With the regular season over and the offseason kicking in for NFL 20 teams, expect to hear the name “Daniel Jones” a lot over the next few months.
Jones, considered a top NFL quarterback prospect, announced Monday he will forego his final season of college eligibility at Duke to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
“Daniel has been a cornerstone of our program and leaves with our full support,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to coach him, but the best part about Daniel is he’s an even better young man than he is a football player. The bottom line is he’s a special person and we’ll miss him greatly.”
Jones, who holds a degree in economics from Duke, led the Blue Devils to an 8-5 record in 2018, including a 56-27 win over Temple in the Independence Bowl in which he threw five touchdowns and rushed for one.
In 2018, Jones completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while scoring another three touchdowns on the ground. In 36 career starts at Duke, Jones has accounted for 69 touchdowns (52 passing, 17 rushing).
Daniel Jones is officially heading to the NFL! Check out the skill set that the talented quarterback will bring to the next level. ⬇️#DukeGang #BullCityProud (@DukeFOOTBALL, @Daniel_Jones10) pic.twitter.com/43G0FMA5ZL
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) December 31, 2018
With Oregon’s Justin Herbert returning to school for one more season, Jones could very well be one of the first two quarterbacks selected along with Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, who hasn’t yet declared.
Jones, at 6-5 and 220 pounds, will likely be compared to Cutlcliffe’s most well-known QB success stories — Peyton and Eli Manning. Cutcliffe spoke glowingly of Jones prior to Duke’s bowl win over Temple.
“He’ll be a first-round draft choice if he does comes out,” Cutcliffe said (via The News & Observer). “He’s so accurate. He’s big. He’s fast. He’s athletic. He understands the game. He’s got a fast-twitch mind to go with that fast-twitch body. He’s got impeccable character. You don’t get many chances to draft a guy like that.”
Teams in the top half of the draft that could look to go quarterback include the Raiders (No. 4), Buccaneers (No. 5), Giants (No. 6), Jaguars (No. 7), Broncos (No. 9), Bengals (No. 11), Dolphins (No. 13) and Redskins (No. 15).