One of the biggest storylines coming out of the New York Giants organization for the past couple of years has been whether quarterback Daniel Jones has been set up for success. Now that the team has declined to pick up his fifth-year option, 2022 is truly a make-or-break season for Jones. Did the Giants’ 2022 NFL Draft class help set him up to succeed?
What we know for certain is that New York is still unsure about where Jones stands as far as his potential future with the team.
On one hand, you can argue that he’s been dealt one of the worst hands among NFL quarterbacks. The offensive line in front of Jones has been abysmal for the three years he’s played in the league. There was the bad Nate Solder contract, tackle Andrew Thomas’ initial struggles, the loss of guard Kevin Zeitler in free agency and fellow guard Will Hernandez’s poor play.
Additionally, Jones hasn’t been able to succeed much with the lack of dynamic weapons around him. Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was gone before the Giants drafted the young quarterback, leaving a few good-not-great options like Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton to pick up the slack. A splash free agent addition in receiver Kenny Golladay hasn’t worked out so far, either.
As if the lack of pass-catchers wasn’t enough, Jones has also been forced to compete without star running back Saquon Barkley for a long stretch. Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season, missed the rest of that year and hasn’t looked like the same running back since.
All of those factors, plus the fact that the 2019 first-rounder has had injury troubles keeping him off the field, could make it easy to see why it seems Jones hasn’t been given a fair shake. And that’s without mentioning the rough state of the Giants’ defense, as well.
On the other hand though, the signal-caller is certainly to blame for some of his lack of success.
Jones has been unable to fully get over a ball security issue, whether that be his well-documented fumble problem or his propensity to throw interceptions. Despite having only played in 38 of 49 games since joining the Giants in 2019, the Duke product has amassed 49 turnovers in his NFL career. That’s tied with Colts quarterback Matt Ryan, who’s played in 10 more games, for third-most in the league.
These last few years with Jones under center have now culminated in 2022 being the final year to determine whether he’ll be around any longer. General Manager Joe Schoen did make some good moves in the 2022 draft class to both help Jones out and make his decision easier on the future under center.
One of the Giants’ two first-round picks this year made obvious the fact that part of the team’s draft strategy was to leave Jones without any more excuses for poor play. New York drafted offensive tackle Evan Neal with the seventh overall pick to lock down their right tackle spot opposite of Andrew Thomas.
A couple of rounds later, Schoen further bolstered the offensive line with North Carolina offensive guard Josh Ezeudu. Then the general manager did it again by drafting Ezeudu’s college teammate and fellow guard Marcus McKethan.
Helping out the protection in front of Jones wasn’t the only measure the team took to assist the quarterback with their 2022 NFL Draft class. The Giants also drafted wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky in the second round (though that pick was a bit of a head-scratcher) and tight end Daniel Bellinger in the third to give Jones some extra pass-catching help.
Jones now has a potentially much-improved offensive line in front of him to keep him protected through the coming season. He also has some additional weapons to catch his passes. Considering those were the two biggest needs to help out the young quarterback, it’s fair to say the Giants did well giving Jones some assistance with this year’s draft.
All that’s left now is to wait and see how he performs. A better offensive line and more weapons don’t automatically make the Giants a better team. Barkley is still a big question mark out of the backfield and Jones will have to continue building on his chemistry with his previous receivers and commit to building a better relationship with Golladay and other recent newcomers.
Unless Schoen has drafted a full class of busts (highly improbable), one thing is for sure: no excuses remain for Daniel Jones in the final year of his rookie contract.
- May 20, 2022
New York Giants
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