Quarterback Davis Webb evaluates his rookie season and learning behind Eli Manning:
There weren't many mysteries on the Giants roster at the end of the 2017 season. With so many injuries plaguing the team, the majority of the players on the roster had to be put on the field at some point during the year.
There was one important exception: Davis Webb.
Webb's only playing time came in the preseason, when he played in three games and completed 18 of 34 passes for 190 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. During training camp his reps came in "opportunity" portions of practice, where he played exclusively with younger players or veterans trying new positions.
Once the season began, Webb was limited to scout team reps until he began to take some snaps with the first team during the final two weeks of the regular season.
"Davis does a good job," Eli Manning said at the time. "He's got a good feel for what's going on, he works hard and he's done a good job when he's gotten the opportunity to play."
With the changes to the Giants front office and coaching staff, the new arrivals were not in the building to see those reps.
"I know nothing," Dave Gettleman said at the Senior Bowl back in January. "I know he is a double transfer. I spent some time talking to him and he seems like a great kid. I know he followed Eli Manning around learning to be a pro. That's what I know."
Webb never hesitated during the year to point out how much he learned from Manning, but one thing that had nothing to do with the X's and O' of a NFL offense left a lasting impression on him.
"One thing I really respected was the Oakland week and how he handled it with such class," Webb said. "He was a great teammate. I actually wrote him a letter telling him how much I appreciated it and learned from that moment. It was pretty unbelievable. There's a lot and I have a good notebook of all the things I learned from him this year."
Webb's big challenge coming out college was transitioning from the spread offense he ran at Texas Tech and California to the far more complicated systems in the NFL that require more verbiage, reads and other fundamentals.
"I took more under center snaps in the first couple days of rookie mini-camp than I did in my entire career in college, so that was different," Webb said. "But at the same time the game is evolving and the NFL game is becoming more of a spread type throwing system. It's evolving so it wasn't a big a transition. But at the same time, going into the huddle calling a lengthy play, 15 to 20 words, that takes some getting used to I think I did a good job and developed pretty well."
Head Coach Pat Shurmur's only evaluation of Webb comes from his college tape.
"We went through the process on Davis Webb," he said. "We thought he was an outstanding player. We liked how competitive he was. He's got size. He's got good arm strength. We felt like he was a guy worthy of being drafted and having a chance to be a starter someday. Again, beyond that, I don't know much."
Even though Webb didn't play in any regular season games, he did absorb a lot of information in meetings and from working with the coaching staff.
"I learned the offense pretty well towards the end of the year," Webb said. "I had a pretty good grasp of it. Every single week I gained knowledge of defenses and what they were trying to do in terms of coverages, front wise. I was able to utilize that, practice it, and actually get some reps. I got better this year and I'm really excited I grew and developed into a good first year quarterback. I'm looking forward to the offseason when it comes to year two."
For the first time in a long, questions are being asked about the Giants quarterback situation this offseason. President and CEO John Mara, General Manager and Dave Gettleman, and head coach Pat Shurmur have all said Eli Manning will be the starting quarterback this season, which quieted some of the talk.
But there is still a lot of speculation as to whether or not the Giants might select a quarterback in a draft where they own the second overall pick. Dave Gettleman addressed that possibility at the Senior Bowl.
"With the second pick, we're going to take the best player," he said. "They screamed at me in Carolina, 'You've got to draft a tackle, you've got to draft a tackle.' If the value's not there when you pick, you're going to make a mistake. You'll make a mistake. We're going to set ourselves up so that we can take the best player available. And if the best player available is a quarterback, then that's what we're going to do."
Gettleman added: "If you take a guy just to take a guy, especially at the quarterback position, and he fails, you set yourself back five years. You set yourself back five years because there are teams that are in what I call quarterback hell. They've got quality defense, they've got a good special teams, and they're going 7-9, 8-8, 9-7. And now if there is a legitimate guy, they've got to trade up and give away the farm to get the guy."
In other words, the Giants draft day decision will be solely based on the evaluation of the players available to them. That evaluation has not taken place yet with the combine and the rest of the draft process still to come.
As for Davis Webb, his only concern is improving himself this summer and preparing for 2018. He will have to learn a new offense and show a new coaching staff and front office what he is capable of.
"It's going to be a different offseason for a lot of guys," Webb said. "It's my first one. I'm excited about it, and to grow as a quarterback. I don't plan to do much except to continue to grow. I want to be good at the sport. I want to be good for this team and this franchise. I want to continue to grow and continue to develop."
Webb has been at the facility a lot since the season ended, determined to continue to improve and eventually become a quarterback ready to start in the NFL.