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Duke podcaster — Eli Manning would be “great mentor” for Daniel Jones

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Blue Devils’ QB is a likely first-round pick in the upcoming draft

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NCAA Football: Duke at Clemson
Daniel Jones (17)
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

It might be sort of hard for a quarterback who could be taken in the top half of the draft to be overlooked, but in some ways that has been the case recently for Daniel Jones of Duke. With the obsessing over Dwayne Haskins and the hysteria over the announcement by Kyler Murray that he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft, Jones has not gotten a ton of attention.

That could, however, change this week. Jones will join the group of quarterbacks strutting their stuff for NFL scouts at the Senior Bowl. With the New York Giants perhaps looking for a successor to Eli Manning in the upcoming draft, that puts Jones on their radar. With that in mind, Jason Evans of SB Nation’s Duke website, the Duke Basketball Report and the Duke Basketball Report podcast, joined the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast recently to give us the low down on Jones.

On what Jones meant to Duke football

“We are incredibly sad to be seeing him leave. The kid is an offensive juggernaut. At the college level he is someone who is able to pass very successfully and he’s also a very effective runner for us,” Evans said.

“I don’t want people to think he’s another Russell Wilson or Lamar Jackson or something like that, not at all. In the pros, he will be a pocket passer. But at the college level he’s really been a fabulous player and he’s led Duke to some very successful seasons.

“We’re not a program that has a huge history of success in football, so having Daniel Jones do as well as he has for Duke has been really great.”

On why a Dave Brown comparison isn’t valid

Brown, of course, is the former Duke quarterback taken by the Giants in the 1992 Supplemental Draft. That didn’t turn out well.

“The first reason would be [head coach] David Cutcliffe,” Evans said, calling the Duke coach “a quarterback whisperer, a quarterback savant.”

“Brown did not have the benefit of playing for Cutcliffe.”

Jones was with Cutcliffe for four seasons, three as the Blue Devils starting quarterback and one as a redshirt freshman.

“When you’re an NFL team that’s a huge selling point because you know David Cutcliffe knows how to produce really, really, really high-quality quarterbacks,” Evans said.

“He’s the guy who taught Eli Manning. He’s the guy who taught Peyton Manning. If you’re a starter for three-plus years under David Cutcliffe your career ends in the NFL. It’s almost unanimous.”

On Jones’ accuracy as a passer

Jones has a 59.9 percent completion percentage over three seasons at Duke. That’s low for a top-tier college quarterback, and a concern for some leading up to the draft. Evans isn’t buying that concern.

“To me that doesn’t reveal the quality of Daniel Jones’s throwing. You know the saying it takes two to tango? In a football passing attack it takes three to be successful. Those three are the QB throwing the ball, wide receivers getting open and catching the ball and the offensive line protecting the quarterback,” Evans said.

“We had a really great QB throwing the ball, we had sort of an OK offensive line, we had below average wide receivers.

“I think that when you see Daniel Jones throwing to professional NFL-quality wide receivers you’re going to see a real step up in that completion percentage. The guy is a very, very accurate passer and that’s hugely important in the NFL.”

On the idea of Jones playing for the Giants

Evans said he believes Jones “has some real upside” and that “I don’t see why it wouldn’t fit” should he land with the Giants.

Not only does Jones share a coach with Manning in Cutcliffe, but Jones has attended the Manning Passing Academy multiple times and, per Evans, has had some exposure to Manning during the summer workouts the Giants’ QB has held at Duke.

“Jones would have a great mentor in Eli. In fact, Eli has probably already mentored him some,” Evans said. “I can’t think of any reason he wouldn’t be able to handle the NY market just fine.

“I feel like based on the success he had at Duke and what I’ve seen from him Daniel Jones could be a successful NFL quarterback.”

Listen to the full show below.

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