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10 Giants players who need more playing time to prepare for 2019

(Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports)

With the 2018 playoffs now officially out of reach, we believe the Giants stand to gain very little by playing Eli Manning over Kyle Lauletta over the final two games. We also don’t subscribe to the theory that Lauletta is “not ready” after watching San Francisco 49ers undrafted rookie quarterback Nick Mullens find so much NFL success after being thrown into the mix. 

For those fans who have given up on Lauletta after his first live action against the Washington Redskins, we implore you to heed the words of head coach Pat Shurmur.

With the Giants jumping out to a 40-0 lead in the third quarter, Lauletta had the opportunity to play for the entire fourth quarter. Lauletta struggled in his Giants debut that included an interception and an 0-for-5 passing performance. After the game, head coach Pat Shurmur broke down the rookie’s first live action on his interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa prior to Week 15.

“It was a great opportunity for him to play an extended period of time — he had a full quarter,” Shurmur said to Francesa. “We were in that mode where we were at run-run-throw on third down so it’s not totally fair to him. There are things he will learn from for the next time. We believe in Kyle and that the next time he goes in there he’s going to have better success. It’s just like anybody, the first time you do it there’s a lot to learn between the first and second time, and he’ll do it.”

Earlier this week, Shurmur confirmed the Giants believe Lauletta has a bright future.

Lauletta has a lot of believers in the organization and legendary Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi is one of them. The man tasked with finding the next Giants franchise quarterback in 2004 and succeeding by having a conviction on Eli Manning, now has a conviction on another Giants quarterback. According to Accorsi, Lauletta has what it takes to eventually take over as the Giants franchise quarterback once Manning retires. Accorsi believes the Giants made the right move to use the No. 108 overall pick on Lauletta, but if he were in their shoes, he might have pulled the trigger on drafting Lauletta earlier in the draft.

“The steal of their draft might be a quarterback — Kyle Lauletta from Richmond,” Accorsi told the Talk of Fame Sports Network. “That kid walks into the Senior Bowl … and I know the Senior Bowl is like an all-star game. Yet with all those big names he walks away with the MVP award.”

The Senior Bowl featured two of the first three rookie quarterbacks to come off the big board within the first seven picks of the 2018 NFL Draft in Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. Despite playing among those quarterbacks, Lauletta rose to the occasion and performed admirably en route to winning the award. Lauletta completed 8-of-12 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns for the South in a 45-16 victory over the North in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Most importantly, Giants coaches in attendance were able to see how Lauletta performs at a higher level of competition after playing at a small school like Richmond. The Senior Bowl features the best senior players in the nation from all of the schools (including all of the Power-5 conferences).

“The only thing he does not have is a howitzer. But neither did Montana. Neither did Garopplo. Neither did Brady when he came out,” Accorsi said. “You can increase arm strength. But he’s got everything else. He’s got footwork. He’s got the great release. He’s a winner. He’s taken teams down the field [in the last two minutes]. I know the coach at Albany said when the game was over, ‘He beat me in the fourth quarter two straight years. I went over to him to make sure he has no eligibility left.’

“I really think that was a great pick. I was hopeful they’d pick him in the third round because they had two threes, and they passed on him. Fortunately, he was there in the fourth.”

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