Contrary to the general consensus of college football observers and draft analysts over the offseason, this Daniel Jones guy is looking pretty good.
The New York Giants’ first-round draft pick showed up again to preseason on Thursday and looked like not just a competent NFL quarterback, but a star in the making. This time, the Duke grad went 9-of-11 for 141 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Notably, it was Jones’ first game since the Baker Mayfield GQ interview that gave new life to criticisms of the sixth-overall pick.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback was quoted as saying “I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones ... Blows my mind.” He later said some teams have failed at finding good quarterbacks because, “They forget you've gotta win.”
Mayfield has since claimed his words were taken out of context and spoken with Jones. Clearly, the matter wasn’t weighing too much on Jones when he took the field.
Daniel Jones’ big day vs. Bengals
After Eli Manning started the game and led one drive that resulted in a field goal, Jones began his night with a 20-yard pass to tight end Rhett Ellison. He later delivered his first big highlight in the second quarter with this throw to Britton Golden as you can see in the above video.
That drive continued in Bengals territory, where Jones evaded pressure and got the ball to the 1-yard line with a 27-yard completion to Darius Slayton. That completion set up a one-yard Rod Smith touchdown.
Jones capped off his night by completing a tough throw to Golden again for 24 yards.
— NFL (@NFL) August 23, 2019
The performance was still good enough that Giants coach Pat Shurmur took a victory lap following the game, a 25-23 Giants win.
Pat Shurmur raving about Daniel Jones here in Cincy after the game. His intelligence, ability to adjust, making throws in tight coverage not afraid to give his receivers a chance. Shurmur says Daniel Jones said after the big hit “I’ll take bigger hits than that.” #Giants pic.twitter.com/laH40Sy03L
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) August 23, 2019
Shurmur says we can keep asking why he likes Jones but thinks it’s time to ask the people who didn’t like him, why that was the case.
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) August 23, 2019
Through three preseason games, Jones is now 25-of-30 for 371 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Of course, the usual caveats come with those numbers. It’s still preseason, so Jones hasn’t faced that many starters and he still has those fumbles.
And yet, it’s becoming impossible to deny Jones hasn’t exceeded expectations with his arm so far, and that’s what really matters here. He’s completing every pass and looking poised doing it.
Eli Manning has also looked good this preseason and the Giants still seem intent on starting the veteran to begin the season, but the team’s big gamble on Jones has been looking wiser every day. With little else to prove this preseason, Jones’ next big test will likely be when he gets the call during the regular season.
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