “Haskins started the year with considerable hype from Ohio State coaches and teammates and lived up to that. His play down the stretch against Michigan and Northwestern has scouts buzzing, too. Haskins, if he declares for the 2019 draft class, should be considered the favorite to be QB1 as of today.”
Haskins’ mentor, former NFL offensive lineman, George Hegamin, compared his poise to that of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. Not a bad comparison, to say the least
One-Year? No Problem For Giants
While Justin Herbert has been the talk of the 2019 quarterback class at the start of the season, Haskins has now stolen the spotlight, and for good reason. Herbert has had a rough go of things in the second half of the season, as he struggled against top defenses, as well as suffering a shoulder injury. But for Haskins, he’s been relatively consistent throughout the year. He’s thrown for more touchdowns than interceptions in each game this season. Not to mention, he’s had his way with two of the best defenses in college in his final two games of the regular season.
Haskins would be a great addition to the Giants, as he has the arm strength to get the ball downfield to Odell Beckham Jr., and poise to stand in the pocket. While the offensive line has improved, it does have the tendency to collapse. While Haskins doesn’t have that getaway speed, he is mobile enough to escape pressure, showing the ability to throw on the run, or rush for the first down. What will make his transition to the NFL that much smoother is he will have Saquon Barkley to lean on in the running game, so all of the pressure won’t be on his shoulders.
I know in the past I’ve liked the Giants taking Herbert or Duke’s Daniel Jones, but Haskins has impressed me late in the season. If New York were faced with the option of choosing one of the three (especially since the teams above them in the draft order will address their defenses), Haskins should be the choice.
Haskins can increase his draft stock on New Year’s Day, as he faces off against the Washington Huskies in the world famous Rose Bowl.
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