While No. 17 Duke football is just days away from a key matchup against No. 11 Notre Dame, some former Blue Devils are making a splash in the pros. The Blue Zone highlights alumni competing in the NFL:
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Daniel Jones’ tumultuous start to the season continued during a 30-12 loss to San Francisco Thursday. Facing a dominant 49ers defense, Jones’ form resembled that of his wasteful opening-week display, when the Giants failed to score a single point against the division rival Cowboys. Despite a solid performance Week 2, Jones has thus far failed to silence the critics questioning his recent four-year, $160 million contract extension.
With superstar running back Saquon Barkley out due to injury, New York came into the game needing Jones to step up. However, the 2019 sixth-overall pick amassed just 137 yards in the air and did not score a single touchdown, marking the second time this season he has been held below 150 passing yards and failed to find the end zone. Constantly under duress and missing his most dangerous weapon, Jones threw an interception and was sacked twice. His disappointing performance even prompted San Francisco defenders Dre Greenlaw and Charvarius Ward to openly question the Giants’ decision to extend the former Blue Devil captain.
That being said, Jones is not the only one to blame for the Giants’ abysmal play. Barkley’s injury, woeful offensive line performances and a serious lack of receiving threats have all contributed to New York’s 1-2 start. The offseason acquisition of Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller has failed to pay dividends, and head coach Brian Daboll’s play calling has not been as sharp as it was last year.
Victor Dimukeje, OLB, Arizona Cardinals
While one former Duke football star struggled mightily in Week 3, another continued his emergence as one of the bright young stars on a scrappy Cardinals defense. Third-year linebacker Victor Dimukeje played a huge role in Arizona’s remarkable upset of the previously undefeated Dallas Cowboys. The Baltimore native posted three solo tackles, and he added an outstanding sack early in the first quarter. Dallas had previously been averaging a staggering 35 points per game before their trip to State Farm Stadium, but it only scored 16 against Dimukeye and his teammates.
Before the season, the Cardinals were labeled as one of the worst teams in the NFL. Without franchise quarterback Kyler Murray — and tempted by the prize of generational talent Caleb Williams in next year’s draft — most pundits and fans expected Arizona to give up on their season and tank for the first overall pick. However, the Cardinals have been surprisingly competitive in each of their three games, with their two losses coming by just three and four points respectively. Dimukeye and the rest of Arizona’s defense will hope to continue their superb performances in next week’s tough road matchup against the 49ers.
Jake Bobo, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Meanwhile, up in the Pacific Northwest, former Blue Devil receiver Jake Bobo made headlines in the Seahawks’ 37-20 victory over the Panthers. Although Bobo finished his collegiate career with UCLA, Duke fans will remember him as a standout wideout for the Blue Devils during four productive seasons in Durham. After making the Seahawks’ roster as an undrafted rookie this offseason, the 2021 Third Team All-ACC selection caught his first NFL touchdown Sunday.
Late in the fourth quarter, Seattle looked to secure its victory on a second-and-goal on Carolina’s five-yard line. Quarterback Geno Smith lofted the ball up towards Bobo, who launched himself into the air, snagged the pass and somehow managed to get both feet inbounds. It was a remarkable play from an opportunistic young player who has quickly become a fan favorite. Despite notable competition from veterans Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Bobo will hope to earn more snaps and show his worth Monday against the Giants.
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