Is Duke QB Daniel Jones a Fit For New England?

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The Successor for Tom Brady?

The NFL Draft is this week and the New England Patriots hold 12 picks to improve their team.  The odds are they will not use all of these selections and make numerous draft day trades as they’ve done in years past.  Will Bill Belichick shock everyone at the draft and do something no one is expecting?

I would be shocked ff the Patriots drafted a quarterback in the first round.  The Patriots need to select a quarterback at some point to begin to develop to potentially become Tom Brady’s future replacement.  There is one quarterback that has been connected to the New England Patriots, Duke’s Daniel Jones. 

Photo courtesy of AP
Jones is being compared to Peyton Manning by Hall of Fame talent evaluator and former Dallas Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel  Gil Brandt.  “I. Love. Dan Jones,” Brandt said, per Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com.  “I have to say this carefully: When you watch him and you go back (20) years and watch Peyton Manning, you are watching the same guy.  He’s athletic.  He doesn’t have a rocket for an arm, but neither did Peyton.  Very smart.” 

Being compared to Manning is some high praise for the future NFL quarterback.  In fact, Jones' Head Coach at Duke was David Cutcliffe, who was Manning’s quarterback coach when he went to Tennessee and his brother’s head coach at Ole Miss. 

Duke Blue Devils 2015 National Championship GearOther scouts have compared Jones to former Miami Dolphins quarterback and current Tennessee Titans back-up Ryan Tannehill.  We'll get more into that a little later in the article. 

Jones was initially committed to Princeton University but then he switched to Duke.  Jones was the starting quarterback at Duke for three seasons.  During his time at Duke, Jones threw for 8,201 yards, 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions, and had a completion percentage of 59.9% over 36 games.  He was the MVP of the Senior Bowl this past January.  I’ll get into the Senior Bowl a little more in this article. 

Jones, who is one of the more polarizing quarterbacks in the draft this season, could fall to the Patriots at #32.  Let’s break down Jones strengths and weaknesses. 

Strengths

Jones stands 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds.  He shows similarities to Manning due to his connection to his coach Cutcliffe.  Unlike the Mannings, Jones is not expected to be selected high in the first round.  Scouts have said that Jones has similar mannerisms to Manning, such as how he holds the balls, how he drops back and how the ball leaves his hand. 

Scouts at the NFL Combine stated he had good pre-snap reads, he’s very mobile and is an accurate passer on shorter routes.  He does display good pocket awareness.  Basically what that means is he will be able to step into his throws in the pocket and will be able to keep his eyes up field while selecting his target. 

Weaknesses

Scouts have questioned Jones arm strength, which was evident when he was floating passes in the Senior Bowl game. 

One scout said a flaw for Jones is he holds onto to the ball too long and does not pull the trigger fast enough to get rid of the ball.  The speed in the NFL is night and day compared to the college game, so a team will need to work on and develop Jones to get rid of the ball faster while making good decisions. 

Measurables

Height: 6’5”
Weight: 221 lbs.
Arms: 32-1/2”
Hands: 9-3/4”
40-yard dash: 4.81
Vertical jump: 33.5
3-cone drill: 7.0
20-yard shuttle: 4.41

2019 Senior Bowl

Photo courtesy of NFL Network
He played in the third quarter, where he went 8-11 for 115-yards and one touchdown, and also had one rushing touchdown.  The cerebral quarterback led the North on an 84-yard touchdown drive to begin the second half.  He completed that drive with a one yard touchdown run.  He threw for 57 yards on that drive to set that touchdown up.  He took the MVP honors of the 2019 Senior Bowl. 

Teams in Play for Jones

There will be a few teams that will be in play for Jones.  The New York Giants are looking for Manning's successor and they could select him in the first round.  The Cincinnati Bengals could take a quarterback with the health of Andy Dalton the last few seasons, and the team could look to change directions with their new head coach.  The Washington Redskins could also be in the mix with losing Alex Smith to a potentially career ending leg injury.  The Denver Broncos are always in the hunt for their next quarterback, but they seem to be locked into Drew Lock, no pun intended.  Lock could develop behind Flacco until he is ready to take over as the starter.

Overall

To say Jones will become another Manning would be unfair to the player.  The positive is he has some comparisons to the Mannings, which will only benefit him in the pros.  Ultimately, Jones should be looked at as a lower level starter with skills that can be developed so he can be a regular NFL starter.  Some draft experts see Jones more as Ryan Tannehill in the NFL. 

The New England Patriots should not use the #32 pick on Jones because that would be a waste of an asset.  If the Patriots were to select Jones, they should use a third round draft pick for the Duke quarterback.  One thing fans shouldn’t do is see the comparison to Tannehill as a comp and get scared away. 

Jones looks the part of an NFL quarterback, but he will be better suited to get some time to develop behind a quarterback like Brady.  There are a lot of quarterbacks in this draft, and many that will project more as mid round picks.  With some of the comparisons to the Mannings he’s arguably the best quarterback after Kyler Murray, and he could go in the first round.

Does Belichick surprise us and go with Jones in the first round?  Some think he is the most logical choice. 



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Boston Sports Syndicate: Is Duke QB Daniel Jones a Fit For New England?
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