NAME: Daniel Jones
CLASS: RS Junior
JERSEY: No. 17
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
WT: 220 lbs
Arm Accuracy –Throws some nice lasers in the shallow areas of the field, timing is pretty solid to hit guys in stride in the 3-step game. Lots of wild passes down the field, struggles to throw into the bucket. His general accuracy to the sidelines won’t inspire on back shoulders.
Decision Making –He’s a pretty wild ride when you ask him to hold the ball in the pocket. Really like his skills to dissect zones and soft coverage inside of 10 yards. Misreads deep safeties and doesn’t show a lot of anticipation of a defender who can sink or won’t be held to zone.
Progressions –Surprising lack of willingness to work through the full field. Typically sits on his primary read and will work to check downs from there. Slow to work eyes out of his preferred target and will too often guide defenders into the throw.
Anticipation –Keep him inside of 15 yards and he’ll be just fine. Knows how to find soft spots in coverage and throw into them in rhythm. But asking him to take seven step drops and dissect vertical coverage is a losing proposition as things stand now.
Poise –Not a strength. He will try to force balls downfield instead of eating sacks, but then again he’ll fade into pressure from his platform and create more problems. Results are very scatter-shot when he’s forced to quicken his thought process.
Arm Strength –Can push the ball with plenty of force when he’s tall in the pocket and comfortable with his surroundings. Can throw some awkward lollipops when he’s looking to throw with touch. No problems with zipping ropes into the MOF within 20 yards. Loses lots of force when off platform.
Pocket Awareness –Takes a lot of sacks on account of his own lapses of judgment. Will fade into boundary pressure and doesn’t have consistent results when looking to climb the pocket. His success will be predicated on a strong unit in front of him.
Mechanics –Pretty release when things are stable around him. When he’s broken down, he shot-puts some balls out and get really let himself get frantic in those situations. He does expose the football in delivery with a slight drop as he initiates delivery.
Footwork –Does well collecting himself off the top of his drop to stay balanced into his hitch. He’s pretty static in the base, even under pressure to keep weight distribution even keel. He’s really nice in rock/roll reps and out of mesh point to step and transfer into his throws.
Mobility –He’s a fun runner, he’ll beat you with his legs if you bring an extra defender and he’s able to break contain. Designed QB draws have hit with a lot of success and his natural athleticism with the ball is an underrated part of his game.
PROSPECT COMPARISON –Ryan Tannehill
BEST TRAIT – Quick Game
WORST TRAIT – Arm Accuracy (Beyond 10 yards)
BEST FILM – Pittsburgh (2018)
WORST FILM – Virginia (2018)
RED FLAGS – 2018 broken collarbone
Daniel Jones projects as a potential starter, but he’s not going to be a universal prospect. Jones needs to work in an offense that is predicated on dispersing the football quickly out of his hands and allows for a lot of rhythm work. Jones’ work under pressure is also of concern, so he’ll need to work behind an established, effective offensive line if he’s going to reach his ceiling, which projects as an average starting quarterback in the NFL. Scheme dependent but starter qualities.
Renown for his work with Peyton and Eli Manning, Jones may be the most physically gifted quarterback that Duke head coach David Cutcliffe has ever worked with. A big-bodied and strong-armed passer, Jones is one of just three returning power five quarterbacks to amass 2,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards. Complementing his live arm is the ability to pick up yards with his legs as a runner.
Jones’ ability to win as a runner, combined with Duke’s quick passing game has suited his skill set well. Jones has the physical ability desired in an NFL quarterback.
Among the concerning elements of Jones’ film is the inconsistencies exhibited outside of quick game. When Jones is tasked with non-schemed reads where he is challenged to survey coverage, make the right decision and deliver and accurate throw the results can be underwhelming. Jones does not showcase the ability to throw with anticipation and his ball placement needs to be more precise. And when Jones is forced to speed up his process, find a quick platform and make throws under duress he is noticeably uncomfortable.
It was disappointing to not see more growth from Jones in year one to year two as a starter. In 23 more passing attempts as a sophomore, Jones’ completion percentage dipped from 62.8 percent to 56.7 percent while throwing two less touchdowns and three more interceptions. His passing yards per game fell from 236 to 207.
Surrounded by a veteran group of receivers, Jones needs to take a major step forward in year three as Duke’s starter.