INDIANAPOLIS — The Giants’ next quarterback undoubtedly will be younger than Eli Manning. But could he be slower than Manning, too?
If it’s Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State, then yes. Haskins ran a lumbering 5.04 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday. He was the only one of the quarterbacks projected to go in the first few rounds to fail to crack the five-second mark and also did not better the far-from-blistering 4.9 seconds that Manning ran at his workout in 2004.
According to the NFL Network, Haskins dealt with some leg cramps before his runs, and he will try to improve his time at his Pro Day later this month.
But even that cringeworthy number shouldn’t do much to slow down the momentum some teams — including perhaps the Giants — have about Haskins and his potential in the NFL.
“There’s elements of mobility where a guy can just take off and run and gain 60,” Pat Shurmur said regarding quarterbacks. “Then there’s the mobility in the pocket to clear your feet, clear your vision and make a throw.”
General manager Dave Gettleman said that was something he learned from Mike Shanahan in Denver in the 1990s, and it holds true today.
“In this day and age with all the athletes on the field, at some point in time, a quarterback’s got to make plays with his feet,’’ Gettleman said. “And making plays with your feet doesn’t mean you [run] 4.4. It’s the subtle pocket stuff guys do.”
Besides, everyone already knew Haskins is a bit cement-footed. Even he acknowledged it a bit when he spoke with the media on Friday. But when he participated in other on-field drills on Saturday, he really showed off what has made him a likely first-round pick.
“He did what he had to do in terms of checking off the boxes,” NFL Draft Scout analyst Ric Serritella said of his workout. “Proved to be a natural thrower, handled the curl routes effortlessly and threw some beautiful deep post corner balls. The majority of his downfield passes had nice touch, but some had a bit too much air underneath. He demonstrated excellent timing and anticipation on his slant throws. Haskins will be the No. 1 quarterback prospect on many team’s draft boards.”
Former NFL quarterback and SiriusXM NFL Radio analyst Jim Miller also was impressed.
“I love Haskins,” he said. “For him, composition-wise, he’s going to lose all of the baby fat that he has on him. But in terms of his delivery, his release, he’s a humble kid, he knows the X’s and O’s, he works extremely hard. To me, that kid just gets it.”
Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray did not participate in any of the on-field drills. He’ll do so at his Pro Day. He already “won” his Combine appearance when he measured in at 5-10 1⁄8.
A few other quarterbacks stood out on Saturday. Serritella said Drew Lock of Missouri “flashed nice zip and strong arm velocity as he fired off several lasers” and called Tyree Jackson of Buffalo “a raw prospect with immense arm strength and a raw skill-set who showed various velocity on his deep throws and delivered an impressive 50-yard bomb in stride.”
Duke’s Daniel Jones probably was the most polished quarterback in terms of mechanics.
“You can tell he’s well coached under [Duke coach David] Cutcliffe,” Miller said. “Peyton Manning, the Manning family, is working with him as well. I really think he’s a little underrated at this point.”
In a cute moment, Pat Shurmur gave a proud fist pump after his son, Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur, ran his 40-yard dash.
The one quarterback who set himself back with his performance probably was Will Grier of West Virginia. Serritella said he had “very poor accuracy and wobbly passes on the short throws. He did have a few nice deep ball throws, which were probably his best moments of the session. However, he could stand to improve his release and mechanics.”
Serritella said Grier is a “borderline Day 2 prospect” whose performance on Saturday could bump him down to Day 3.
If this combine showed anything about the quarterbacks, it’s that there is not one ideal, unblemished candidate. There is no slam dunk of a pick. If the Giants take one of them, he’ll either be too slow or too short or too something else that can’t necessarily be fixed.
They’ll leave Indianapolis with a month and a half to come to terms with that and decide what they want to do.