In 10 short days, Commissioner Roger Goodell will be stepping out onto the stage in Nashville to begin the 2019 NFL Draft. And over the span of less than 48 hours, 254 players will hear their names called, marking the first step in their careers as professional football players.
Daniel Jones will certainly be one of those guys, and it seems highly likely that the former Blue Devil will know his next destination by the end of Thursday night's first round. But rather than add to the litany of mock drafts, we're breaking down all the potential landing spots for Jones.
At the quarterback position, there appears to be four guys who may be first-round picks: Jones, Oklahoma's Kyler Murray, Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins and Missouri's Drew Lock. There are plenty of teams that could use a signal-caller, but as always, the draft is loaded with talent across the board.
For this exercise, we'll exclude the Arizona Cardinals as a team needing a quarterback—although they have been very much been discussed as a landing spot for Murray, the Cardinals used their first-round choice on Josh Rosen last year. If it's not Murray at No. 1, Arizona won't be taking another quarterback.
Here are, in order of selection, the six teams that could draft Jones next Thursday night:
Oakland Raiders (Nos. 4, 24 and 27)
On the roster: Derek Carr, Mike Glennon, Nathan Peterman, Landry Jones
The fit: Outside of Carr, the Raiders don't have a quarterback of the future. Both Glennon and Peterman—former ACC players themselves—have proven they aren't more than mediocre backup options. Carr, the 36th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, is another story. He's a three-time Pro Bowler who finished fifth in completion percentage last season despite tossing just 19 touchdowns.
But the Raiders are in an interesting spot. This is their last season in Oakland, as they are set to move to Las Vegas at the start of the 2020 season, and Carr's five-year, $125 million contract has no guaranteed money after this season. It seems unlikely that they would cut their former second-round choice, yet head coach Jon Gruden may want to go in a different direction, especially given that Carr's teams have not won a playoff game. Jones was coached by Gruden at the Senior Bowl, so while Jones is almost certainly a reach at No. 4, don't be surprised if the Raiders package their last two first-rounders to move up or wait and see if Jones falls to them late.
New York Giants (Nos. 6 and 17)
On the roster: Eli Manning, Alex Tanney, Kyle Lauletta
The fit: This one seems almost too obvious. Manning is a former David Cutcliffe protegé like Jones, but the Giants' staple under center is now 38 years old and in a clear decline. Manning and Jones are said to have a relationship through offseason workouts, but New York has been connected to all of the potential first-round quarterbacks.
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The Giants would give Jones the chance to sit for at least one season, if not more, as he learns the game from Manning and head coach Pat Shurmur, a 20-year NFL coaching veteran. The problem is the rest of the offense: With All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. gone, New York lacks any real offensive talent—outside of Saquon Barkley—to make it a smooth transition for Jones.
Denver Broncos (No. 10)
On the roster: Joe Flacco, Kevin Hogan, Grayson Garrett
The fit: The Broncos, led by Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, have already made a few moves at signal caller this offseason. They first sent a fourth-round pick to Baltimore in exchange for Super Bowl XLVII champion Joe Flacco, before trading away Case Keenum to Washington, just a year removed from signing Keenum to a two-year, $36 million deal.
Either way, Denver was going to be in a transitional period when it came to its quarterback. Flacco is owed $18.5 million this season and then $44.5 million combined over the next two years, but none of that money is guaranteed. Lock seems to be the kind of guy that would align with Elway's quarterbacking preferences, but Jones isn't out of the question at No. 10.
Miami Dolphins (No. 13)
On the roster: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jake Rudock, Luke Falk
The fit: Simply put, the Dolphins need everything. They just traded away Ryan Tannehill after giving up hope on the 2012 NFL Draft's No. 8 overall pick. Miami's got some pretty decent young pass-catching options with DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Mike Gesicki, but other than that, the cupboard is bare.
The Dolphins could choose Jones with the hope of letting him grow into the role of being a starting quarterback while still knowing they're a couple of years away. It's also reasonable to think that Miami will opt to wait for a quarterback in future drafts, take the best player available at No. 13 and let Fitzpatrick hold them over under center in the meantime.
Washington Redskins (No. 15)
On the roster: Colt McCoy, Case Keenum, Alex Smith
The fit: When the Redskins traded for Smith prior to last season, they were surely thinking that they wouldn't be in this position. Smith had played some of his best football in Kansas City before coming to Washington and looked like the No. 1 pick he was projected to be coming out of Utah. Then in November, disaster struck.
Smith's gruesome injury, a broken tibia and fibula, means that he almost certainly won't be playing this season—and maybe never again. Getting Keenum means Colt McCoy will have some competition for the starting job in 2019, but neither is locked in past this season and neither has proven to be a starting-caliber player.
Jones would absolutely be in the mix to start this year for the Redskins, but if nothing else, he'd have the chance to learn from a pair of experienced guys. Washington has invested heavily in its defense, but would be wise to start adding some offensive pieces in a competitive NFC East.
New England Patriots (No. 32)
On the roster: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Danny Etling
The fit: No, no, no—Brady isn't going anywhere anytime soon. But at age 41, he's certainly got to be thinking about stepping away from the gridiron at some point. Head coach Bill Belichick and Brady are in lockstep, so it's hard to imagine New England taking somebody that's not of a similar mold.
But Jones is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, like Brady, who measures in at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds. Both were lightly recruited until their senior seasons of high school. And both are smart players in the pocket. The Patriots are going to have to draft a quarterback at some point, and with neither Hoyer nor Etling under contract next season, Jones is a guy who could wait in the wings in Foxboro for multiple seasons and learn under the tutelage of a soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer a la Aaron Rodgers.