The 2014 NFL Draft class boasts an abundance of highly touted quarterback prospects. Fortunately for the New York Giants, however, they won’t have to shuffle through the crop to find the best one; Eli Manning is still a starting-caliber NFL quarterback.
Yes, Manning is coming off the worst season of his pro career. But the 33-year-old gunslinger is still a top-10 quarterback with two Super Bowl rings and a rare ability to pull a victory out of nothing.
Manning has a knack for making the players around him better, and has done so throughout the duration of his 10-year career. 2013 was certainly a down year, but Manning has still thrown for more than 3,800 yards in five straight seasons. He still poses a threat in the fourth quarter when the Giants are trailing and, when provided with protection—something that lacked this past season—Manning can be as good as any quarterback in the league.
There’s no doubt Manning is on the decline. His numbers have dipped over the last two seasons, but he is not all to blame for those mishaps. With an offseason to improve, Manning and the Giants are still a talented unit capable of running the table in the NFC East.
He has compiled a 85-66 record since being acquired by the G-Men in 2004 from the San Diego Chargers. Though the Giants have appeared in the playoffs five times during his career, they’ve had just two losing seasons—this season and his rookie year. His record in the playoffs—8-3 including two Super Bowl triumphs over the New England Patriots—is among the all-time best quarterbacks to ever play the game.
The Giants realize Manning won’t be able to go forever. They added Syracuse alum Ryan Nassib in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Nassib is far from NFL ready, providing Big Blue with plenty of time to groom him as Manning’s career enters its twilight.
For the time being, however, the Giants are Manning’s team to lead. After a dismal 2013 campaign, you’d be wise to bet that Manning will be back in 2014 looking to make vast improvements on his poor play. A 27-interception season is completely unacceptable, but Manning is far from the league’s worst quarterback and he’ll be striving hard to prove that.
Do you remember the last time Manning had something to prove? Yea, the Giants went on to win their second Super Bowl with the youngest Manning behind center and he backed up his claims that he was, in fact, among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.