Marc Ross has spent the last 15 moths sitting on the sidelines of the NFL since being fired by Dave Gettleman late in 2017. However, as the director of college scouting for a front office which built a pair of Super Bowl championships, he makes fairly regular appearances in the media.
His latest came Tuesday evening on the NFL Network, and unsurprisingly, he was asked about the direction of the New York Giants.
Ross’ assessment of the state of the Giants and the direction the franchise seems to be headed in was somewhat less than “glowing.”
“I know the E-hive is about to swarm right now, whenever I mention Eli Manning,” Ross said. “Whenever we talk about what he’s done, it’s not to disparage his past, but you have to look forward.”
Ross described Manning’s current level of play as “below average, let’s just say.” He also added that the Los Angeles Chargers are in a better position to execute the “Kansas City model” of quarterback transition because Philip Rivers is still playing well.
Not, however, that Ross believes the Giants will invest in a quarterback this year anyway.
“I think they might have missed their opportunity [to take a quarterback] last year, when they were in the No. 2 slot and could have taken [Jets QB] Sam Darnold,” Ross said. “This year, there’s some opportunities to trade for Rosen, or there might be a quarterback at No. 6 that they like. But, I don’t think they’ll do it again.”
Ross added, “I think they’ll push the quarterback back another year. We saw the pass rushing stat, I think they’ll probably go pass rusher here and bank it all in on Eli. They traded for a guard [Kevin Zeitler], so that gives them the security to say that they built a wall for this guy and now he’s going to play and perform. I would think pass rusher now, as opposed to a quarterback. It will make a lot of people upset and some people happy.”
Ross is right that the Giants had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL last year and proceeded to trade away their only reliable pass rusher in Olivier Vernon. Big Blue View has heard that the Giants are very high on Montez Sweat, and with their need for a pass rush and his incredible Combine performance, he could well be the front-runner for their selection at sixth overall.
Ross’ assessment that the Giants feel comfortable in remaining with Eli after trading for Zeitler (and potentially adding another offensive lineman in the coming free agency) is in line with comments from both Gettleman and Pat Shurmur.
It should be noted that Manning was “below average” (as Ross put it), even when unpressured in 2018.
29 QBs had at least 100 passes without pressure from Weeks 9-17. Eli Manning ranked:— Dan Pizzuta (@DanPizzuta) February 15, 2019
25th in Comp%
26th in On-Target%
21st in YPA
15th in TD%
22nd in INT% https://t.co/EJrLWbGBgs
But Ross added that there could be another level to Gettleman’s reluctance to draft a successor for Manning.
“You look at the backlash with the benching a couple of years ago,” Ross said. “They had Davis Webb on the roster and benched Eli for Geno, which turned into a catastrophe. Last year, they had Kyle Lauletta on the roster, he struggled and you saw the clamoring for him to play.”
“Imagine taking Haskins at No. 6, the day they take him,” Ross added, “they’re on the clock for ‘when is Dwayne Haskins going to play?’ Everyone is going to be up in arms to get this guy on the field.”