Daniel Jones is better than people think
Heading into the upcoming 2021 NFL season is sounds like most people don’t believe that New York Giants’ starting quarterback Daniel Jones will have a breakout season.
Still, after two seasons in the NFL, it feels like Jones is suddenly underrated after being largely written off in some quarters.
Jones had an overall PFF grade of 65.9 during his rookie season and led all rookies in touchdown passes. The 2019 quarterback class was tightly bunched in terms of grade over their debut seasons, so Jones was in the same ballpark as Kyler Murray, Gardner Minshew and Dwayne Haskins, the other three rookies to drop back to pass more than 200 times.
One of Jones’ problems is that he doesn’t score enough touchdowns through the air and on the ground.
For Jones to even be in the same broad area as Murray given the gulf in quality between the two as draft prospects was notable. Year 2, however, showed just how beholden we can all be to box-score statistics. Jones played in 14 games and dropped back to pass over 500 times yet finished the season with just 11 passing touchdowns. Even if we credit him with his rushing score as well, he finished with the same number of total scores as Dak Prescott, who played in four and a half games before his season ended due to injury.
Of course the hope within the Giants’ organization is that with the additions of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and others, Jones will score a lot more touchdowns through the air.
Monson did also point out why Jones is underrated.
There’s no way to make that number look good, but it doesn’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of Jones’ play in his second season. Jones saw his overall PFF grade jump to 78.4 and added almost 500 yards on the ground, including an 80-yard run that is notable for two remarkable things: one, it ended with Jones falling face-first into the turf having tripped himself up rather than scoring; and two, he recorded a faster top speed than any single run by Lamar Jackson all year according to NextGen stats.
For Jones to put up those grades despite fumbling as often as he did (16 times between runs and pass plays) suggests he was playing some very good football — the team simply didn’t wind up in the end zone.
The thing about Jones is while he makes some mistakes at times, he also makes some amazing plays and throws a very good ball down the field. The feeling I get from watching him is that he’s not far off from being a great player. All he needs to do is cut down on mental mistakes and that’s something that can be done.
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