The narrative around the New York Giants right now is that if they don’t solve their offensive line issues, no quarterback will be able to survive. Daniel Jones is just another victim of the Giants’ inability to field a consistent pass-protecting unit, but they can’t afford to spend another top-10 pick in the trenches while reinforcing the rest of the roster.
In today’s NFL, having a dominant deep passing game is important, but it is not the only catalyst behind a successful offense. The truth is, if the Giants rely on Daniel Jones coming off a torn ACL to win games in 2024, it may spell the end of both Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll as the general manager and the head coach of Big Blue.
There’s an increasing likelihood that the Giants will draft a new quarterback and begin the transition. Jones, who will likely miss the first few games of the 2024 season, has an out during the 2025 off-season, which the Giants should certainly take. They would save plenty of money for the future and transition to a rookie quarterback with a much more affordable contract that is cost-controlled for five seasons.
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The Giants Can Build a Dominate Down-Field Passing Attack
One of the primary issues for the Giants is their lack of downfield production, despite the fact they drafted Jalin Hyatt out of Tennessee to help in that regard. They have plenty of speed and athleticism; they just don’t have the right quarterback or the protection scheme to get the job done.
Fortunately, the Giants can kill two birds with one stone this upcoming off-season, drafting Jayden Daniels out of LSU and utilizing his unique skill set. Daniels is coming off a Heisman-winning season, throwing for 3,812 yards, including 40 touchdowns, four interceptions, and the highest-ranking QBR at 95.7. That is not to mention his 1,134 rushing yards and 10 scored on the ground. This is no ordinary player; this is a quarterback with raw traits and talents who can become a superstar in the NFL with the right coaching.
One of the most impressive improvements Daniels made this past season was his deep passing game. He has tremendous touch on his downfield throws, enjoying 20 touchdown passes and zero interceptions on passes over 20 yards. Eleven of those touchdowns were thrown 30+ yards downfield, suggesting he keeps his eyes beyond the sticks and is always looking for a home run play. That is the opposite of Jones, who has normalized his eyes dropping and trying to find security blankets instead of extending plays and moving the ball. You might as well take shots down instead of punting and giving the ball away anyway.
The best part about Daniels isn’t even his on-the-field production. It is his work ethic and desire to be great. Those are variables you can’t teach, and Daniels not only possesses the intangibles but also his physical skill set, which makes him impressive. Some point to his weight as a primary concern for injury at the next level. At 6’4″, Daniels could certainly stand to gain a few pounds from his current 210 lbs.
Having just turned 23 years old and entering an NFL program and diet, Daniels should have no problem reaching a minimum of 220 pounds, which will give him a bit more size to protect himself and strength in his lower half. Many forget what Jones looked like when he was drafted out of Duke initially, having put on substantial muscle mass over the past four years.
Regardless, if the Giants are looking for a quarterback who can extend plays and move the chains on the ground but also possess tremendous passing qualities, Daniels can offer the best of both worlds. Of course, he had a good situation with LSU, possessing a strong offensive line and great receivers. That certainly helps, but he showed up and showed out against top defenses in college football, routinely destroying them with ease. The Giants can select him and reinforce the offensive line. In fact, getting out of Jones’s contract early will open up enough salary flexibility to sign a veteran with a proven track record.
The Giants can continue building the offensive line and draft a new quarterback. Those two things don’t need to conflict. As referenced earlier, spending another top-10 selection on the offensive line will simply create an imbalance in how the Giants have spent their draft capital over the past few years.
With that being said, free agency, the development of some of their younger guys, and using a 2nd round pick would certainly help reinforce the line. Most of all, though, the Giants need to invest heavily in the best OL coach out there, since their growth and development program has been severely flawed.