INDIANAPOLIS - The Giants will spend the next two months analyzing everything about the top quarterbacks in this draft to see if they believe any of them can be a worthy successor to Eli Manning. But when they look at Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield, they won't just be comparing them to each other.
They'll also be comparing them to Davis Webb.
Because Webb is the X-factor in the Giants' search for their next franchise quarterback. A year ago, the old regime of GM Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo drafted him in the third round with the hopes he'd be Manning's successor. But Reese and McAdoo are gone and Manning is 37 and the need to line up his replacement is even more immediate.
If the new regime of GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur think Webb is a future franchise quarterback there's no need to draft another one. If they're not sold on that, the odds go up that the Giants will take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick.
The problem is, their evaluation is obviously incomplete and probably inconclusive. And time is running out.
"There is only so much (tape) to watch," Gettleman said at the NFL scouting combine on Wednesday. "He has not had a lot of NFL experience. We liked him down in Carolina in the draft. He is pretty highly-rated. It's kind of like having a Christmas or a Hanukkah present that you get to unwrap eventually."
But "eventually" is the problem because the Giants won't be able to get Webb on the field before the draft begins. And unfortunately when the old regime made a mess of their quarterback situation last season, the plans to get Webb some playing time got lost in the shuffle.
So what they know is limited to what Gettleman, with the Panthers, and Shurmur, with the Vikings, evaluated before the draft a year ago. They like that Webb has been working out at their facility and following Manning all around the building. But there's a big leap from being an eager student to one worthy of the keys to the franchise.
"I like what I've seen in Davis Webb," Shurmur said. "I went back and watched his tape again from college just to get reacquainted with him. I liked what I saw on tape when he played. I had a chance to watch his practice tape, which has been terrific. We just don't have a large sample size of Davis Webb playing NFL football, but I'm excited about what he brings to the table."
What does Shurmur believe Webb brings to the table? "We thought he was a winner," he said. "We liked his size, we liked his arm strength. We liked his decision-making. He could move around in the pocket. So I can see why the Giants drafted him a year ago because we liked him as well."
Shurmur also said he's "canvassed" the building to ask everyone who was around last season for their opinion on Webb. "Everybody thinks that he's got a very bright future," he said. "That's what kind of excites me about him."
Still, the problem remains that Webb has "a small NFL sample size," as Gettleman said. And as "highly-rated" as both Gettleman and Shurmur said Webb was a year ago, he still slipped all the way to the third round. Three quarterbacks went in the first round. Another went in the second.
If anyone thought Webb was a sure-fire franchise quarterback, he likely wouldn't have lasted all the way to the 87th pick.
What matters, though, is what Gettleman and Shurmur think of him now - and whether they like him better than any of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft. Their evaluation of Webb remains the key to what the Giants do at No. 2.