From the moment Daniel Jones was drafted with the sixth overall pick in this past April’s draft, this has been a question on the minds of many Giants fans. In 2018 the team was 5–11 and at points, quarterback Eli Manning played some of the worst football of his career. With the drafting of Jones, it is just a matter of time until he is in and Manning is out.
There are of course many variables. Health, effectiveness, and the team’s record will all be major factors that Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur will have to account for. Let’s look at three recent young quarterbacks, all of whom were in similar situations as Jones, a first-round quarterback playing behind a veteran.
The first case to look at is the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs made an aggressive move up in the draft to pick Patrick Mahomes while they still had Alex Smith as their starter. Smith led the Chiefs to a 9–6 record before Mahomes’ first start in a Week 17 win over the Denver Broncos. In the subsequent off-season, Smith got traded to the Washington Redskins and Mahomes led the Chiefs on his way to an MVP season.
Next up is the 2018 Cleveland Browns, who drafted Baker Mayfield first overall after trading for Tyrod Taylor earlier in the off-season. Taylor had some mixed results in his first two games of the season and then got hurt in the middle of the third game, a Thursday night game against the New York Jets. At that point, Mayfield came in, led the Browns to their first win in a very long time, and finished the season with the record for most touchdown passes in a season by a rookie.
Finally, the 2018 Baltimore Ravens who traded up to the final pick in the first round to draft Lamar Jackson while still having Joe Flacco on the team. The team started off 4–5 and in Week 11, Jackson got his first start and led the Ravens to a 6–1 record down the stretch. Flacco was traded after the season.
Obviously, if there is an injury to Manning, Jones will be in right away. However, the most likely outcome for the Giants is that Jones will start in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears right after their bye week. This will allow for an easy transition and the best opportunity for Jones to succeed. Eli Manning’s recent ineffectiveness should not tarnish what he accomplished for the Giants in his career, but it can’t hold off the future either.