Throughout the course of NFL Draft history, we’ve seen occasional draft picks made that were determined to be “reaches”. Depending upon the public’s perception and evaluation of a player, the spot in which that player was selected was deemed to be too high.
This is the current narrative for Daniel Jones, the rookie quarterback out of Duke.
The majority of national draft media has determined that Jones does not have the tools, traits or abilities to be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL. Therefore, he was most likely worthy of a mid-late 2nd round draft pick. However, is this entirely accurate or fair?
Jones may end up bringing more to the table than most people believe…
NFL Scouting Combine Overview
|Height/Weight||40 Yard Dash||Vertical Jump||Broad Jump||3 Cone Drill|
|6'5"/221 pounds||4.81 seconds||33.5 inches||120 inches||7.0 seconds|
Jones is an underrated athlete and the numbers from the NFL Combine display that. While a 4.81 40-Yard Dash is not considered incredibly fast for a quarterback, Jones has shown on several occasions that he has the ability to pick up large chunks of yards on either designed runs or scrambling when the pocket collapses.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) November 13, 2018
While this is an underrated aspect of his game, it’s still not where Jones wins. Jones wins through standing in the pocket and delivering accurate passes in the short to intermediate passing game. He wins with the easy passes the coach designs for him with screens, slants, curls, etc.
His college tape shows that he can make these types of throws, but looking at his stats from a surface level it would be fair to doubt whether that’s true.
|Year||Passing Yards||Completion Percentage||Passing TD's||Interceptions||Rushing Yards/Rushing TD's|
These are not numbers that are going to generate buzz when looking at them from a surface level. However, when evaluating the Duke offense as a whole, you will frequently watch his receivers literally drop the ball. This season alone, his receivers dropped 38 passes. The surrounding cast around Jones at Duke was not anything spectacular and this affected his overall numbers and production.
With that being said, Jones was still able to get things done on the ground and utilize that underrated athleticism to move the chains. He constantly displays toughness in the pocket and the ability to make the tough throw when under pressure, which is a trait that will translate to the NFL.
I'm currently watching Daniel Jones film vs. Clemson and this…this is a big boy throw.
I'm coming away really impressed with Jones' accuracy and willingness to stand in the pocket. He might not have the ceiling of a Haskins or Murray, but he might have the highest floor. pic.twitter.com/jBymcshIhq
— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) April 22, 2019
Jones has his limitations though, certainly. He lacks top-end arm strength like several of the other quarterbacks we’ve seen come out of the NFL Draft recently and appears to be nothing more than a “game manager” at the next level. He’ll make the throws the coach designs for him to make, but he lacks the creativity to make things happen on his own.
His best fit in the NFL is going to be with a West Coast offense that relies heavily on running the ball, utilizing play action and attacking the short to intermediate passing game.
Daniel Jones was selected with the #6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to be the successor to Eli Manning.
Jones will now sit behind Manning until Pat Shurmur, the head coach of the New York Giants, determines that it’s time for Jones to step in and take over.
Jones joins the perfect offense for his skill set as he’ll be asked to hand the ball off frequently to Saquon Barkley and utilize the quick passing game in a timing-based system.
— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) May 4, 2019
Shurmur will know how to get the best out of Jones in his system and having a dominant running back like Barkley in the backfield with him certainly does not hurt.
While it will be a while (reportedly) before Jones ever sees the field as a starter for the Giants, there is a reason to be optimistic for his production as a fantasy contributor. His mobility will allow him to rack up those “cheap” running yards for a quarterback and he’ll be able to get the ball into his playmakers’ hands in New York.
Was Jones worth the #6 overall pick in my mind? No. But he’s a smart quarterback with the traits needed to succeed in Shurmur’s offense. He’ll be asked to sit and learn behind Manning and won’t have the pressure to start right away.