During my pre-draft review of guys who could replace New York Giants star quarterback Eli Manning, Davis Webb was one of the first guys I eliminated from contention.
After watching a few games of his this past season, I left unimpressed. I also wrote him off immediately because he transferred after he lost his starting job at Texas Tech to Patrick Mahomes. I’m going to be honest; I didn’t put the work in to see what Davis Webb truly was. I wrote him off quickly and moved on. When the Giants drafted him with the 23rd pick in the third round I was irate. I thought this was their worst pick in a while.
After pondering it for a few hours I decided right then and there that he was going to be my next article. I decided good, bad, or indifferent, this piece was either going to be me bashing the Giants, or me coming around to the pick. I put in days of research on this guy to decide whether or not he was the future replacement of Eli Manning. At the end of it all, my feelings changed quite a bit.
One of the first reasons I wrote off Webb was the fact that he transferred after losing his starting job. In my head I felt like he gave up or “quit.” I thought he took the easy way out. I’ll admit that it was lazy analysis, I took the easy way out and labeled him a quitter before I checked out the back story.
It turns out he was a successful quarterback in his first two seasons in Lubbock. During that second season, Webb injured his shoulder in the eighth game and was forced out for the season. This is where Mahomes enters the fold. He took over for Webb and really never looked back. They had an open competition the following season, but as we all know, Mahomes had won over his coaches prior to that competition, and with good reason. Mahomes is electric and ended up being a top ten pick this season. Webb didn’t just drop everything and leave; he filled his role as the backup, even playing in five games. After the season he used his graduate transfer rights to go to a situation where he could show off why he should be a starting quarterback.
He left on great terms with both his coach and predecessor. His coach, Kliff Kingsbury, had nothing but great things to say about him on ESPN.
“Davis Webb is the hardest working individual I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching.”
Kingsbury also continued to say that he was a fierce competitor and a talented quarterback, saying he would go on to change the outlook at whatever program he ended up at. You don’t normally see that type of praise from a coach about a kid who was transferring from his program. As the starter in Lubbock Webb threw for 5,557 yards, 46 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions. In his only bowl game start he was the MVP of the Holiday Bowl. He diced up the 14th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils, throwing for 403 yards and four touchdowns. It wasn’t perfect, but his 14 starts in Lubbock were very good. You see people get replaced by their backups because of injury all the time. Tony Romo who was loved by Jerry Jones was even replaced by Dak Prescott. It happens. Webb decided to move on and fight for a starting job elsewhere, which was his right.
Another story that turned me off before I even looked into was Webb de-committing from Colorado just a month after committing there. On it’s face it looked bad if you combined this with his transfer from Texas Tech. Once I began researching it, I realized why he did it and saw that he handled it like a man. Originally when he transferred, he thought Colorado was the best option for him. The offensive coordinator at the time was Darrin Chiaverini, who was an assistant at Texas Tech prior to him heading out to Colorado.
What ended up changing was Cal hiring Jake Spavital as their offensive coordinator – a Kliff Kingbury protégé. Webb felt this was a better fit because the playbooks were more similar and they ran some of the same plays and concepts. Instead of letting Colorado find out from another outlet, he decided to call them immediately. He first called up Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre then offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini letting them know that he felt Cal was a better fit for him for his final season. Both coaches had a lot of good to say about him afterwards. He handled this like an adult, you don’t see recruits or transfers handle their de-commissions like this too often. I don’t blame Webb. He had one final season to prove what type of quarterback he was. Going to a place similar to where he transferred from makes a lot of sense for a one year transfer student who is looking to build up their draft stock. Looking at it now, Colorado may have been better for him as they were a much better team than Cal all the way around.
*Source: FOX Sports
Statistically, Webb had an impressive season. He threw for 4,295 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions while completing 61.6% of his passes as he was one of the most decorated passers in the nation. He wasn’t all that far off from top pick Jared Goff. To compare, Goff threw for 4,714 yards, 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 64.5% of his passes. Webb finished his college career with 5-7 overall record and 3-6 record in conference. Not impressive, but at the same time his defense didn’t do him any favors.
Outside of Chad Hansen, Webb didn’t have much talent on the offensive side of the ball either. I felt having one season in this new system he did a decent job, statistically speaking. It’s tough to get continuity with a new coaching staff and new teammates in just one season.
Overall it was a disappointing season for Webb, but at the same time he showed that he was a legitimate starting quarterback. However, stats don’t tell the whole story.
