New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen certainly appears to be keeping his team’s quarterback options wide open outside of Daniel Jones.
On Saturday night, he was in Los Angeles to watch No. 5 Washington and No. 24 USC — a matchup of two of college football’s best quarterbacks, Michael Penix Jr. and Caleb Williams.
He certainly wasn’t alone. In total, 21 scouts from 15 teams were in attendance to watch Penix complete 22-of-30 passes for 256 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception as Washington defeated USC 52-42. Williams had the better statistical night, going 27-of-35 for 312 yards and three touchdowns.
Both quarterbacks are expected to go in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft where the Giants are on pace to have quite a high selection. Entering Week 9, only the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers had fewer wins than New York’s two this season.
Williams is slated to go No. 1 — and the Cardinals would likely take him to succeed Kyler Murray if they remain at that perch this season. But the Panthers drafted their perceived franchise quarterback in Bryce Young No. 1 overall just seven months ago.
Schoen has no choice but to seriously evaluate his quarterback situation for 2024. While Daniel Jones made his return to the fold after a three-week hiatus due to a neck injury, he struggled mightily to start this campaign, recording just two touchdowns compared to six interceptions over his first five games.
It’s not nearly the kind of production the Giants were expecting when they inked him to a four-year, $160 million extension during the offseason, but Schoen seemed to prepare for this kind of uncertainty by building in an opt-out following the 2024 season.
Of course, the Giants have an abundance of holes to fill on their roster that could use a surge from a high pick at the draft — most notably the offensive line that had Jones running for his life during the first five weeks of the season. It was a major contributing factor as to why he looked like a shell of the quarterback who had a breakout season last year, leading the Giants to an unlikely playoff berth and Wild Card Round win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The protection unit had improved during his absence as backup Tyrod Taylor kept the Giants in contention against the Buffalo Bills before pulling off a victory over the Washington Commanders in Week 8. He was placed on IR after suffering a ribcage injury during the first half of last Sunday’s 13-10 loss to the Jets.
Should Jones continue to struggle, Schoen and the Giants might have no choice but to go the quarterback route.
In 10 games this season, Williams has converted 69.2% of his passes for 2,958 yards with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions. His Trojans are 7-3 on the season.
Penix is the face of a 9-0 Washington team that has its sights set on the College Football Playoff. He’s completed 69.4% of his passes for 3,201 yards, 26 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.