Daniel Jones Jersey

It was really not much of a debate at all. There were those heading into the NFL draft that liked Daniel Jones as a quarterback prospect, liked him a great deal. Some were lukewarm. Others saw him as too mechanical, with limited upside potential.

Almost everyone was in agreement in this: He does not have a superior arm.

“Overall, Jones lacks elite arm strength, but he has a nice blend of size, toughness and football smarts,’’ noted Daniel Jeremiah, draft analyst for NFL Network.

“I like the guy but I’m not sure how dynamic his arm is,’’ said an NFL talent observer specializing in quarterbacks. “I’m not sure what type of arm talent he has. He doesn’t have a great arm, doesn’t have an elite arm.’’

During last week’s rookie mini-camp, Jones showed plenty of zip on his throws during practice sessions on spring afternoons with little or no wind. The ball comes out of his hand crisply – clearly, he is well-schooled in the fundamentals of throwing from a solid lower-body platform – and he puts plenty of air under his deeper throws.

Early in the camp, Jones perfectly lofted a deep ball to speed receiver Darius Slayton, running a post, but Slayton dropped it. This must have given Jones flashbacks to all those drops he endured at Duke. Jones failed to connect with Montay Crockett but the pass hit inside the sideline about 40 yards down the field – a pass an NFL-caliber target would have inhaled.

Does it look like Jones possesses an arm that widens the eyes of coaches, teammates and opponents? No, not really. But it is not an arm lacking in strength. The Giants fell in love with Jones based on the total package – they seem him as expertly handling the demands and pressures inherent in the life of a quarterback in the New York area. They also are in disagreement with those who rate Jones’ arm as a minus.

“I don’t know, I was not involved in those debates,’’ Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “We obviously felt differently, so I could not tell you.’’

Seeing a quarterback throw on film provides only so much information and in the weeks prior to the draft the Giants tracked Jones with several in-person get-togethers to watch him get the ball out of his hands to determine if his supposed lack of arm strength was myth or reality.

“We had many exposures, starting with the Senior Bowl,’’ Shurmur said. “We were able to see him throw in person and did not see anything. Watching him on tape, I thought he had a strong enough arm. You are obviously looking to confirm it when you see him in person and we felt like he did.’’

Eli Manning came into the league in 2004 with an arm that elicited raves from talent evaluators. Jones is more of a technician, and a better athlete overall than Manning. Jones’ movement in the pocket belies his size (6-foot-5, 221 pounds) and he knows all about navigating in and around a shaky pocket from his days running for his life at Duke, where his offensive line was often overmatched against formidable defensive fronts.

In the rookie camp, Shurmur had Jones throw from the pocket, throw while sprinting out to his right and throw after a reverse-pivot to his left. He appeared to be comfortable with the footwork involved in these designed rollouts and he covers a great deal of ground with his large strides.

“You have to have all the traits and be able to do all the things a quarterback needs to,’’ Shurmur said. “When you find a guy that is mobile, that is really special, in my mind. He is a really good decision-maker. That is critical for quarterbacks. You have to be a really good decision-maker and have a sense of timing.

“Whatever that sense of timing is, whether you have to get the ball out or decide to run. You have to be an accurate passer. I really believe you have to be able to move. There has to be mobility. Whether you are moving around in the pocket, scrambling, you have to be able to move. He can do that. Then, arm strength. If you don’t have the first few, arm strength means nothing, in my mind. He has arm strength as well. I think you saw that as well.’’

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