Brian Baldinger, the former NFL offensive lineman who now makes his living as an analyst breaking down tape for the NFL Network, believes the New York Giants made the right choice in this year’s draft by selecting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones.
Full disclosure — Baldinger is a Duke man himself, but that isn’t clouding his judgment that Jones is a better option or the Giants than Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, who was selected nine spots after Jones by the rival Washington Redskins.
“I think he’s going to play sometime this year,” Baldinger said of Jones, via Newsday. “The more I studied, the more I liked him.”
Jones played at Duke, which is by nature a basketball factory and not known for producing NFL players. The last player they had selected in the NFL Draft before this season was wide receiver Jamison Crowder back in 2015.
“Jones wasn’t playing with NFL players,” said Baldinger. “They’re all going to law school and business school and moving on with their lives, but they’re not going to the NFL. Show me a Division I program where you haven’t had a player drafted in four years. Not many.”
The Duke receivers were a big reason why Jones’ completion rate was so low (59.9%). He was on target a lot more than his numbers indicate.
“I’ve never seen a team – ever – drop so many passes in my life,” Baldinger said of the Duke receivers. “It’s every game, too. It’s like – doink – the ball is where you want to put it. I was impressed by it.”
Baldinger was less impressed with Haskins, who played on an offense chock full of studs. The Buckeyes had six offensive players selected in this year’s draft.
“Every single receiver that Haskins threw to runs a 4.3, like Dixon or Campbell,” Baldinger said. “It’s a track team. They don’t have anybody like that at Duke. You could throw a 5-yard shallow cross to Parris Campbell, and he’s going to end up in the end zone.”
What impressed Baldinger even further about Jones is his mobility. The Giants haven’t had a quarterback who can move like this in more than half a century.
“I think you might have to go back to Y.A. Tittle and Fran Tarkenton to see a Giants’ quarterback that moves that well,” Baldinger said. “The knock on Eli is he isn’t mobile, which is fine, because he makes plays from the pocket.”
The Giants are hoping Jones can do both.