In one of the most controversial moments of the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the first round. While many fans disagreed with the choice, the team’s message was clear: The former Duke quarterback is the future of the franchise. But how soon will this future become the present? Will Jones start over long-time QB Eli Manning this season?
Eli Manning’s 2018 performance
With a 5-11 record, the Giants were terrible last season. Manning was particularly awful to begin the year. However, he played better as the offensive line improved, which gave him more time to throw. Here’s what the 38-year-old accomplished in 2019:
- 21 touchdowns
- 66% completion percentage
- 4,299 yards passing
It’s been a while since Manning has looked like himself. But the second half of last season was something of a return to form for the two-time Super Bowl-winning QB. Manning is nearly 40 years old. While he was able to emerge as a competent game manager, he’s nothing close to the player he was in his prime.
Daniel Jones’ performance at Duke
As a walk-on at Duke, Jones outperformed expectations. Whether that will translate into being an elite NFL player is yet to be determined. The 22-year-old was a middle-of-the-pack QB in the ACC last year. But he shocked many when the Giants drafted him so early. Here’s what he accomplished under Duke Coach David Cutcliffe in 2018:
- 22 touchdowns
- 60.5% completion percentage
- 2,674 yards
Those aren’t bad numbers, but they hardly seem worthy of the sixth pick in the draft. The Giants bypassed Ohio State star QB Dwayne Haskins to choose Jones, and their fans let them know how they felt about it. No matter what, the rookie will take over for Manning. The only question is when.
Will Jones start over Manning next season?
The Giants faced the issue of benching Manning two seasons ago when then-coach Ben McAdoo sat him in favor of backup Geno Smith. The move was met with such disdain from the organization and fans that McAdoo was fired before the season ended.
It doesn’t appear that the Giants organization will start Jones over Manning any time soon. GM Dave Gettleman thinks Eli can play another three years. The answer to this question may rest not with Jones, but last year’s first-round pick. In 2018, the Giants selected Saquon Barkley with the second pick overall. They’ve also made many moves to bolster their offensive line.
Whether Giants fans agree with Gettleman’s moves as GM, what’s clear is he does have a plan to mold the team into a run-heavy team with an offense built around solid offensive line play. This reliance on running backs may buy Manning — who by all accounts is nearing the end of an illustrious career — a few seasons.
Ideally, the Giants would give Jones at least one season to learn the playbook and acclimate to life as a QB. Manning is incredibly durable, having missed zero starts due to injury. So, unless the veteran is injured or the offensive line falters, Jones will not start this season. If he does, it may come later, after the Giants have been eliminated from playoff contention.