Let’s discuss as we continue going position-by-position through the Giants’ roster in advance of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Players lost: Geno Smith
Players added: None
Current roster: Eli Manning, Davis Webb
Statistically, Eli Manning was awful in 2017. His 61.6 completion percentage was his worst since 2013. His 3,468 passing yards his lowest since 2008. His 19 touchdown passes marked only the second time in his career as a full-time starter he didn’t reach, though of course he sat out one game last season. His 6.1 yards gained per passing attempt marked a career low. His 231.2 passing yards per game were Manning’s worst since 2008. His 80.4 passer rating was his worst since 2007. His 41.7 passer rating was also a career low.
How much of that, though, was Manning’s fault? Some, of course. Manning, though, spent much of the year throwing to guys like Roger Lewis Jr., Tavarres King, Kalif Raymond, Travis Rudolph, Hunter Sharp and others instead of Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. You’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe the caliber of guys Manning was throwing to impacted his numbers.
The inconsistent running game and an offensive line that caused Manning to prioritize throwing quickly rather than scanning for his best option were other factors.
Still, Manning is 37. GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur think he can still play at a high level. Nobody will know for sure, though, until the season starts and we see him — hopefully — with a full complement of talent around him, and a functional offensive line.
As for Davis Webb, nobody really knows what he is, either.
I’m going to peg need as “it depends.” Because it depends purely on point of view.
Do you believe that Eli Manning has at least two, maybe more, good enough seasons left? Do you believe Davis Webb can be the future, or at least should be given the chance when the hour glass runs out on Manning? If so, you’re in the “don’t waste a pick on a quarterback” camp.
Do you believe that Manning is done, or close to done? Do you believe the Giants shouldn’t put all their eggs in the Webb basket? Do you believe that, with the No. 2 pick, the Giants are unlikely to have a better chance to find their quarterback of the future than the one they have right now? Then, you’re in the “quarterback at No. 2 is a no-brainer” camp.
So, it depends.
Targets? You already know ‘em. Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield Josh Rosen in the top five. Maybe Lamar Jackson a bit later if the Giants trade down. Mason Rudolph and Kyle Lauletta as Day 2 candidates. You know my preference is Darnold, and that despite my belief Manning can still play that the Giants should select him if the Cleveland Browns don’t. You already know who you love and who you hate — which choice would make you want to kiss Gettleman and which one would make you want to toss your TV out the window?