Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora have seen Eli Manning at the pinnacle of his career, both winning two Super Bowls with Manning as quarterback, so of course they still have faith that he can get the job done.
Yet the Giants have a difficult decision to make with their 38-year-old quarterback and whether or not to draft his successor to either replace learn from under Manning.
Umenyiora, however, believes that while his former teammate may not be able to make some of the same throws as he could 10 years ago, the Giants should steer clear of drafting a quarterback and that Manning has years left.
“You got a good nucleus,” he told Paul Schwartz of The Post. “You got good players. Odell [Beckham] is still there, Saquon Barkley, outstanding, Evan Engram, the offensive line started to play pretty well. The defense played OK, need obviously more pass rushers. … They got a good nucleus of players, you don’t want to go draft a new quarterback right now. It’s a difficult thing to do, not everybody’s going to be a Baker Mayfield coming out. I think you stick with Eli for another year or two and see what happens.”
While the offensive line has been problematic in recent years for Manning, much of the criticism lies that the new breed of quarterback is more mobile and can overcome such shortcomings at the line and extend the play.
Umenyiora disagrees, pointing to the style of the two quarterbacks twho played in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
“That’s a new breed of quarterback?” he said. “You got Jared Goff, you got Tom Brady, they aren’t the most mobile quarterbacks. So for all the hype about all the mobile quarterbacks, how many of them are actually winning championships? You don’t really see that. So there’s still something to be said for the guy who sits in the pocket and makes plays. I still think [Manning] can get it done, for sure.”
Umenyiora did admit that if he believed Manning was old or breaking down he would nto come out and say it publicly, but would still let him know.
“I would be like, ‘Eli, c’mon. It’s got to come to an end for everybody,'” he said. “I would say it to him, for sure. But publicly I would never come out and say something like that.”
Meanwhile, Tuck also echoed much of what Umenyiora said, that Manning can still play and still lead his team but just needs some help on the offensive line.
Yet the former defensive tackle was a little more realistic about the situation Manning and the Giants face.
“I would love for them to go out and get some more help on the O-line, maybe a draft pick, but his time is coming, so if they are thinking about going quarterback in the first round this year,” he told The Post. “I would love to see Eli have the opportunity for one more year with the Giants and play up until the point they think he’s effective and then turn the reins over to the up-and-coming gunslinger.”