The Giants selected Davis Webb with the 87th overall pick in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday.
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING:
Read Tony Pauline's scouting report at DraftAnalyst.com.
WHAT THE GIANTS ARE SAYING:
Giants GM Jerry Reese: "We thought that he had the best arm in the draft this year, really a gifted arm, thrower. For a tall guy, he is a good athlete. He can be off schedule and buy some time with his legs, so there are a lot of things that we liked about him. We think that he will have time - like we said earlier, Eli has however much time that he has left, two or three years left in his contract or however long he plays. We think that this guy has a high ceiling that can come in here and develop behind him."
"That is what the whole premise is - that this guy can sit behind Eli for a couple of years, two or three years or however long it takes. Let me get this straight guys, we hope that Eli plays for a long time for us. Eli is our quarterback and we still think that he can play at a high level, but we do know that he is not going to play forever, so we are trying to make the best decision as we move forward for the rest of Eli's career."
Eli Manning has three years left on his contract and the Giants hope he plays every game between now and then. At that point he'll be 39 years old, and who knows? Maybe he'll want to keep on playing.
But now they've got a plan to develop his replacement, just in case?
They began the process of transitioning out of the Manning Era on Friday night when they drafted Cal quarterback Davis Webb in the third round of the NFL draft. The Giants have made it clear for months they would be looking at quarterbacks and would consider drafting Manning's eventual replacement.
In the 6-5, 229-pound Webb they got a huge one with a strong arm that many thought would go near the top of the second round. Some even thought he might slip into the first round. Midway through the third round, with the 87th overall pick, the value for the Giants was obviously high.
In fact, GM Jerry Reese said Webb had "the best arm in the draft".
If he really believes that and is convinced he has the potential to be a future starter then Reese was right not to pass on this opportunity, even though his hope is that the 22-year-old Webb won't throw a regular-season pass for the Giants in the next three years. Quarterbacks are so hard to find - especially true franchise quarterbacks. With the end obviously near for the 36-year-old Manning, the Giants couldn't let a chance like this go by.
The counterargument, though, is that they've essentially wasted a third-round pick - at least as far as the next three years go. And that's not insignificant because the Giants are trying to win one more Super Bowl before Manning's career is over, and after an 11-5 season they believe they're pretty close. That's why it would've been crazy to use a first- or a second-round pick on a possible 2020 starter. They needed to use those picks on immediate starters.
Which they did.
That freed them up to think about the future. Granted, there's a long time between now and 2020, and there's no guarantee that things will work out. There are a lot of variables that could end up either extending the Manning Era, or forcing the Giants to undergo another franchise quarterback search.
But now they've bought themselves some time, and given themselves a chance to do something that most franchise find impossible to do - transition smoothly from one franchise quarterback to another.
It'll be a while before they know if they got this right. But in the third round, staring at a first-round talent, and with an aging quarterback on their roster, it was a chance they absolutely had to take.