The MMQB has asked three quarterbacking experts—long-time front-office exec and scout Joey Clinkscales, long-time coach and coordinator Todd Haley, and long-time NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski—to assess the top QB prospects of the 2019 draft. The QB Panel Film Room series continues with Duke’s Daniel Jones…
FRONT OFFICE: Joey Clinkscales
Former Director of Player Personnel, Oakland Raiders; Vice President of College Scouting, New York Jets
Daniel Jones is a early entry player that graduated from Duke University, and you can see his smarts and football acumen in his play. He is a good athlete with very good mobility, not statuesque in the pocket but mobile enough to make plays outside the pocket with his legs. He has feel in the pocket vs. pressure, he will step up to throw rather than always trying to escape outside. He has a good arm, not great or special. He will hold ball too long at times and get sacked or turn the ball over. Ball will hang at times, will put too much air under it and underthrow or give the defender a chance to get back in the play. He does a really good job with RPOs in their system and has several long runs this season.
Strengths: Enough arm talent, smarts, size, mobility, eyes, base/balance in the pocket, tough, good athlete, good fade ball thrower.
Weaknesses: Will overthrow open deep receivers, will underthrow under pressure, will hold ball too long at times, not great back-shoulder thrower.
Player comp: I think he is a mix of two guys from last year’s draft, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen. Not as big an arm as Allen but some similar traits and better natural passer and more accurate. Similar to Rosen from the standpoint of smarts, accuracy and size but a better athlete.
Ideal landing spots: Miami, Cincinnati, N.Y. Giants, New England, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington.
Can he be a starter in 2019?: It would be ideal if he didn’t have to start in 2019, at least initially. He will certainly be smart enough but if he could be mentored for a year it would be beneficial.
Potential to become a long-term starter: I think he has the traits and enough ability to be that, especially of he isn’t ruined and sacked a lot early in his career. If he has some early success then I think he has a chance.
Potential to become a franchise QB: Again, it’s not easy to say off his body of work. However he has a lot of the traits that those guys possess so I wouldn’t rule it out, but again, he needs success early. This player grew on me; still a few more turnovers than I would like to see but he has the skillset to improve.
COACH: Todd Haley
Former Head Coach, Kansas City Chiefs; Offensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals
Player Comp: Reminds me some of josh Allen. Looks like a QB, a thrower but good athletic ability to extend play and run. Above average arm from tape viewed.
Ideal landing spot: Needs quality coaching and a vet to learn from.
Can he be a starter in 2019?: Daniel Jones had the best tape of the group in my opinion. Discounting all-star games and combine and visits. It’s very difficult to start year one at the nfl level but this guy has good tape.
Potential to become a franchise QB: Like I said , off strictly the tape, this guy can play. Many other things factor in such as ability to lead , football intelligence and work ethic . But if Daniel lands In a good healthy environment he has a chance to be a successful QB.
QUARTERBACK: Bruce Gradkowski
Former Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Strengths: Daniel Jones looks the part of an NFL quarterback. He has good footwork and command of the offense. He’s a tough competitor who is willing to stand in the pocket and deliver the football while taking a big hit. He didn’t have the greatest showing at the combine but he came back very strong at his pro day, having one of the best pro days of any of the QBs coming out in this year’s draft. He shows the ability to work within an NFL scheme with his timing and footwork. He throws with great touch and shows enough athleticism to buy time outside of the pocket to make plays. Jones cannot only operate an NFL system but he will be able to execute it as well.
Weaknesses: Anytime someone talks about Jones they first mention his coach, David Cutcliffe. This is a positive and a negative. I would want to draft a quarterback that’s smart and has been coached well, but not base it all on his coach. My biggest concern is that Jones doesn’t have the biggest arm and the ball tends to flutter at times coming off of his hand. His accuracy seems to be inconsistent. He stands in against pressure and isn’t scared to get hit but sometimes doesn’t make the smartest decision with the football in those situations. Windows close a lot faster in the NFL than they do in college and Jones has a tendency to double clutch and pat the football before letting it rip. He will need to play cleaner and more decisive at the next level. He also has a tendency to drift to his left as he’s waiting to throw the football.
Player comp: I compare Daniel Jones to Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has the grittiness and style of play of Fitzpatrick.
Ideal landing spot: An offense that’s based on rhythm and timing. A system that holds players accountable to their depths on routes and quarterbacks delivering the football on time. Good play-calling that sets their players up for success will best serve Jones. I can see Jones fitting well with the Giants or the Denver Broncos. Both teams have veteran quarterbacks in place and it will give Jones a year or two to develop. It will be most important for him to watch how a franchise quarterback leads his team day in and day out and to be able to see the communication that goes on between the lines and in the locker room.
Can he be a starter in 2019?: I’d like to see Jones go to a franchise and learn for a year. This is the same way I feel about most of the quarterbacks in this draft class. I do feel like Jones is one of the top guys that could put his footwork and timing into an NFL system pretty quickly. But it will best serve Jones to sit for a year or two so he can have total understanding of his offense and the defenses he will be going against.
Potential to become a franchise QB: Jones doesn’t have the big arm or velocity of an NFL franchise quarterback, but he has enough arm talent to get the job done. He can make all the throws necessary and with his athleticism he will be able to match up his footwork and timing. With the right coach and team Jones could have a lengthy NFL career but his success will be based on the team around him.
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