Understated QB Jones welcomes ‘huge opportunity’ with Giants

Daniel Jones, drafted sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, was on the field with the New York Giants eight days after the Duke quarterback was selected into a precarious position.Jones, 22, will be the backup to Super Bowl-winning franchise quarterback Eli Manning, a player no longer universally endorsed in New York. But the heir, based on rabid reaction since Jones was drafted last Thursday, has taken plenty of criticism himself. Jones tuned out those who are slow to buy into his potential and summed up his reaction as “thrilled.””This is a huge opportunity for someone like me. This was the place I wanted to be,” Jones said Friday as the Giants began rookie minicamp. “To get the call, it was thrilling and I am happy to be here.”Jones got his hands on the voluminous playbook of head coach Pat Shurmur and briefly chatted last Friday with Manning, who is entrenched as the starting quarterback for 2019, general manager Dave Gettleman said.In the days between, headlines and hot takes from sports talk radio and television talking heads have been unkind to Jones and Gettleman. The universal opinion seems to go something like this: No harm in drafting Jones, but he could’ve been available 11 picks later at No. 17. And maybe even at 30, where the Giants traded back into Round One on draft night.”It would be hard to be completely unaware of a lot of that stuff and the way it works. I don’t focus on it,” Jones said with an unassuming grin. “There is a lot to focus on and a lot to learn right now. Being here, learning the offense and trying to pick up a bunch of stuff. I am not sure I can really afford to focus on a lot of that stuff.”With the 17th pick, the Giants drafted Clemson nose tackle Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence and Jones squared off as opponents in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”That’s my guy,” Lawrence said Friday. “Going to the game, watching film, obviously he is very talented. So that gave me a little more motivation to kind of go get him. He a great player, I think he deserved to go sixth, so that’s what happened.”