Giants GM Dave Gettleman and Coach Pat Shurmur spoke with the media as the 2018 Combine gets underway:
Dave Gettleman landed in Indianapolis carrying the franchise's highest pick since George Young used the second overall choice on Lawrence Taylor in 1981. Now it's time to figure out what to do with it as the Giants find themselves in the same position nearly 40 years later.
The NFL Scouting Combine, which officially began a year after L.T. was drafted, will be a major factor in determining just that. Executives, coaches, scouts and medical staffs from all 32 clubs have gathered to evaluate 336 prospects in the biggest job interview in sports. Let the games begin.
"The first thing we have to determine is, 'Is this guy worthy of being the second pick of any draft?' Gettleman said Wednesday morning inside the Indiana Convention Center. "Not just this year's draft, of any draft. You make that determination and you move forward. … If he's a great player, I don't care how stacked we are at the position, we are taking him. It is all about accumulating talent."
The Giants ended up with the second pick as the result of a 3-13 season that culminated in the dismissals of general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo. Gettleman took over the front office just prior to the season finale, and Shurmur came aboard a month later following his postseason run with the Vikings.
Both men took the podium here in Indianapolis and addressed the state of the team. Here were the highlights:
ELI, WEBB REMAIN JOINED AT THE HIP
With the Giants holding a high pick, much of the conversation has naturally revolved around the quarterback position. Gettleman and Shurmur believe Eli Manning, whose consecutive starts streak was interrupted for a week in December, still has "years left" as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Meanwhile, Davis Webb, a third-round draft choice who never saw action as a rookie, has been joined at the hip with Manning this offseason at the team facility. The new general manager and head coach went back and evaluated Webb's college tape as well as his work in practice from last season.
"I liked what I saw on tape when he played," Shurmur said. "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 about what he brings to the table."
Shurmur added: "You can see in college what a quarterback can do and it translates to our game. So the word 'spread' is used a lot like 'west coast offense' or '3-4 defense', there's many, many versions of those three elements of football, but we can see it. Obviously, he was drafted for a reason and we can see why on tape."
Gettleman said he liked Webb coming out of college last year and had him rated "pretty highly" when he was the general manager in Carolina. But, again, there is not a lot of tape.
"It's kind of like having a Christmas present or a Hanukkah present," Gettleman said, "and you get to unwrap it eventually."
'INTERESTING' GROUP OF QB'S IN THIS CLASS
As for the quarterbacks in this year's draft class, Gettleman called it an "interesting" and "eclectic" group. Four quarterbacks have separated themselves at this point in the draft process – Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Allen (Wyoming), Josh Rosen (UCLA), and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma).
"All shapes and sizes, all flavors," Gettleman said. "This is like Howard Johnson's back in the day. It is a real interesting group. I'm excited about meeting some of these guys here. It is going to be fun. Obviously we will be busy once the combine is over, visiting. You have your 35 visits. That will be part of the process."
"Well, you're trying to look for all of the intangible things that a quarterback does," Shurmur said. "You want to try to determine whether he's a good decision-maker, whether he has a sense of timing. The tape tells you whether he's an accurate passer or not. And then you just want to get a feel for, 'Hey, is this the guy that we want to lead our team?' So some of it is subjective, some of it really just comes by getting to know the player. So we have a good idea of what a good quarterback is, so we're trying to see those attributes in all of these candidates."
GETTLEMAN LAUGHS AT MYTH OF DEVALUING RB'S
A major piece to the puzzle this year is where Saquon Barkley, a running back from Penn State, will go in the draft. Some people believe he is the best overall player in the class, but how high is too high for the position?
"This whole myth of devaluing running backs, I find it kind of comical," Gettleman said. "At the end of the day, if he's a great player, he's a great player. It doesn't matter what position he is."
No argument from Shurmur. The former Vikings offensive coordinator said he has a "high opinion" of running backs, as long as they can run, block and catch.
GIANTS OPEN TO TRADING NO. 2 PICK?
Regarding the possibility of the Giants being open for business at No. 2, Gettleman said you can't get too cute with that pick, which you think should lead to a player who will end up in Canton.
"Any decision I make is going to be in the best interest of the New York Giants, plain and simple," he said. "If someone makes me an offer I can't refuse, would I move back? It depends upon who is there. Again, if there is a guy that is worthy enough of being the second pick of a draft and what we are basically saying if we answer that question to the affirmative, you are drafting what you think is going to be a Hall of Fame player. You can't get too cute about the whole thing."
GETTLEMAN, SHURMUR START FRESH WITH APPLE
Back to players on the roster, Gettleman and Shurmur spoke about cornerback Eli Apple, the former first-round pick coming off a turbulent second season.
"We had a nice visit," Gettleman said. "Eli came in and we talked for about 25 minutes. It was a good visit. We broke bread, so to speak. I told him it is clean. Let's go. That's where we are at."
Gettleman added that he expects Apple to show up for the start of offseason workouts. Shurmur is also taking the "clean slate" approach.
"Eli was in the building, so I had a chance to visit with him and this is a clean slate deal," he said. "So I think we all know we need to get better. We had a great conversation, he's eager to get started when we do get started, and we're going to put the ball out there and let it rip."
ODELL MAKING 'GREAT PROGRESS'
Three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was limited to four games because of injuries, continues to train and rehab mostly in Los Angeles while checking in from time to time in East Rutherford.
"Yeah, he's been through, and to my knowledge, he's making great progress," Shurmur said.
As for any contract talk or when he will report, Gettleman had the following to say: "Let me say this to you, I do not talk about contracts or negotiations. I believe it is personal between the club and the player. I'm not going to speculate. Just see what happens, that is all."