With the amount of veteran quarterbacks going down with injuries or changes under center in general, I wanted to take a look at this group of young signal-callers and judge how confident their respective teams should by what they’ve shown so far. This list focuses quarterbacks, who have their first extended period of starts this season.
So this doesn’t include guys who might be full-time starters now, after taking over at some point last year, and neither is it about signal-callers who simply switched places or went back under centre for their squad with the QB1 out of the picture. This is all about potential starters for the future.
Because of that, I did not include the Jets' Luke Falk either, even though I always liked his ability to throw on time and target, because he started as third string and the Jets already have a young QB that they are very invested in. So here are these six quarterbacks and my level of confidence in them:
#6 Daniel Jones - Fairly high
Wow, that was a thrilling game! I was one of the very few to call the Giants upset, but I didn’t see them doing it this way – falling behind by 18 points early on and losing Saquon Barkley for the contest.
I had Daniel Jones as a late day two pick because I didn’t think he had NFL accuracy and was highly overrated in the draft process because of who he was coached by and his football character, which is important but doesn’t compensate for his arm talent.
That’s why I thought the G-Men reached for the Duke QB with the sixth overall pick, even though I was annoyed with general sports media for bashing the kid, even though nobody even really watched him play.
While Jones certainly had an impressive preseason, it almost felt like Pat Shurmur tried to drive the narrative by setting his rookie up with easy completions on crossers and layups to his receivers.
Seeing them pull the trigger after a couple of weeks was surprising to me however, because nothing that we saw through the first two weeks showed us anything new about Eli Manning, who was cooked for a couple of years, however.
Watching Jones in a live game, I might have underrated his arm strength and his athleticism really showed out. He seemed so comfortable running the offense and spreading the ball around, was in command all game long and made the right play, instead of trying to force the issue.
Whether it was getting the ball out on time to quick-breaking routes, finding crossers off bootlegs with a defender staying home for him, beating the blitz with hot reads or taking the check-down if nothing is open downfield.
Saquon actually dropped a walk-in touchdown in the second quarter. The only pass that should have been punished came on an 18-yard in-route against a quarters look, where Jones kind of stared down the receiver and allowed the safety to drive on the ball aggressively and almost pick it off
We have all heard by now how Daniel Jones came back from that 18-point hole, while Eli Manning had been 0-44 from that deficit throughout his career and no Giants quarterback had accomplished the feat in almost 50 years.
However, he also set several records for a debut in team history. What made that performance even more impressive is the fact Jones didn’t have his superstar running back for the entire second half and the Giants put a lot on his plate, throwing the ball 40 times.
Making plays off script like the rookie did is something Eli hadn’t been able to do in years and maybe never to this degree, especially when you see him pull the ball on a zone-read play and beat a cornerback to the sideline for a touchdown.
He also found guys late when being forced to escape the pocket and showed how sturdy his base is, not being bothered by swiping hands of pass rushers around him, because the Bucs pass rush was all over him and stripped him twice.
He was just standing in the face of pressure and taking shots downfield or shuffling inside the pocket to find a new platform and firing a 40-yard laser to Darius Slayton on a post route across the field.
Of course, throwing the ball 15 yards over the middle to Evan Engram and have him go the other 60 yards to start the second half helps, but Jones was close to hooking for a couple of other deep balls.
Pat Shurmur could call a different game with the young man, getting Jones on the move off bootlegs and having him as a threat to pull the ball to keep the backside edge defender home.
That ability to cash in with his legs on third and fourth downs combined with what he did through the air earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honours. I just want to see him do it again, especially since the Bucs should have won that game on a walk-off field goal.