When the New York Giants selected Daniel Jones No. 6 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, there were many who shared concerns.
Some questioned whether Jones was a future franchise quarterback. Others felt he might be, but thought the front office reached by taking him in the top 10 — the Giants also had to No. 17 overall pick in that same draft.
There were a few flashes during the Duke product’s rookie season. A five-touchdown performance against the Washington Football team in Week 2, followed by two more games of four touchdowns in 2019. Over 3,000 yards passing and a 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions). Plus, he had some mobility, which was on display with 279 yards rushing a two scores.
Jones wasn’t world-changing, but he was a pleasant surprise.
Then, there was the coaching change. Pat Shurmur was out, and in came Joe Judge, who had never been a head coach before. He brought in some experience to compensate, including offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
As if going through a coaching change wasn’t enough, there were also injuries and opt outs. Starting left tackle Nate Solder decided he didn’t want to risk playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rookie first-round pick Andrew Thomas was inserted into his place.
The season-ending knee injury to Saquon Barkley was the nail in the coffin, however. Jones had arguably the most dynamic running back in the NFL, a presence that would have taken a lot of pressure off the young quarterback.
Instead, guys like Devonta Freeman, Wayne Gallman and even Alfred Morris saw action in New York’s backfield.
In other words, it’s been difficult on Jones. And the result? A sophomore slump that has many questioning whether he’s the long-term answer for the Giants. But according to Judge, Jones is still his guy.
In fact, he said as much when asked about the second-year player on Wednesday. His answer was simple: “Daniel Jones is our quarterback.”
To be fair to Jones, he probably deserves another season. As outlined above, he’s dealt with some difficult circumstances during his brief time in New York.
2021 is going to be an important year for him, however. If he can’t make the necessary jump in Year 3, the Giants will more than likely be looking for another option in 2022.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.