Eli Manning’s days might be numbered in the league, but don’t expect the New York Giants to draft his replacement in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Can we stop with the chatter about the New York Giants drafting a quarterback early in the draft to succeed Eli Manning already? Yes, he won’t play forever and his best days might be behind him, but the new quarterback talk isn’t necessary.
Yes, it’s true the Giants front office has publicly made it known that they are considering searching for their next signal caller. Yes, Ben McAdoo was recently in Lubbock, Texas, to watch Patrick Mahomes II on his pro day. All signs are pointing to the Giants doing their homework and grooming Eli’s heir.
There will be a day when the Giants decide to make a serious investment towards their future QB. However, they are in a position in which drafting a quarterback with a premium pick simply doesn’t make sense.
After three consecutive dismal seasons, the Giants found themselves playing football in January once again in 2016. Their time in the postseason was short-lived but obvious team deficiencies have already been addressed by GM Jerry Reese. The Giants formula for success is nearly complete; wasting a high pick on a QB is a luxury the G-men simply do not have.
The front office has done a fine job managing the cap and bolstering a lackluster offense while keeping one of the league’s better defenses largely in tact. Big Blue still needs help on the offensive line while adding a pass catching tight end would nearly complete the offensive puzzle.
Last year Manning played behind an offensive line that did not fare well in pass protection. Although the Giants were sacked the third fewest times per game, per teamranking.com, their quick throws limited their offensive upside and made them much more one dimensional. A mediocre run game also didn’t do much to spring the passing attack. Victor Cruz struggled on the outside while no true tight end threat was present in the middle of the field.
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Eli Manning missed open receivers last year more than we’re accustomed to seeing and it does’t take an elaborate breakdown on tape to acknowledge that. Though, while he wasn’t at his best, he didn’t receive much help outside of the always incendiary Odell Beckham Jr. Even when Eli wasn’t at his best, he still finished last season with over 4,000 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. If those are bad stats, then it shows the gold standard that Manning is expected to play at. Many other teams would kill for a quarterback who posted those kinds of numbers and was considered to have had a mediocre season.
If the New York Giants are going to draft a quarterback this Spring, then doing so in the middle rounds makes more sense. A developmental type who is a few years away from starting could be an option. A blue chip prospect like Mahomes or UNC’s Mitch Trubisky, amongst others, would cost the Giants a pick they can use to address much more glaring areas of need.
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While Jerry Reese’s approach has consistently been to take the best player available, shoring up the offensive line has to be a priority. The Giants are in a position to win now, and protecting their 36-year-old franchise quarterback needs to be of high importance. If the offense improves, the Giants have to be excited about their chances with a top flight defense returning.
Furthermore, the Giants are not good enough to draft a top talent at any position out of luxury. They also aren’t poor enough to draft a top talent at any position because they need help wherever they can get it.
The New York Giants are in a position to win now. If they want to do so, they can worry about Eli’s successor next year.