Daniel Jones was the best deep passer in football last year, according to NFL.com’s Nick Shook.
Jones had a 134.3 passer rating when throwing over 20 yards, higher than any other quarterback. He completed 19-of-39 deep passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes posted 128.7 and 107 passer ratings, respectively, on such throws.
More importantly, Jones posted a +14.8 percent completion percentage over expectation (CPOE) on deep balls. Because of poor play from his offensive line and wide receivers, Next Gen Stats “expected” Jones to complete only 33.9 percent of his deep throws. He actually completed 48.7 percent.
A high CPOE should come as no surprise. Jones is used to releasing the ball quickly after playing with the league’s 31st-ranked offensive line and without a true No. 1 receiver.
Darius Slayton emerged as Jones’ top deep threat last year by averaging 15 yards per reception. However, Slayton led the team with a mere 751 receiving yards, leaving the Giants without a 1,000-yard receiver for the second straight year.
No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas had a horrendous rookie season at left tackle. He allowed 57 pressures and 10 sacks, both worst in the league. Right tackle Cameron Fleming was not much better, allowing six sacks and committing seven penalties.
The Giants have spent two years evaluating Daniel Jones, yet he remains something of an enigma. Did he struggle last year because he played in a bad offense or because he simply lacks ability? His stat line suggests that he regressed in 2020; he threw for fewer yards and touchdown passes than in his rookie season.
However, Jones played last year without Saquon Barkley and left tackle Nate Solder. His CPOE accounts for that deficit of talent and provides hope that Jones improved in his sophomore campaign. Jones’ CPOE was -4.9 percent in 2019.
Jones’ supporting cast will be much improved next year with the additions of Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, both of whom are known for creating separation in the passing game. At 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds, Golladay will be able to force himself open and become a red zone threat. Toney is smaller but ran a 4.39 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. As he proved in college, that speed makes him a premier route runner.
Image courtesy of Al Bell/Getty Images.
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