When the New York Giants traded their Round 4 (No. 116) and Round 6 (No. 187) selections to the Arizona Cardinals for pick No. 110, and then selected Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, Big Blue fans likely thought that the team had acquired the heir apparent to Eli Manning.
How can I be so sure of this? Because I grew up in New York and live in the city. Immediately after the pick, I received a deluge of text messages from friends and family saying as much.
While Nassib will absolutely provide a short-term solution as Manning's top backup, I don't believe that he'll be the Giants' next starting quarterback after Manning hangs up the cleats.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup midway through the 2004 season, Manning hasn't missed a game. He holds the NFL's longest current streak of consecutive starts by a quarterback with 135, to go along with 11 straight starts in the postseason.
Despite his age (32), I fully expect Manning to be the Giants' starting quarterback for another five to seven seasons. He comes from a family where his father (Archie, 11 seasons) and older brother (Peyton, entering his 16th season) both played double-digit campaigns. Manning is entering his 10th season as the Giants quarterback and has a lot more football left in him.
While no quarterback is indestructible, as Peyton's season-ending neck injury in 2011 illustrated, Eli Manning has proven to be the epitome of toughness and durability, always getting up after being hit in titanic fashion.
For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that Manning only plays another four seasons. That would mean he retires at age 36, in 2017.
Is it likely that Nassib would then take over for Manning as the Giants' franchise quarterback?
I say no, and it's for the reason below.
Let's call a spade a spade: It's a total shocker that Nassib lasted until the fourth round. He was projected by many, including B/R draft guru Matt Miller, to be selected in either the first or second round.
Nassib (6'2", 225 lbs) has the talent to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He has good accuracy, an NFL-caliber arm and makes smart decisions with the football. He's an intelligent guy and is super tough, standing strong in the pocket.
He was also the reason why Syracuse went 8-5 in 2012, compiling wins over Pittsburgh, Louisville and Missouri in the regular season. He then helped the Orange defeat Geno Smith and West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl. Without Nassib, there's no way Syracuse would have finished over .500.
So, working under the scenario where Manning only plays until he's 36, that would mean Nassib would have to sit and not play for four seasons.
There's no chance that happens, though.
The Giants Will Trade Him
Nassib is too good for the Giants to just hold on to while Manning continues to author a Hall of Fame career.
There are always teams that are in dire need of a quarterback, and there's no scenario I can conjure up where, in a few seasons, Nassib wouldn't be a hot commodity for teams who desire a franchise signal-caller.
So, will Nassib be the heir apparent to Manning? No, I don't believe he will.
In fact, if Nassib ever ends up starting a number of games for the Giants, it'll be a disaster, as it will mean Manning is injured.
But that in no way, shape or form should detract from this selection. It was a prescient one by general manager Jerry Reese, who will be able to acquire a pick (or picks) for Nassib that's better than the one he used to select him.