Did you hear the collective groans Thursday night? Even if you were hundred of miles away from MetLife Stadium, Giants fans made themselves heard when their team took Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall.
Almost certainly, the frustration was not meant to be directed at Jones, but rather General Manager Dave Gettleman.
For those who missed out, let's quickly recap the Giants offseason:
- Leading tackler and Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins walked, signing a six-year, $84-million deal with division rival Washington.
- Defensive tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Eli Apple, their first-round pick in 2016, also left in free agency, with no direct compensation in return for the Giants.
- All-Pro wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and All-Pro defensive end Olivier Vernon were traded to the Cleveland Browns for Jabrill Peppers and the Nos. 17 and 95 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In other words, it was not a winter that gave Giants fans a reason to have much confidence in the man running their team.
Of course, the speculation was right out in the open leading up to Thursday night. New York was an obvious fit for Jones, especially given the long relationship with Eli Manning, a fellow protegé of Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. I was initially going to dedicate this space to a discussion of Jones' fit with his new NFL team, but with the Giants, it's not at all necessary.
This past week, I had a hard time convincing myself of my own prediction that Jones would go off the board sometime in the first six selections. I thought there was a slim chance Oakland would do something crazy (and they sort of did, taking Clelin Ferrell instead) or the possibility that Washington would trade up to No. 5 to jump the Giants and pull the trigger on Jones.
And while I truly believed that the Giants wanted to take Jones, I figured they probably could wait until their 17th overall pick. Then again, I thought that if the Giants believed in Jones, why wouldn't they take him at No. 6.
That's precisely what happened.
“After the three series I watched [at the Senior Bowl], I saw a professional quarterback,” Gettleman told reporters Thursday night. “That’s when I was in full-bloom love.”
Beyond the awkwardness of Gettleman's words, there is some truth. Everyone in Mobile, Ala., that watched Jones play amongst and against some of the best prospects in the nation came away thinking highly of the former Blue Devil.
But just as easily, you can find three series from Jones' second-to-last game at Duke when he looked like chopped liver against a Wake Forest team that came to Durham just 5-6 on the season.
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Had Jones gone 11 picks later, the reactions would not have been nearly as extreme. Mina Kimes wouldn't have nearly fallen off her chair. New York reporters wouldn't have spent Thursday night into Friday morning finding a new way to roast Gettleman.
For Jones, the difference would have meant a whole lot less pressure.
Now, the Giants have saddled their future to the former three-star high school recruit. When the Daniel Jones era begins in a year—or maybe three, if you're Gettleman—the expectations of at least playing up to the level of a two-time Super Bowl champion will be there.
"Who knows? I may go out there in my car and get hit," Gettleman said after mentioning the possibility of Jones sitting behind Manning for three seasons. "We drafted a quarterback that we think is a franchise quarterback. That's really the long and short of it."
This is most certainly not an indictment of Jones. He was clearly one of the top quarterbacks in this year's class and has the potential to be an above-average starter in the NFL.
But things are different in New York. Always.
Ultimately, the Giants got their quarterback of the future, plus a defensive lineman in Dexter Lawrence, who should make an immediate impact, and cornerback Deandre Baker. If Jones turns out to be what they expect, this could end up being one of the Giants' best drafts in recent memory.
Still, that's a whole lot of pressure on a guy who isn't expected to play a single snap this season. From Duke blue to Big Blue, Jones' NFL career is already off to one hell of a start.