DANIEL JONES: Giants have a true franchise QB
It might be hard for some draft analysts to admit, but Daniel Jones is a franchise quarterback. In fact, he is showing signs of emerging as a potential top-10 player at the position. This is probably an unpopular take outside of New York, but the third-year pro has started showing all-star potential as a playmaker, and the rest of the league is on notice.
Jones is posting the best numbers of his career (66.7 percent completion rate, 296.0 pass YPG, 4:1 TD-INT ratio and a 98.3 passer rating) while joining Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts as the only players with 1,000-plus passing yards and 150-plus rushing yards, per NFL Research. He has seemingly resolved his turnover woes as one of just two quarterbacks (alongside Kirk Cousins) with one interception on 140-plus pass attempts. Jones has just five giveaways over his past 10 games and has shown more attention to detail with his ball security.
Despite a 1-3 record, the Giants should be encouraged by Jones' stellar play this season. He is coming off a 400-yard performance against the Saints that showcased his skills as an underrated dual-threat at the position. Jones played a clean game with an assortment of pinpoint throws and timely runs that kept the Saints' defense off balance. (His interception came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half.)
With Jones putting up another eye-opening performance against the Washington Football Team (249 passing yards, 95 rush yards, two total scores) back in Week 2, the 24-year-old is clearly playing at a high level in 2021. Although the sample size is small, the strong play from Jones in his second season in Jason Garrett's system suggests he is growing exponentially as a player.
Part of his improvement can be attributed to the upgraded cast of playmakers around him. The Giants added Kenny Golladay to serve as the No. 1 receiver in the passing game, with a first-round pick Kadarius Toney filling in as a big-play threat on the opposite side of the field. Sterling Shepard occupies the "chain mover" spot when healthy, giving Jones a trio of pass catchers with the skills to thrive in the designated roles. Throw in Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph, and the Giants have a solid collection of pass catchers around their QB1. Not to mention, the offensive line has been playing better than last season -- particularly second-year left tackle Andrew Thomas.
That said, Saquon Barkley is the most important piece of the puzzle, and the explosive hybrid running back is rounding back into form, knocking off the rust following a season-ending ACL injury one year ago. Barkley has three scrimmage touchdowns in his last two games, while also averaging 5.5 yards per touch (40 touches for 220 scrimmage yards).
Jones has been a polarizing player since Dave Gettleman surprised many by taking the Duke quarterback sixth overall in 2019. And entering the season, this was viewed as a crucial year for the young signal-caller. Well, from my viewpoint, Jones' play has confirmed the QB1's status as a franchise player worth building around.
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