Pro Football Focus released their rankings of all 32 (projected) starting quarterbacks heading into the 2021 NFL season. Giants fans will, of course, be interested in where third year quarterback Daniel Jones ranked, but they’ll have to scroll about two-thirds of the way down the page to get to him.
20. Daniel Jones
This is a big year for Daniel Jones to establish himself as a franchise quarterback, and the Giants are doing everything in their power to surround him with help. Last year, the team had the lowest pass-blocking grade in the league and the eighth-worst receiving grade, but new additions from free agency and the draft should help.
This is the first offseason Jones will be in the same offense, which will offer more familiarity going into his third season. Jones must eliminate the boneheaded decisions and turnover-worthy plays that hold the team back. With his toughness and ability to make plays with his legs, Jones can make a big leap forward.
Elsewhere in the NFC East
I haven’t made any secret of the fact that I’m not a fan of PFF’s player grades. I just don’t think it’s really possible to normalize a grade for players across positions, particularly when you don’t know the full context for the play — or are even grading players on the same scale (for instance, EDGE defenders are graded on every play, but, to my knowledge, cornerbacks are only graded when they’re targeted).
Add that to the fact that PFF’s grading process is proprietary and pretty opaque, and I have to take their grades with a generous helping of salt.
Stepping away from PFF for a moment, we have to acknowledge that 2020 was a disappointing season by any measure for Daniel Jones. The Giants came into the season expecting Jones to take a step forward from his rookie year, but he suffered an injury, saw his touchdown percentage drop, was sacked 45 times (not all of which is on the offensive line) and his ANY/A (adjusted net yards per attempt, which take touchdowns, interceptions, and sacks into account) drop from a bad 5.38 as a rookie to a terrible 4.92.
As PFF points out, Jones continued to make turnover-worthy plays, with many of the bad habits he got away with as a rookie (such as locking onto and staring down targets or attempting passes he just shouldn’t) catching up to him in his second season.
But despite all that, and ranking him as the third QB in the division, PFF is actually a fan of Jones.
At the end of the 2020 season, The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin charted the PFF’s quarterback grades against his own EPA/CPOE (Expected Points Added and Completion Percentage Over Expected) composite, and Daniel Jones stands out as a pretty big outlier.
So what does all this mean? The simple answer is that despite ranking him just above the NFL’s rookies and veterans trying to hang in the NFL, PFF is relatively bullish on Jones.
As they say, this is a “make or break” year for him, and the Giants are certainly hoping he makes it, and they don’t have to package their two first round picks to trade for a quarterback in 2022. The Giants have invested heavily in surrounding Jones with talent, but in doing so have also taken away excuses.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether Jones can take that next step or is who he has been.