2. Geno Smith
The career of Daniel Jones got off to a most tumultuous start, as NY Giants fans, media pundits. and pretty much everyone else criticized general manager Dave Gettleman and the Giants for selecting him with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft. Most felt that the Giants drastically reached for Jones and felt he did not possess the characteristics of a successful franchise quarterback.
As a result, fans booed when the selection of Jones was announced. When he was asked to throw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game, the crowd responded with yet another round of resounding boos. Media outlets everywhere were chastizing Gettleman and the Giants for their ill-advised selection.
However, the feeling surrounding Jones would change quickly after his performance in the preseason. Jones would make plays that looked every bit the part of an elite NFL quarterback. With his precision passing on full display, Jones was given the nickname of “Danny Dimes”, a name that would stick with the rookie throughout his inaugural season.
Jones would be named the starting quarterback of the Giants in week two of the regular season. He would further increase the buzz surrounding him by winning his first two games, one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the other against the Washington Redskins.
Jones would fall on hard times following the initial success, as the Giants would lose the next eight games that Jones would start. Despite the losses, Jones would put up solid numbers for the Giants, including some that would set franchise and NFL records.
Jones would give way to Manning for two games, after injuring his ankle against the Green Bay Packers. However, after his absence, he would return and defeat the Washington Redskins in a game that he became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 350 yards and five passing touchdowns.
Jones would finish the year with 26 total touchdowns, just one short of the NFL record for a rookie of 27 set by Baker Mayfield the previous season. As a result, Jones is a heavy favorite for the NFL Rookie of the Year Award and has given Giants fans a great deal of hope surrounding the future of the franchise at the quarterback position moving forward.