In any other year, the New York Giants’ decision to take a speedy tight end Evan Engram in the first round and a potential starting defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in the second round would be the story of the NFL draft for them.
Those are two players expected to contribute right away.
But not this year. The story is a player who is not expected to make his mark in 2017, or maybe even 2018.
All eyes are going to be on Davis Webb in training camp. The California quarterback was taken in the third round Friday, and he seemingly has been anointed as the heir apparent to 36-year-old, two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.
Every snap he takes, every throw he makes and every decision he reaches is going to be fodder for the media and fans in camp this summer
Forget that Manning probably still has at least a couple of good years ahead of him, and that he helped the Giants last season to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. It doesn’t matter.
Webb seemingly is the quarterback of the future. It’s coach Ben McAdoo’s chance to mold him into a top-flight player, much as he did with another former California quarterback — Aaron Rodgers — when he was drafted by Green Bay as Brett Favre’s successor.
Both McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese spoke with Manning on Saturday to explain the decision to draft Webb, who threw 37 touchdown passes in his only season at California. He transferred from Texas Tech, where he lost his starting job to Patrick Mahomes.
“This guy is a football player. Son of a coach, tough guy,” said Marc Ross, the Giants’ vice president of player evaluation.
“Obviously disappointed. I’m sure he’s disappointed right now that he wasn’t a higher pick. That’s what you love in a quarterback. Guys that can bounce back and have fortitude to persevere. That’s what you need. We think he has that.”
McAdoo refused to disclose the content of his conversation with Manning on Saturday. But it was clear that he likes Webb, whom he described as a hard worker who loves football. He will compete with Geno Smith, Josh Johnson and Keith Wenning for the backup job to Manning.
“He’s going to have to have thick skin like they all do,” McAdoo said of Webb. “Let’s get him here and let’s get him a playbook and a helmet.”
Looking at the draft, the Giants created some competition on the roster, particularly at tight end, defensive tackle, running back (Wayne Gallman of Clemson) and on the offensive line, moving up in the sixth round to take Adam Bisnowaty of Pittsburgh, who can play both tackle and guard.
Engram has the best chance to contribute this season. The tight end from Mississippi is a matchup problem for defenses, giving the Giants a deep threat down the middle. He had eight touchdown catches with Mississippi last season.
Tomlinson will compete with Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas. Gallman, who felt he would be picked higher after consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, will compete against Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen for playing time.
The one pick that raised some eyebrows was selecting Avery Moss of Youngstown State in the fifth round. He started his career at Nebraska, but was suspended for the 2014 season after pleading no contest to one count of public indecency. He later was dismissed from the program.
Moss transferred to Youngstown State and had 14 sacks in 25 games. He had 19 sacks in a combined 40 games with Nebraska and Youngstown State.
“He’s a true defensive end that can play the run, rush the passer,” Reese said. “Big guy, has a lot of upside. We think he is just now scratching the surface of where we think he can be.”
The negative is his past.
“We think he’s well past those things,” Reese said. “We’ll definitely keep an eye on that and if he needs any help in respect to that, we’ll definitely be there to help him.”
The Giants did not address their need at inside linebacker. They also don’t have a proven placekicker. Robbie Gould signed with the 49ers and unproven free agent Aldrick Rosas is the only kicker on the roster now.