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Taking the Pat Shurmur challenge: What critics of Daniel Jones pick are saying now

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Is there crow being eaten, or are analysts standing their ground on evaluation of rookie quarterback?

New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

After watching sixth overall pick Daniel Jones light up the skies again Thursday night in a 9-of-11, 141-yard performance that included bouncing up from a big hit and completing a tough throw on the next play, New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur issued a challenge.

“You can ask me all you want about why I like him [Daniel Jones],” Shurmur said. “I think it’s time to start asking the people that didn’t like him what they think.”

So, I did.

I turned to Matt Waldman of The Rookie Scouting Portfolio, one of the analysts who studied Jones at Duke and did not see a franchise quarterback worthy of the No. 6 overall pick.

Waldman thought it was a “clever question” from Shurmur.

“It’s understandable that Pat Shurmur would ask that question. He’s had a chance to work with Daniel Jones from pre-draft through training camp and into the preseason, and from what they’ve asked him to do he’s done a good job,” Waldman said.

“Knowing that there was a lot of criticism of the organization and it’s a prideful organization … as a guy who’s gonna be a leader of that organization he’s going to ask that question. It’s a good rhetorical question, kind of good rhetoric to put out there that’s going to pump up your young quarterback who’s probably read some of his headlines and clippings and seen how everyone has panned him.”

Waldman, though, isn’t quite ready to join Mark Schofield in downing a few forkfuls of crow.

“What do I think now? I’d say I still feel the same way I do with my scouting report. When you look at Daniel Jones his strengths have always been that he’s tough in the pocket and willing to take punishment, that when you give him time and allow him to make first reads he’s going to make good plays,” Waldman said.

“He’s made good plays with what he’s been asked to do.”

Waldman, though, is reserving judgment until he sees Jones in what he considers to be more challenging situations.

“From what I’ve seen thus far essentially I’ve seen a player that when he has the first read time he’s making the plays. The plays aren’t going to separate him from being a backup quarterback in the NFL to being a high-end starter because we haven’t seen enough exposures based on what you show in camp and what you see in preseason,” Waldman said.

“I haven’t seen instances in the preseason that show he’s overcome his difficulty working multiple progressions, buying time in a way where he’s going to be able to make accurate throws after his first progression. … You’ve seen him have difficulty being able to hold onto the ball when hit in the pocket in repeated situations. You’ve had multiple fumbles.

“What you see is a guy doing, in my opinion, what he’s supposed to do with what’s been set up for him right now. What we haven’t seen are the difficult things that separate starters from backups in the NFL and we’re not going to see that until he gets on the field (in the regular season).”

Other takes

The New York Post is eating a bit of crow.

Others aren’t quite ready to sit at the table yet.

Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan:

“Folds vs pressure. And that’s still the case until proven otherwise. Pressure from defense, pressure from the situation (3rd down, red zone, 4-minute offense, backed up offense). He was very average in that area at Duke, which has nothing to do with players around him.”

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus:

“It is not yet time to ask that. He has 32 preseason drop backs. That’s like one, pretty short NFL game. You [have] never seen a guy have an unusually good or bad game before?”

Dane Brugler of The Athletic:

“This is the final line of my report on Daniel Jones: Overall, Jones doesn’t have any exceptional physical traits and his internal clock requires work, but he is a cerebral passer who makes accurate reads with active eyes and feet, projecting as a B-level NFL starter.”

Brugler hasn’t seen enough to change his mind.

“No. Okay to be encouraged by preseason play, but changing evaluations based on a few preseason exhibition games doesn’t make much sense to me. And I’d be saying the same if Jones went out there and completed 20 percent of his passes with 4 INTs. There is no reason to make a rush to judgment. I’m eager to see him play in the regular season.”