.@PFF Davis Webb is the Christian Hackenberg of 2017. Big arm but struggles with touch and accuracy at all levels of the field. Not correctable.
— Ryan Smith (@RSmithNFL) April 29, 2017
As I said earlier, I had only watched a few games on Webb and was unimpressed. No, it wasn’t all highlights. DraftBreakdown.com is a tremendous source to scout college prospects as it allows you to watch every snap throughout the duration of a game for that respective player. I sat down and watched the ten games which were accessible last season and saw some great throws, some bad throws, some good throws, and some absolutely terrible decisions.
Scavenging through all the tape this site had on Webb, I learned a lot about him. He is most definitely going to be a project. He played in two different spread systems that don’t exactly have the most difficult passing concepts. He is going to have to learn to take snaps from under center, read coverages, change protection, and work through his progressions. The NFL style of offense, while it is evolving, is much more difficult than the college spread. Right away that is something I noticed.
Digging deeper I saw a lot of other issues with Webb’s game. His footwork isn’t all that great. He doesn’t always set his feet before he throws, and obviously that will cause problems. While you can get away with that in college, you can’t in the NFL. He gets happy feet in the pocket sometimes and that causes some ugly throws and bad decisions when under pressure. He has a lot of accuracy issues with intermediate routes. There are games where he is on the money, there are others where he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of the boat in the middle of the ocean.
A really good example is the Washington game. The best secondary he faced all year was none other than what the Huskies presented. In the first half he was money, in the second half he looked like a high school quarterback playing against Denver’s secondary. He threw all three of his interceptions in the second half during their shellacking. Not to pile on, but his decision making has to get better as well. He sometimes will throw to his main target even if he is blanketed by the secondary. He forces the ball and doesn’t have the best vision. With all of that bad comes some good.
Outside of maybe Deshone Kizer, Davis Webb throws the cleanest deep ball in this draft class. The man has a cannon and drops it right in the bread basket. He can get it there no problem and he has great touch. He can make all of the throws when he’s on and can define the coverage. His best accuracy comes when he is confident and when he reads the defense correctly. He can drive the ball in to just about any window too. Webb was 36 out of 102 on throws over 20 yards for a total of 1,186 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
When he was allowed to open it up and he read the defense well, Webb was impressive. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but man you can see the potential. He actually showed that potential in the Senior Bowl. He led the team to victory. Webb completed 11 out of 16 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. He also went on to be named the MVP of the game. Like I said, there is a lot of untapped potential there with Webb.
For a full Davis Webb scouting report, click here.
At the end of the day, was this the best pick for the Giants to make in the 3rd round? No, they could have addressed a number of different positions. Heck, they could have traded down and picked him later in the third, but as we know, Jerry Reese doesn’t roll like that. Webb wouldn’t have been there at their pick in the 4th round, so I get it; they believed in Webb and they took him where they knew they could get their guy.
After doing more research I am happier with the pick than I was originally. The deeper I dug, the more good I was able to find. Remember at one point people were saying a team was going to draft him in the 1st round. That proved to be a smokescreen, and for good reason as taking him in the 1st or 2nd round would have been a big mistake.
Webb will need at least two or three seasons to fix his game before he should play in a regular season match. The 3rd or 4th round was a good spot for him to go. With the state of the quarterback in the NFL, it is imperative to have a plan for when your starting quarterback is done. Teams like the Jets, Browns, and Texans have not been able to figure out the position for years; you don’t ever want to be stuck in that situation as an NFL team. The Giants are a win now team, but with Eli being in his late thirties, you need a backup plan because you never know when the end will be for Eli.
In my opinion, after doing all of the research, watching his game tape, and really considering where the rest of the NFL is when it comes to starting quarterbacks, I like the pick. While on it’s face Webb was not a top tier quarterback prospect, there is definitely untapped potential and talent there. He played in bad offenses and on bad teams in college. He was involved in games where he put up 40 and lost. He was forced to try and make big plays where they didn’t exist because he was always playing catch up. The spread offense he recently played in involved a lot of screens and check downs and a non-existent run game. He also didn’t have the best talent catching his passes. He is a coach’s son who knows the game. Webb is a smart guy and a hard worker. It’ll come down to coaching and his own drive to be able to be successful down the line. I believe he could be the successor to Eli Manning if he truly tries to learn behind Eli Manning and from the tutelage of Ben McAdoo, he can be a successful quarterback.
He’s started off on the right foot already: Eli yelled at him for calling him sir. The 6’5”/194 pound quarterback is our future whether we like it or not. Having a plan in place is better than no plan at all.