Webb unlikely to play in 2017-18 season

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Even Davis Webb’s supporters weren’t generally willing to say that he was ready to step right into the NFL as a starter; he’s too raw and too inaccurate, regardless of how big his arm is.

Despite how disappointing it may have been to Webb himself, falling to the New York Giants in the third round and becoming Eli Manning’s heir apparent looks to be a good thing in the long run. Webb could potentially back up a Super Bowl winner for a few years, soak up all the knowledge he needs and step into the spotlight after a little maturing.

That path is still a possibility, but since the NFL draft, a few concerns have emerged.

“We’ve been in contact throughout this long draft process,” Webb said on his draft night. “But you just never know until draft night.”

It looked like an incredibly innocuous statement at first, but it has since come out that the Giants’ coaching staff had never met Webb until he showed up for rookie minicamps. He had apparently met with someone in the Giants front office during the NFL combine, but because of the importance of the quarterback position, teams generally try to get a lot of facetime with draft picks for that position.

Almost all quarterback prospects have a private workout with the team that ends up selecting them. Every team handles the draft in its own way, but it’s hard to see this as a good sign for Webb going forward.

Considering that Giants head coach Ben McAdoo had never met Webb before the draft, it then becomes unsurprising that shortly after Webb was headed for New York, McAdoo stated that he anticipates Webb slotting in as the third-string quarterback for his rookie season. If that indeed ends up being the case, Webb will almost certainly be inactive for all 16 games of the upcoming season.

McAdoo later said that Webb will have a chance to compete with Geno Smith for the backup position, but the coach seemed to tip his hand pretty clearly in terms of which way he expects the competition to go.

On top of McAdoo’s unfamiliarity with Webb, it is a less than ideal fit of scheme and player. McAdoo’s offense is characterized by short yardage and high completion percentage passes. Accuracy comes at a premium over deep balls, and if you watched Davis Webb in his time at Cal, you know that’s not good news for the soon to be rookie.

Manning, however, has never been a player known for his accuracy or good decision-making. He’s a turnover-friendly gambler who loves to take shots down the field, just like Webb.

But the two-time champion has found a way to make it work. Although his numbers were down in the 2016-17 season, McAdoo’s first as head coach, he thrived for the two years prior when McAdoo was serving as the Giants offensive coordinator.

McAdoo went out of his way to say it’s not Manning’s responsibility to tutor Webb, but if Manning can teach Webb how to leverage the best of their high-risk style of play with McAdoo’s fairly conservative system, things could turn around for Webb.

Andrew Wild covers football. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @andrewwild17.