EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Eli Manning isn’t paying much attention to the NFL draft, even with the possibility of the New York Giants using the No. 2 overall pick to take an heir apparent to the two-time Super Bowl MVP.
Manning doubted that he would watch the first round of the draft on Thursday, saying it wouldn’t be hard to find out whether general manager Dave Gettleman either went for a quarterback or opted to take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, or traded down.
Manning didn’t seem to care. He was more concerned with learning Pat Shurmur’s offense during a three-day voluntary minicamp, and he was enjoying all the compliments his new head coach was heaping on him.
A day ago, Shurmur called Manning the fittest 37-year-old he has seen. His play was the coach’s focus Wednesday.
“This guy’s a pro,” Shurmur said. “What you noticed about him is you only have to run a play or two, and he gets the drill calibrated and he gets his feet right and he makes the throw. I quickly, after being with him one day on the field, see why he’s been so successful for so long.”
Manning believes Shurmur’s offense mixes concepts used by former coaches Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo. The verbiage is different.
Shurmur is different, too. He does more coaching on the field than either of his predecessors.
“A lot of times in this time of year you have a few weeks to practice some routes and practice things on the field before you go practice them,” Manning said. “This year you’re kind of thrown right into the mix and we’re kind of learning on the fly a little bit.”
There seems to be no doubt that Manning will be running the offense, no matter who the Giants take in the draft coming off a 3-13 season.
“I feel good. I’m moving around well,” said Manning, who has 14 years of NFL experience on his resume. “I’m always working on my flexibility and my conditioning and offseason lifting and everything, so I haven’t relaxed on that in any sense. I know I need that to kind of keep up with those other guys, but I feel good in that sense and I have to keep it that way.”
Manning has spent a lot of the offseason with backup quarterback Davis Webb, lifting, working out and watching videotapes of the offense Shurmur used as the coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings last season.
The draft has more meaning for Webb, who was taken by the Giants in the third round last year. He never played, so it is hard to evaluate him.
Yet Webb doesn’t feel like he has anything to prove.
“All I’ve got to do is show what I’ve got and that’s up to them,” he said. “I try to do the best I can in the meeting rooms, the weight workouts, the practices especially. Just kind of show what I have and let them make a decision. It’s out of my control and I’m not really too worried about it, I promise. I just work hard and I know I’m going to get a chance someday.”
Webb has a lot of confidence and he has thrown some good passes in the minicamp. He plans to watch the first round of the draft, just to see who the Giants take.
Having played for California, he knows a couple of the highly regarded quarterback in the draft, Sam Darnold of Southern Cal and Josh Rosen of UCLA. He has seen some of them walking around the Giants’ headquarters for pre-draft meetings.
“I understand, that’s their job. Listen, if I was a GM, I understand, I’d do the same thing,” Webb said. “So, that does not hurt my feelings, I do not care about that. The only thing I worry about is being the best I can be because I know I’m going to get an opportunity in this league and when that comes, I’m going to be ready.”
NOTES: … DT Damon Harrison was not at the minicamp, but he called Shurmur to explain why. … The coach said he has spoken with absent RT Ereck Flowers, but he did not say what was said.