Daniel Jones Over Dwayne Haskins: Yeah, That Happened

Dwayne Haskins 2019 Ohio State football Pro Day

Let’s preface everything to come below with two disclaimers.

1. There are no sure things in the NFL Draft, especially at the quarterback position. Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf were considered close to interchangeable in the 1998 Draft. One is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, the other finished his career with 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert were top-10 picks in the same season. Johnny Manziel was picked ahead of Derek Carr. Christian Hackenberg went 84 picks ahead of Dak Prescott. Josh Allen just went No. 7 overall last year.

2. It is generally not a great idea to assume that people who have reached a high level in their chosen field – especially one as competitive as professional sports – are just hilariously and staggeringly incompetent. In many cases, seemingly bizarre decisions are actually explained by teams in all sports having access to advanced analytics that the public has no idea even exist.

Okay, with that out of the way: The New York Giants needed a quarterback this year. Eli Manning is 38, and his play has started to slip.

Thanks to a trade with the Cleveland Browns, the Giants owned not only their No. 6 overall pick in the draft, but also the 17th spot. When their first selection came up, Dwayne Haskins was still on the board.

Haskins has a rocket arm, ranked as one of the most accurate passers in college football last season, and absolutely eviscerated the nation’s top-ranked defense with 396 yards passing and six touchdowns in the regular season finale against Michigan.

This was the clouds parting and the angels singing. A New Jersey native with the arm strength to cut through the late-season Meadowlands winds was available.

And with the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Daniel Jones, quarterback, Duke University.

[Price is Right failhorn sound]

The reaction was immediate. NFL analysts were aghast. Haskins smirked.

Jones completed 60.5 percent of his passes last season, with 22 touchdowns against 9 interceptions.

His next-to-last college game ever came against Wake Forest – not exactly the early 2000s Baltimore Ravens – and he went 17-for-36 for 145 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

A three-year starter at Duke, his passer ratings were 126.3, 112.0, and 131.7. His completion percentages by year: 62.8, 56.7, 60.5. His yards per attempt by year: 6.6, 5.9, 6.8.

He started three seasons without actually getting appreciably better.

Jones does not have a particularly strong arm. He is not particularly mobile. He’s… just kind of a guy.

In Haskins’ only season as the Buckeyes’ starter, he completed 70 percent of his throws. His passer rating was 174.1 and he averaged 9.1 yards per attempt.

While he’s not particularly mobile, he does have one of the strongest arms of any quarterback in the draft for several years.

If you watched any college football at all in 2018, one of those quarterbacks stood out as pretty much the prototypical NFL pocket passer. Jones was not that guy.

The Giants’ issue was only compounded when, nine picks later, Haskins went to their divisional rival Washington Redskins. So twice a year, they’ll get a chance to see a good head-to-head comparison of what they have and what they could have had.

This is not only the kind of decision that gets general managers fired. It’s also the kind of choice that can set a franchise back for years to come. Just think of the Bengals taking Akili Smith or the Browns taking literally any quarterback between 1999 and 2017.

Giants GM Dave Gettleman went before an incredulous group of reporters to defend the pick.

He said, “I saw a professional quarterback after the three series that I watched” of Jones playing in the Senior Bowl. And as soon as Jones signs his contact, that will technically be true.

Gettleman later suggested that the Giants could go with “the Green Bay model” and have Jones sit out behind Manning for up to three years like Aaron Rodgers did after getting picked by the Packers.

He talked about Haskins playing in the Big 12 (close!) and then played upon the great uncertainties of the universe to explain why they would pick a quarterback at all if they thought Manning could play three more seasons.

“We don’t know. Life’s too short. You don’t know how this thing is going to work.”

Any time you can mentally append “Enjoy Arby’s” to the end of a GM’s quote about his top draft pick, it’s always a good sign.

It will probably take a year or two before anyone really knows whether Jones over Haskins will go down as the absolutely colossal blunder that it seems right now.

At some point in the past, you should have learned that it’s never smart to just automatically assume someone with more information than you have is a bumbling moron.

