The latest draft news, notes and rumors target Duke QB Daniel Jones, who posted an impressive performance in front of Giants OC Mike Shula.
While it’s not ideal to have your pro day during league meetings, where a majority of NFL head coaches and decision-makers are down in Phoenix, Ariz., debating rule changes and shoving down breakfast in between roster minutiae analysis, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones did have one interesting member of the football world in attendance: Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
While Jones would make an interesting Eli Manning replacement in that he was groomed and developed by the same person who coached Manning in college at Ole Miss, David Cutcliffe, it remains to be seen where he fits in among the top tier of quarterbacks coming out.
The reviews on Tuesday were positive, though this should serve as a reminder that anyone judging the future of a player based on choreographed movements against an invisible defense need their heads examined.
The upside here: There is a familiarity between the pro and college coaching staffs. Should the Giants feel they have good information on Jones, they still may be able to get a top-flight defensive player with their No. 6 pick and wait until pick No. 17 to get him (or, if you believe the flurry of mock drafts depicting the general order of things, early in the second round).
Throughout Eli Manning’s tenure, the Giants have erred on the side of long-term developmental projects to draft at the quarterback position. Ryan Nassib. Kyle Lauletta. Rhett Bomar. Davis Webb. Andre Woodson. All of them had a defined ceiling, which, even at its peak, would place them neatly behind the long-term franchise quarterback. Jones would represent an interesting departure from that strategy, as his height, arm strength and practical route tree are all a little more advanced. It would seem to be a project, but one with a shorter timeline to pay off.
The fact that the Giants are waiting at least a year to move on from Manning should influence their decision-making in terms of the larger roster rebuild at hand. They’ve already sacrificed enough roster equity to bring them to this point; a gamble on Jones could be comparable to what the Cleveland Browns did with DeShone Kizer before ultimately bottoming out, trading him and selecting another quarterback with the first pick a year later if it doesn't work out.
DRAFT NOTES: Iowa State pro day was another destination, with 5-10, 222-pound running back and combine invitee David Montgomery improving on his 40-time from Indianapolis….Had also heard that some teams had versatile linebacker Willie Harvey in the high 4.4 range for his 40-yard dash (though not an official time). Harvey mentioned it as a possibility coming into the week…. Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell led a field of representatives from every NFL team at Texas A&M pro day Tuesday….James Madison pro day featured a solid performance from cornerback Jimmy Moreland.
UPCOMING PRO DAY SCHEDULE: Arizona State, 11 a.m., Connecticut, 8 a.m., Delta State, 3:30 p.m., Florida, 8:30 a.m., Incarnate Word, 8 a.m., Jacksonville, 3 p.m., Kansas, 8 a.m., Lamar, 9 a.m., Maryland, 8 a.m., Memphis, 8:30 a.m., Minnesota, 10 a.m., Mississippi State, 9 a.m., North Carolina State, 11 a.m., Stony Brook, 8 a.m., Texas, 3 p.m., Utah State, 10 a.m.