Duke Blue Devils quarterback Daniel Jones is the perfect target for the Washington Redskins in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.
The Redskins will select 15th overall on April 25. If Jones – who has drawn comparisons to the great Peyton Manning – is still available, head coach Jay Gruden and Co. shouldn’t think twice about selecting him.
Jones is one of the best signal callers in the draft. After the Oklahoma Sooners’ Kyler Murray, it’s a virtual toss-up as to who will get the call from NFL teams next. Aside from Jones, other prominent quarterbacks in the draft include Dwayne Haskins, Will Grier, Drew Lock, Ryan Finley, and Jarrett Stidham.
After Kirk Cousins’ departure, many Redskins fans thought Alex Smith was the saving grace the team needed. Alas, Smith broke two bones in his leg during the Week 11 game against the Houston Texans last season. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Smith is likely to miss the entire 2019 NFL season.
One storyline to follow for 2019: The #Redskins are planning as if they won’t have QB Alex Smith next season, sources say. They believe he’ll miss the entire season with his broken leg issues and are acting accordingly. If he’s ready, they will be pleasantly surprised.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 27, 2019
With Smith gone, Washington will most likely rely on Case Keenum as its starter in 2019. Colt McCoy has always been a serviceable backup. Jones should compete with him for the No. 2 quarterback spot.
Let’s break down the three reasons why Daniel Jones is the perfect choice for the Washington Redskins.
3. Effective Two-Way Threat
Jones is an elite two-way threat who can make opposing defenses pay in the air and on the ground. While his 59.5 completion percentage at Duke isn’t eye-popping, he’s sixth on the school’s all-time touchdown passes (47) and passing yardage (7,778) lists.
If the defense chooses to blitz, Jones knows how to scramble on his feet. If he can’t find an open receiver, he will rely on his exceptional running abilities. In fact, he amassed 1,329 yards on the ground. He also had 16 career rushing touchdowns with the Blue Devils.
Because of their injury issues, the Redskins finished 28th in the NFL in total offense (4,795 all-purpose yards) in 2018. Offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell has his work cut out for him next season. If neither Keenum nor McCoy live up to expectations, Jones’ versatility should help Washington put some more points on the board.
2. Upside and Athleticism
Jones stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 220 pounds. With that kind of height, his field vision should help him connect to the likes of tight end Jordan Reed on a consistent basis.
Perhaps his biggest upside is his ability to buy time in the pocket before he passes the football. According to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., “The most impressive trait I’ve seen from Jones is his ability to buy some time in the pocket and use his feet to get square and make a throw.”
When the pocket collapses, Jones uses his athleticism to find open receivers. He has an uncanny ability to do that. When Jones decides to take it to the end zone himself, he can drag a few defenders with him. While Jones is not freakishly athletic, he can make plays with his athleticism.
1. Long-Term Answer at Quarterback
Aside from his versatility and athleticism, Jones is also a smart quarterback. His NFL.com Scouting Combine report says he’s “a game manager” with “good football IQ.” This attribute should help him as he hones his game in the pro ranks.
Is Jones the perfect quarterback?
No, he’s not. He’s had some injury issues and average release speed. Sometimes, he also forces passes.
However, Jones’ pros far outweigh the cons.
He knows how to read opposing defenses, displays extraordinary footwork and good pocket management, scrambles well for first-down opportunities, and possesses the required instinct to elude the pass rush.
Barring any unforeseen developments, Alex Smith should return as the starter in 2020. However, with the severity of his injury, there are no guarantees (experts have compared it to Joe Theismann’s career-ending injury in 1985).
Even if Smith does take the field again, he will be 35 years old. Plus, neither Keenum nor McCoy is the long-term solution at quarterback. Jones is.
Make that call on draft day, Jay Gruden. It’s time to put that Washington Redskins uniform on Daniel Jones.