The NFL combine kicked off Wednesday in Indianapolis with most of the general managers and head coaches taking to the podium to meet with the press.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur spoke back to back Wednesday morning, covering a wide range of topics, but generally offering very few clues as to what the organization’s thinking is regarding the No. 2. What did they have to say? Read on…
Davis Webb is Still a Mystery
At the risk of continuing to beat a dead horse, the previous coaching staff didn’t do quarterback Davis Webb any good by not getting him some live game snaps. But that doesn’t mean that both Gettleman and Shurmur are completely in the dark regarding the second-year signal caller.
“We liked him down in Carolina in the draft, had him pretty highly rated,” Gettleman said. “It’s kind of like having a Christmas present or a Hanukah present and you get to unwrap it eventually.”
What Shurmur and Gettleman do have in their evaluation of Webb is his college tape and his practice tape from last year.
“I like what I’ve seen in Davis Webb,” Shurmur said. “I went back and watched his tape again for college just to get reacquainted with him. I like 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 what he brings to the table.”
What does he bring to the table?
“You can see him drop back and throw, make the right reads, just all the things that quarterbacks do,” Shurmur said.
Still, given the lack of NFL snaps, it appears that Webb won’t have much of a leg up on the quarterback class in this year’s draft, as Gettleman said they will rate Webb’s tape against the current position crop’s tape in arriving at a decision.
Don’t Discount A Trade Happening in the First Round
It’s still early in the process to get a feel for whether Gettleman might trade down in the first round, but he said he hasn’t ruled it out.
“Are we open for business? Any decision I make will be in the best interest of the New York Giants. Plain and simple,” Gettleman said. “If someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse, would I move back? It depends upon who’s there.”
For years Giants fans heard that same line from Jerry Reese, except Reese never worked up the gumption to actually pull off a trade involving the team’s first round pick.
Gettleman has followed suit as general manager of the Panthers as far as hanging on to his first-round pick, the highest of which was the eighth-round selection in last year’s draft used to acquire running back Christian McCaffrey.
But with the Giants shaving committed to Eli Manning at quarterback for 2018, and a quarterback whom both Gettleman and Shurmur believe still has multiple years left, the feeling is the Giants might be contacted about moving down in the top 10 by a quarterback needy team.
But again, Gettleman wouldn’t commit one way or another.
“If there is a guy worthy of being the second pick of a draft, and what we’re basically saying if we answer that question in the affirmative is that you think you’re drafting a Hall of Fame player. So you can’t get too cute about the whole thing.
Running Backs are Back in Style
In the three drafts, teams like Jacksonville, Dallas, Carolina and the Rams have all come away with their franchise running backs, picks made in the top 10.
The Giants, whose running game has languished at or near the bottom third of the league in five of the last six seasons, have a chance to draft Saquon Barkley out of Penn state if they decide none of the quarterbacks is worthy of the pick.
Would they make such a move?
“The bottom line is, is the guy a football player?” Gettleman said. “This whole myth of devaluing running backs, I find it kind of comical. At the end of the day, if he’s a great player he’s a great player. It doesn’t matter what position it is.”
“The first thing we have to determine (about the second overall pick) is: Is this guy worthy of being the second pick of any draft? Not just this year’s draft, but any draft? And then you make that determination and you move forward. Position? If he’s a great player I don’t care how stacked we are at that position, we’re taking him. It’s all about accumulating talent.”
Clean Slates for the Corners
Shurmur and Gettleman both reiterated that any issues players had with the previous coaching staff will be wiped away as part of a clean slate.
Specifically, cornerbacks Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins, two cornerbacks who last year drew suspensions from the team, will start fresh.
“I had a chance to visit with (Apple),” Shurmur said. “We had a great conversation. He’s eager to get started when we do get started. We’re gonna put the ball out there and let it rip.”
Shurmur added he’s not concerned with Apple’s family circle, noting that the more he gets to know Apple, the better for everyone.
As for Jenkins, who has a $13 million cap hit this year, Gettleman said, “We can all be more consistent. All of us in our daily lives. Janoris is a very good football player. Every time you guys write an article, are you writing a Pulitzer Prize-winner? No.
“Every decision I make, is it the right one? No. But at the end of the day we try to get better. Janoris is a very talented, gifted player. I got to know him a little bit and I’m excited that he’s a New York Football Giant.”
Beckham a Question Mark for Training Camp?
Remember that fuss some people made over Odell Beckham’s tweet to a fan about wanting to not play in the preseason?
Turns out that tweet wasn’t necessarily related to Beckham’s contract.
“We haven’t really been able to discuss football and certainly we wouldn’t have talked about any participation in training camp,” Shurmur said, adding that Beckham is making “great progress” in his rehab from a broken ankle.
“We communicate just kind of on the surface like we have to with all our players but we’ve developed a relationship that’s pretty sound.”
He added, “I don’t know about the camp part of it yet.”
Beckham has made no secret out of the fact that he desires to be the top paid at his position, if not the game. While Giants team ownership has expressed a desire to keep Beckham long-term, recently co-owner John Mara has pumped the brakes on that a little, noting that Beckham has to understand what Shurmur is looking for in a player.