Could this finally be the year that GM Jerry Reese selects the future QB to inherit Eli Manning’s position as his career is winding down? Despite currently being the consecutive games played leader among active players, sooner or later Manning will have to retire and if so, GM Jerry Reese needs to find his replacement. In the 2013 NFL draft, Reese did just that when he traded down to get QB Ryan Nassib in Round 4, only to have Nassib hold a clip board and watch Manning from the sidelines. Nassib is now a FA and will more than likely depart to another with the opportunity to play, so it would make a ton of sense for Reese to take a QB in a similar round this coming draft. The 2017 draft will have plenty of options at the quarterback position, so this will be the best time to pick up a quarterback as I have assembled a few possible candidates (In no particular order) should Reese decide to go that route:
Pat Mahomes (Texas Tech) 6’2/225: Mahomes has many scouts praising his work ethic and character on and off the field. Mahomes had a solid combine, but needs to work on his mechanics for the next level. In 2016, Mahomes threw for 66% of his passes for 5,052 yards, 41 TDS and only 10 INTS. Another weapon Mahomes has is his ability to be very mobile as he ran for 12 TDs as well. The drawback with Mahomes is with the offense system at Texas Tech; which often inflates a player’s numbers and doesn’t indicate their true ability. Mahomes has been projected to go anywhere from the 2nd to 4th round and if so, could be a solid pick on day two of the draft.
Chad Kelly (Ole Miss) 6’2/215: Eli Manning is 36 years old and the clock is ticking. Chad Kelly has all the talent in the world, however; his off the field decisions will be questioned and the Giants historically do not invest in players with so-called baggage. Aside from Kelly’s bad decisions off field, he also suffered a season ending injury (ACL) which also has projected him somewhere between rounds 3-6. The fact that Kelly played at Ole Miss, which happens to be where Manning played, might sway Reese in thinking that Manning could be a positive mentor for the talented QB.
Daniel Webb (California) 6’4/230: Webb had a solid 2016 season with 4,295 yards/37TD’s/12 INTS) for a 62% percentage. Webb is a prototype pocket QB with mobility if needed, and a strong arm, pocket presence and good down field vision. The drawback that I’ve been hearing is that the offensive system at California could hinder Webb’s development, similar to Jared Goff in his rookie year. Fortunately, Webb would have adjustment time to get comfortable in the NFL as Manning’s under-study and could be a solid QB.
Jerod Evans (Virginia Tech) 6’4/235: Evans is a bit raw as he has only played one season at Virginia Teach as the starting QB, but put up solid stats (3,552 yards/29 TDS/12 Rushing TDS). Scouts have graded Evans well as he has the size, athleticism and good skill set, however; believe he could fall between rounds 5-7 and would need time to develop at the next level
Nathan Peterman (Pittsburgh) 6’2/225: Peterman has had two solid seasons for the Panthers in 2015 (2,287 yards/20TDS/8INTS) and 2016 (2,855 yards/29 TDs/7INTS). Peterman’s performance in the 2016 Senior Bowl has raised his stock and he has a strong accurate arm and has good pocket sense. Many scouts have mixed reviews on Peterman, as some see him as a solid backup QB in the NFL; while others projected him to be a starting QB in the NFL.
Josh Dobbs (Tennessee) 6’3/220: Dobbs completed 63% of his passes in 2016 for 2,296 yards/27 TDS/12 INTS/10 rushing TDS). Dobbs has all the ingredients that scout covert: high football IQ, strong arm and mobility. However; inconsistency has been Dobbs major issues and needs to improve on this if he wants to be a productive QB in the NFL.
Final Thoughts: Excluded from this list is Deshaun Watson from Clemson as many football analysts project him to fall possibly in the late 1st round; while others have him going within the top15. I just find it hard to believe that Jerry Reese would invest on a QB in the 1st round, based on his track record (but stranger things have happened). However; whoever the QB is that replaces Eli Manning will have many challenges ahead of him and the selection by GM Jerry Reese must be an accurate one as he will be replacing arguably the greatest QB in Giants history, and in a city that often does not have patience to wait for a QB to develop. Simply put; the Giants need to replace Manning with a player who is equally as tough on and off the field.