The NFL preseason is underway, meaning veterans are resting and rookies are taking to the field, eager to prove themselves and win a roster spot. Perhaps no rookie has more to prove than the New York Giants first-round draft pick, quarterback Daniel Jones. The Duke University product received a tremendous amount of scrutiny after being drafted No. 6 overall.
As a Giants fan myself, I almost lost it when I found out the franchise used a top-10 pick on a Duke football player. I was hoping the team would either draft Ohio State University quarterback Dwayne Haskins or an elite defensive line talent in Josh Allen out of the University of Kentucky. But Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman took a gamble and shocked the NFL world by using such an early pick on such a risky pick.
I can’t blame myself or any other Giants fan for being skeptical about Jones. Gettleman spent the off-season breaking fans hearts by letting star Odell Beckham Jr. go to the Cleveland Browns. Then when Gettleman goes and drafts a guy who threw nine interceptions against the University of Virginia in the top-10, fan freak out is inevitable.
But on the first night of NFL preseason, Jones balled out — going five-for-five with 67 yards and a touchdown on his first career drive. Preseason is obviously a totally different ballgame than the regular season, but Jones’ performance proved to me that the draft day outrage is unwarranted and stupid.
When the New York Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis, NY fans who are no stranger to expressing their dismay with their beloved sports franchises, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith acted like they lost a family member. But to their surprise, Kristaps silenced the haters by averaging 17.9 points and making an all-star game in his relatively short Knicks career. A lot different then what most fans were expecting.
But if you’re still not sold on my take, look at the Houston Texans 2011 draft. The Texans drafted this guy you might have heard of, All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt. But Texans fans were angry at the organization, instead of wanting them to draft players like Blaine Gabbert out of the University of Missouri. Gabbert is a now journey-man backup quarterback with a career stat line of 48 touchdowns and 47 interceptions. Meanwhile, Watt is on his way to a Hall of Famer career with 92 career sacks and five first-team All-Pro appearances. So, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the Texans made the right call drafting Watt over Gabbert.
Getting angry over a high draft pick is like immediately freaking out over a dish you just ordered at a restaurant. Give it some time, and judge it for yourself. If it’s bad then you’re proven right (and the world didn’t end) but if it’s good then you just got some delicious food. The same thing goes for sports. If the player turns out to work out as poorly as you expected then you might be smarter than a GM, but if they’re good you’ll forget all about your skepticism and watch your team reap the rewards.