But history has also shown that sometimes NFL teams get things comically wrong. And there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be the lesson here as well.

14 Responses

  1. It’s obvious the Manning’s got their guy drafted. Jones was at their camps, had the same college QB coach and is really close with the family. He’s less likely to threaten Eli as he seems to have the same aw shucks demeanor. So hey keep it in the family – but don’t tell us he was the best QB in the draft from seeing three drives!

  2. Jones wouldn’t even be a decent backup in the Euro League. What kind of mental midgets run the Giants Romper Room team?

  3. there’s a reason the Giants fans booed and their team is gonna suck..after getting nothing in a trade for one of the best WRs in the nfl then this fiasco..not much hope for that team and the GM is an obvious moron..I’m glad for his sake Haskins didnt go there,..he will ;prove them wrong…

  4. When the Redskins play the Cowboys, who do we root for? Zeke or Dwayne?

    1. Do you really need to ask? Nine year old me would say the Cowboys but now and like the majority; never Dallas. The Skins added McLaurin too ?

  5. The Giants should have drafted Haskins with their first pick.
    However, if the goal was to keep Eli happy they should have used that pick for a reciever or fill another position and use the 17th pick for a back-up QB.

  6. Accuracy is a key to showing why the Giants’ erred. Well cited, Mr. Orr.

    Another thing impresses about Haskins too. It impressed me since his recruiting videos- the quick release. Sometimes the ball seemed to rocket out of the pocket with no arm motion. He’s got the quickest release of any OSU quarterback I’ve watched in nearly 50 years. And it’s flat out the quickest release of any QB I can recall since Dan Marino.

    The Giants f-ed up, for sure.. They f-ed up big time.

    Best wishes, Dwayne!

  7. As a Cowboys fan, I didn’t want Haskins with the Giants, anyway. Hell, as a Haskins fan, I didn’t want him with the Giants. I think it has a lot to do with Eli. Assuming from the GM’s statement that he wants to play 2 or 3 more years, which guy do you suppose Manning wants as #2 when he struggles in 2019? Does he want frustrated Giants fans looking at the sideline and seeing a guy who shredded college football last year for over 50 TDs, completed over 70%, and can make all the throws? Or does he want them to see a guy whose numbers were good but that look more like the numbers of a journeyman backup than an NFL starter? Even with that, no one is spending a top 10 pick for a guy that they don’t plan to use for a few years, especially if the player is not expected to be taken by anyone else for a while. I sort of hope that is what this was about. There are other explanations that have been shared that are more troubling.

  8. About how much money would you guess that this mix up of mentality cost Haskins?

    1. In the long run, Haskins will make more money than Jones. I don’t see Jones lasting more than five years in the NFL.

  9. The thing is, is that Jones would have been there in the second round. If they felt so strongly about him he would have still been there on their second pick in the first round. Saying that I can see why teams were not sold on Haskins. He only played one year in college. If he wanted to go higher he should have stayed one more year at OSU.

    1. B.S. Edward Hatzidakis! How many years did Kyler Murray start? Also, Haskins did get valuable reps as a Freshman… remember him coming into the michigan game in a hostile environment an saving our bacon? Moreover, in the time he did play he showed way more than Jones did in multiple years. michigan had multiple 1st round defenders drafted this year and will have more in round two… remember what Haskins did to that D? Washington was the best D in the Pac12. Remember what Haskins did to that D?

      Let’s be honest, the Giants have a mold they are comfortable with for the face of their franchise. They shouldn’t be disparaged for that preference and its their choice, but this was not simply a best QB decision.

    2. Mitch Trubisky from Mentor H.S. started one year at UNC and was the 2nd player picked in the 2017draft by the Bears. He wasn’t even a Heisman finalist like Haskins. Jones wasn’t even the best QB in the ACC. Duke played who in the ACC? Did Duke win the ACC? Haskins was far and above better than this guy from Duke and the Giants really screwed up by not picking him. People all over the country are laughing at the Giants today.

Comments are closed.