The only uncertainty surrounding Daniel Jones is when he’ll step in for Eli Manning, now.
The New York Giants and the rookie quarterback agreed to a four-year, $25.7 million deal on Monday night, just hours before rookies reported to training camp.
He was the final rookie selected by the Giants at the 2019 NFL Draft — they had 10 selections in total — to sign his rookie deal despite being the team’s first pick at sixth overall.
Jones’ selection was plenty controversial based off the notion that the Duke product could have still been available at No. 17 when the Giants made their next pick.
There were also higher-rated quarterbacks still on the board including Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins — who made it known that he wanted to play for the Giants.
Jones, though, possessed something that both general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur loved, prompting them to spend the top-10 pick on him and slate him as Manning’s successor.
The 22-year-old’s collegiate numbers pale in comparison to the likes of Haskins’, yet they are deceiving.
While he completed just 60.5-percent of his passes for 2,674 yards, his receivers at Duke dropped a mind-boggling 38 passes in just 11 games. If Jones’ receivers catch just half of those drops, his completion percentage jumps up to 65.3-percent.
It was Jones’ intangibles that made him a top quarterback prospect in the class of 2019. He shows above-average pocket awareness, pinpoint accuracy on deep balls, and an ability to deliver effective throws in the face of pressure downfield.
Don’t forget about a bit more athleticism compared to Manning.
All eyes are going to be on the rookie throughout training camp and the preseason to see how he’ll be able to shoulder an NFL workload. While Manning is slated to be the starter come Week 1, it remains to be seen how long his leash will be.
The 38-year-old’s status as a productive starting quarterback has fallen under fire the past few years. Behind a sieve-like offensive line, the immobile veteran was constantly in the face of pressure over the past two seasons.
He was sacked a dizzying 78 times during that stretch as a lack of athleticism that did little to extend plays forced him to settle for a multitude of dink-and-dump passes.
On paper, his stats haven’t been that bad. He averaged 3,883 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions the past two years. But the lack of offensive bite that he’s provided — coupled with an inability to make the tough throw — made the Giants a non-factor even with the explosive Saquon Barkley joining the ranks in 2018.
Naturally, Manning’s start to the 2019 season will be put under the microscope with Jones waiting in the wings. Should he struggle early on, the shouts for Jones to get in under center will only grow.
Put nostalgia or the past aside. The Giants need the best possible quarterback directing the offense to get the organization back on track.
After all, Gettleman said the Giants can “build and win at the same time,” back in March.
His decisions surrounding his starting quarterback this season will indicate just how much he meant that.