Is NY Giants’ Daniel Jones the second-worst quarterback in the NFC East?
Daniel Jones has much on the line in 2021, but is the NY Giants quarterback really the third-best quarterback in the NFC East?
Few players across the NFL have as much at stake as NY Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, in 2021.
Judging by the NY Giants’ actions in free agency, and the NFL Draft, the organization is all-in on making a final evaluation of whether he can develop into one of the league’s elite franchise quarterbacks.
That’s the only interpretation of surrounding Jones, who turned the football over 36 times through his first 21 career games, with marquee free agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay, No. 20 overall draft pick Kadarius Toney, and veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph. Those new additions join a supporting cast around Jones that already includes running back Saquon Barkley, wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, and wide receiver Evan Engram.
When all are healthy, Jones would seem to have one of the top-10 collections of skill players at his disposal in the NFL.
But, Jones’ past track record makes it an uncertainty that he can become a top-10 quarterback, at least according to Pro Football Focus, which ranks the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft as the league’s 20th quarterback and ahead of only the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts among NFC East passers:
"This is a big year for Daniel Jones to establish himself as a franchise quarterback, and the Giants are doing everything in their power to surround him with help. Last year, the team had the lowest pass-blocking grade in the league and the eighth-worst receiving grade, but new additions from free agency and the draft should help.This is the first offseason Jones will be in the same offense, which will offer more familiarity going into his third season. Jones must eliminate the boneheaded decisions and turnover-worthy plays that hold the team back. With his toughness and ability to make plays with his legs, Jones can make a big leap forward."
All of the criticism of Jones is fair.
However, PFF might not be factoring enough optimism about Jones’ supporting cast, the upside that his arm-strength provides with more talented weapons around him, and scheme familiarity provide.
Likewise, while Ryan Fitzpatrick has had staying power, it is fair to wonder just how much upside he provides the Washington Football Team, compared to Jones to the NY Giants this season.
Jones must prove that he can maximize the Giants’ investment in the players around him into a more prolific season than the 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions he tossed in 2020, if he is going to dissuade the organization from leveraging their two first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft to target his eventual replacement.
For what it’s worth, NY Giants head coach Joe Judge recently made it clear what he expects of Jones during his pivotal upcoming season.
"“I’m very pleased in the progress Daniel made last year,” Judge said recently, via Pro Football Talk. “I really am. Let’s be honest about this guy: There’s no excuses, but he didn’t have a spring to work in the new system. He didn’t have preseason games to get a feel for it and build chemistry with his teammates. We did the best we could in training camp. Ultimately, it took a little bit more time to acclimate an entire team to a new offense. But I’m very, very encouraged. I was very pleased. But he’s fun to work with a daily basis.”"
Matt Lombardo is FanSided’s National NFL Insider and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday. Email Matt: Matt.Lombardo@FanSided.com, Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL