The last time Davis Webb came to the New York area, it was to work out for the Jets. He probably thought that was the kind of team he would end up with, the kind that is looking for a quarterback to come in and compete for the starting job — if not this year, then next year at the latest.
There are plenty of those quarterback-hungry teams out there.
Instead, when his phone finally rang on Friday night, it was the Giants calling to congratulate him on being the 87th overall selection in the draft and welcome him to what might be a very long vacation from actually playing.
Webb joins a team with a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback who is 36 but has not missed a start since 2004. And while there may be a light at the end of that long tunnel that will transition the Giants from Eli Manning to whoever follows him — at this point Webb would seem to be the favorite for that title — it could be a number of years before Webb actually plays in a football game that matters.
That’s understandably hard to digest.
“I was ecstatic,” Webb said of being taken by the Giants, starting his relationship off with a very Manning-like interview of saying all the right things. “I was very fortunate to be selected by such a great organization and great coaches and Coach McAdoo and I am just very thankful for the Giants’ organization picking me up today and I am ready to get to work.”
He even denied any frustration about his fate.
“I commit to the controllables, and the Giants thought enough of me to pick me tonight and I am just very thankful for the opportunity,” he said. “I’m looking forward to meeting teammates and getting in the playbook and being in the weight room and just develop relationships and be a great quarterback.”
General manager Jerry Reese made it clear that this still is Manning’s team. For now.
“We hope that Eli plays for a long time for us,” Reese said. “Eli is our quarterback and we still think that he can play at a high level, but we do know that he is not going to play forever, so we are trying to make the best decision as we move forward for the rest of Eli’s career.”
That leaves Webb holding the clipboard for the foreseeable future.
“Obviously, we would like for him to have a couple years to be the caddie and learn the pro game and all the nuances of playing quarterback in these league,” Reese said.
It’s not as easy a role as it sounds.
“I think it’s tough to come into the league and be a number two,” Ben McAdoo said. “I don’t think there are very many guys, even in this draft, that can come in and be a number two quarterback. I think it’s challenging, it’s asking an awful lot. It’s a different game and it’s a challenge.”
There also are positives.
“It’s a benefit to be able to sit behind especially a veteran quarterback and learn,” McAdoo said. “It goes a long way.”
McAdoo was in Green Bay as an assistant when the Packers transitioned from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers, a situation that worked out about as well as it possibly could from a football perspective but fractured many relationships in the organization. He said he will not be spending any extra time focusing on the quarterback room and the dynamics between the players there, one waiting to step on the field and the other knowing that his time with the organization is now finite.
As for Webb, he will return to New York in a few weeks — not as a Jet about to stake his claim as an NFL quarterback but as a Giant for rookie minicamp.
“There were a lot of teams out there, but I am just very happy that the Giants selected me tonight and I am looking forward to getting up there,” he said. “I don’t know what my role on the team is yet.”
He does. Coming to grips with it is another thing.