It didn’t take the New York Giants long to find a replacement for defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, and they may have found one for Eli Manning, too.
After taking Dalvin Tomlinson of Alabama in the second round of the NFL draft, the Giants drafted a potential down-the-road replacement for the 36-year-old Manning, taking California quarterback Davis Webb in the third round.
“We hope Eli continues to play at a high level and this guy can develop, hopefully,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “You never know what will happen.”
Reese said the Giants felt that Webb had the best arm in the draft, and he was the highest player they had on their board when they made the 87th pick of the draft. He also expects Webb to spend a couple of seasons learning from Manning.
Webb, from Texas, started 26 games at Texas Tech before losing his job to Patrick Mahomes after being injured. He transferred to California as a graduate student and started 12 games last season, completing 382 of 620 passes for 4,295 yards, 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in their pass-happy spread offense.
Mahomes was taken by Kansas City with the 10th pick overall on Thursday.
“Eli understands the process,” Reese said. “Eli is a very smart guy. He understands the process and knows he is not going to play forever. It’s our job to prepare for when he has finished his career here, so he understands that. It is nothing that we had to talk to him about.”
Webb said he has not been told his role yet, but that he just wants to be a great teammate and plans to work hard.
“I’m just excited to be in the same quarterback room as him,” Webb said of Manning. “We’ll see what happens.”
Giants coach Ben McAdoo did not see Webb work out, saying he did his evaluation from watching film.
“He is a big man, he is a fluid mover,” said McAdoo, who felt Webb probably would have been taken earlier in the draft. “He is a pocket pass but not necessarily a statue back there. He can move around and he has some rhythm in the pocket.”
Marc Ross, the Giants vice president of player evaluation, said Webb has a live arm and has some intangibles that one would expect being the son of a coach.
“Went to Cal and took leadership of the whole group,” Ross said of Webb. “He ran meetings. Really strong personality, a leader. A football junkie. He’s a surprisingly good athlete for his size. Just has a lot of upside to develop.”
Tomlinson is going to get a chance to replacing Hankins, who signed a little more than two weeks ago as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts.
The senior is coming off his best season, recording 62 tackles, three sacks and four pass breakups for the Crimson Tide.
He does not come without some concerns. The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder has torn the anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees, but Reese said he was not concerned because Tomlinson has played the past three years without any problems.
Tomlinson will have to compete with Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas for Hankins’ job.
“Dalvin is strong, he is country strong,” Ross said. “He has jolt, he has walk-back power, he is stout at the point of attack, he has sneaky athleticism and every down he plays hard. Every down.”
Tomlinson’s father died when he was very young and his mother passed away in his senior year in high school.
He believes he is NFL ready.
“I feel like I am a great pass rusher,” Tomlinson said. “I just haven’t been in the position to show it off a lot. I feel like I am an even greater run stopper.”
With four rounds to go on Saturday, the Giants still have work to do. They need an offensive tackle, an inside linebacker, a running back and they probably will use their final pick to take a placekicker since Robbie Gould signed with the 49ers as a free agent.