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Does the Giants commitment to Eli Manning in 2019 impact the thinking on Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray?

INDIANAPOLIS — Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur both said on Wednesday they want Eli Manning back in 2019. Gettleman also said he “would love to draft a franchise quarterback in this class.”

The Giants’ model for doing both?

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“Listen, the Kansas City model worked. How’s that?” Gettleman told local beat writers at a roundtable after his NFL Combine podium show.

The Kansas City model, of course, refers to the Chiefs’ trading up 17 spots to draft Patrick Mahomes 10th overall in 2017. They sat him essentially for his entire first season behind veteran Alex Smith, then traded Smith and unleashed Mahomes who became the 2018 MVP.

There is nothing wrong with the Giants emulating success. However, pulling off a Chiefs-size succession plan using the No. 6 overall pick may not be realistic with Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray as the targets and Manning as the veteran starter.

Haskins and Murray are both on the Giants’ radar. So they’re doing their homework.

“I watched every play of their seasons,” Shurmur said. “All of them.”

Manning returns for another season.
Manning returns for another season. (Bill Kostroun / AP)

Gettleman also said he subscribes to the philosophy of his “conciliary,” former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi. If you’re looking for a franchise quarterback, you're almost always going to find him in the first round.

But the Daily News talked to a handful of league scouts who believe that: 1) franchises will find it tough to sit a first-round QB for a year — despite the Chiefs’ success doing so — as evidenced by last season’s five first-round QBs all eventually starting games.

And 2) Haskins and Murray, despite having limited college experience, are both good enough to either start right away or push to command early playing time.

Neither Haskins’ nor Murray’s agent would say if his client would be OK with sitting behind Manning for a year when asked by the News. But their clients’ talents and league trends, even with Kansas City’s bullseye hit on Mahomes, aren’t in the Giants’ favor.

As it is, Murray and Haskins may not even be available at the Giants’ No. 6 pick anyway.

Murray is a possibility for the Giants, but me may not be there.
Murray is a possibility for the Giants, but me may not be there. (Lynne Sladky / AP)

Cardinals GM Steve Keim, who has the No. 1 pick and a head coach in Kliff Kingsbury who loves Murray, fueled the fire that Arizona could take a top-10 QB for a second straight year.

Asked if Josh Rosen were his quarterback, Keim hedged: “He is right now, for sure.”

Haskins’ combination of size, strength and accuracy also are making him a coveted prospect. A team may have to trade up into the top three to get Haskins.

Gettleman made it clear that getting the quarterback right is his priority.

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“I talk to (former Giants GM) Ernie (Accorsi) all the time,” Gettleman said. “And what Ernie did for the Giants (trading for Manning on draft day in 2004) it would be a dream for me to do the same thing ... I would love to draft a franchise quarterback in this class and then watch him from Cape Cod and enjoy the hell out of him. OK? So it’s a gift. That’s what I have to do for the New York Giants.”

But Shurmur doubled down that he believes Manning has “years” left, and so would Murray and Haskins really want to wait behind Manning for two years, let alone one? Hard to believe, especially for Murray, who gave up playing Major League Baseball to play football, not watch it.

Big Blue would almost certainly need to trade up for Haskins.
Big Blue would almost certainly need to trade up for Haskins. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

Gettleman has scouted other quarterbacks, though, too. And so perhaps the attention should shift to the rest of the group. The GM said this past fall, he saw Murray, Haskins, Duke’s Daniel Jones, Missouri’s Drew Lock and West Virginia’s Will Grier play in person. Then he watched the likes of Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and N.C. State’s Ryan Finley at the Senior Bowl.

In all likelihood, this could mean that the Giants will use their early second-round pick on a QB, or trade up into the late first round — or acquire a late first-round pick via another trade to take the quarterback — if they believe they’ve found their man.

The veteran free agent route would seem to be off the table, even as Eagles GM Howie Roseman announced Nick Foles would hit the open market. A Derek Carr trade sounds out of the question, too, as Raiders GM Mike Mayock threw his backing behind Oakland’s QB.

This means Manning is set to play out his current contract at least.

“I think Eli can help us win games,” Shurmur said. “He proved, when the players around him started playing better, that he can play at a very high level and help us win games. So yeah, at this point I want Eli back. He’s back ... I fully expect him (to be back).”

Shurmur did leave the door open to the possibility that a rookie QB could succeed Manning midseason and wouldn’t necessarily sit the whole year. The coach said “we always will try to play the best player on the day that we’re playing to help us win the game, so as all that comes together, that’s when you make those decisions.”

Still, Shurmur also referenced and seemed to favor “the Kansas City model.”

“We can rationalize taking any player at any pick if we think at some point he’s gonna have great success playing for the New York Football Giants,” Shurmur said. “Whether it’s the first week he’s there or halfway through the first season or year two.

“If we’re speaking specifically about the quarterbacks, some QBs come in and start day one and some have success,” he said. “And most of those guys, they’re learning the hard way. Then you watch Patrick Mahomes. He wasn’t even on the field his first year and we saw what he did in his second. So there’s a lot of ways to think about this.”

Gettleman, meanwhile, admitted that if he doesn’t feel his franchise quarterback is in this class, then he won’t reach. He won’t force the pick. He would wait until 2020 if that’s what his scouting of the prospects showed.

“Exactly,” he said.

But then he smirked and added with a grin: “You never know.”

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