Giants 2022 NFL Draft: Did Big Blue do enough to help Daniel Jones?

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Daniel Jones cropped 11/28/21
Daniel Jones cropped 11/28/21

So much of what Joe Schoen did in his first draft as GM of the Giants was about the future. With most of his 11 picks he took players who someday could develop into something special, however, they might not have huge impacts this year.

And that’s fine. It’s certainly not the worst way to draft for a rebuilding team. It could pay big dividends in 2023.

But that doesn’t really help the most pressing Giants question of this year:

Did they do enough to help quarterback Daniel Jones?

Because like it or not, that’s really what the 2022 season is going to be all about – finding out whether they have a franchise quarterback in the 24-year-old Jones, or whether they need to start searching for someone else.

When Schoen and coach Brian Daboll took over the Giants they both said they knew Jones barely had a chance the last few years. Between bad coaching, a terrible offensive line and questionable talent around him, even co-owner John Mara admitted “We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up.”

Still, the Giants didn’t move on from Jones this offseason, though they did turn 2022 into a make-or-break year for him by declining his fifth-year contract option for 2023. That’s why Schoen had made it clear that fixing the offensive line was his No. 1 priority.

They signed a bunch of solid interior linemen, including center Jon Feliciano and guards Mark Glowinski and Max Garcia, with the limited available salary cap space they had. And then they finished their starting five at the top of the draft when they used the seventh overall pick on Alabama right tackle Evan Neal.

All that is good. They added some young, developmental linemen too, though they aren’t likely to help much this year.

But was it enough?

“I think so,” Schoen said. “We’ve got some big bodies too. Start there. Start up front and see the best version of Daniel Jones we can. I think that starts by keeping him on his feet.”

But did they really give him enough help for him to be that “best version?” They did the best they could with the offensive line. And really, even becoming a competent line will be a big step over where the Giants have been the last few years. If nothing else, the injury prone Jones should have more time to throw than he’s had at any point in his career. It’ll help that Saquon Barkley should have bigger holes to run through, too.

But really, what else did they do for him? They dumped all their tight ends from last season and replaced them with Ricky Seals-Jones, who won’t strike fear into defenses. It seemed certain that they’d help him out with a tight end on Day 2 of this draft, but they waited until the fourth round before taking San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger, who is really more of a blocker than a receiving threat.

And while it will help Jones immeasurably if Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney are all healthy this season, the odds that they all will remain that way seems unlikely. It sure looked like Jones would need more weapons. Yet the one receiver the Giants took in the draft was what many observers felt like a reach – Wan’Dale Robinson, a 5-8 slot receiver in the second round.

Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll press conference after 2022 NFL Draft
Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll press conference after 2022 NFL Draft

Daboll seems to love him and believes he can have a role in his offensive scheme. That may be true, but he figures to be the fourth receiver at best at the start, and maybe even the fifth or sixth option in the passing game. And that’s if he’s as good as the Giants think. Quite a few NFL sources thought he shouldn’t have been drafted until at least the fourth round. Time will tell if the Giants are right.

So is the cast around Jones really that much better? Yes, if players like Golladay and Barkley can stay healthy and recapture their old form, which seems like a lot to ask. There is no doubt the cast is better up front, and maybe that’s all that really matters. Maybe the rest of it really does hinge on how healthy his teammates can stay.

But it says a lot that Schoen spent much of this draft building for the future, not finding players that can immediately help, and not loading up the cast around their struggling young quarterback. This may be a critical year for Jones, but the man evaluating him was fine with drafting with future years in mind.

“We wanted to add depth and competition to the roster, which we did,” Schoen said. “Not everybody’s going to come in as a starter. It takes time.”

Yes it does. And Schoen has plenty of time to rebuild the Giants. Unfortunately, time isn’t something that Jones has.