Sports

Daniel Jones Is the Answer for the Giants

The question: “What pick will make everyone laugh at us”?

Daniel Jones and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday at the NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee.
Daniel Jones and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday at the NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

At the start of the 2019 NFL Draft, Hall of Famer Joe Greene announced the winner of a contest that awarded a fan 100 years’ worth of season tickets. The winner, a New York Giants partisan, was ecstatic. It’s important to note that this took place before the Giants selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick, a move that might diminish the value of a century’s worth of Giants tickets.

Heading into the draft, even the most optimistic and flattering assessments of Jones listed him as the fourth-best quarterback available. While many experts would’ve been surprised had he risen to the lofty heights of the second round, the Giants—who had the chance to pick any non–Baker Mayfield quarterback during last year’s draft—decided to go all-in on a guy who threw for one touchdown and two interceptions in a home loss to Virginia.

Is it a good sign when an ESPN panel of experts responds to your draft pick with incomprehensible cackling?

Here is where I’m obligated to couch any doubts about Jones with a disclaimer that nobody knows anything and he may prove to be a good quarterback. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at Jones’ college statistics, which suggest that he will be a bad quarterback. Last year, Jones managed 6.9 adjusted yards per attempt. That wasn’t just subpar by the standards of top 10 draft picks: It was underwhelming for starting quarterbacks in the ACC.

For reference, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins had 10.3 adjusted yards per attempt last season. Haskins was still on the board when the Giants made their pick, and the Buckeye had a quiet chuckle about being leapfrogged by Jones. (Haskins would eventually be selected by Washington with the 15th pick.)

Every year, at least one underqualified quarterback gets drafted higher than he probably should because he is tall and has a side-part. Jones fits that bill, and the fact that he learned under Duke head coach and Manning family friend David Cutcliffe likely influenced the Giants in their decision to find Eli’s heir apparent. I mean, he’s already got that relaxed, effortlessly cool Eli look down pat.

In isolation, the Jones pick is a head-scratcher. But when you combine it with the Giants’ other recent decisions—passing on a slew of highly touted quarterbacks last year, trading away receiver Odell Beckham Jr. after signing him to a big-money deal—the move looks even more bizarre. But no worries: For at least one Giants fan, they have 100 years to get it right.