Daniel Jones earned his first “good job” from Pat Shumur on Friday.
The sixth overall selection in this year’s draft made his on-field debut for the Giants at their rookie minicamp, looking about as poised and polished as possible.
“He did a good job,” Shurmur said after the workout. “It’s a lot for a quarterback, especially coming into an NFL system. I thought he did a good job today . . . It’s square one for all of the players, and especially for the quarterback it’s super important because you’re really directing everybody from the snap count to the huddle count and so on.”
Shurmur said evaluating quarterbacks at rookie minicamps is like evaluating them at Senior Bowl practices. On the first day, they are just getting used to their receivers, so there are bound to be plenty of rough spots. (Interestingly enough, Jones did struggle in his first Senior Bowl practice in January before rebounding to be named MVP of the game.)
“The second day, things start to smooth out a little bit,” Shurmur said.
One of the noticeable features in Jones’ game was his ability to throw on the move. He completed several passes while rolling to his right or his left, and threw one nice pass while moving the pocket and shuffling rather than sprinting out.
“I think he’s a guy who can execute well from the pocket but he’s also got a good set of legs so he can move around,” Shurmur said. “Boots, naked, some of the things we did with Eli [Manning]. A quarterback’s mobility is very very important in today’s game . . . Typically, if you are going to have a long drive or score a touchdown, the quarterback needs to do something with his legs on that drive, whether it’s move in the pocket, scramble -- sometimes scramble and make a throw, sometimes scramble and throw it away, sometimes scramble and slide. A quarterback and his ability to use his legs is very important.”
Jones seems to give that to the Giants, and a lot more of it than Manning.
Jones wasn’t flawless, but he certainly was better than Manning’s ignominious first practice at his rookie minicamp, when he scattered footballs around the field and looked completely lost.
“Time will tell, but this is a very accomplished, very talented, very smart young man who gets it,” Shurmur said of Jones. “He worked extremely hard yesterday and today.”
Now he’ll have to do it tomorrow, too.
Slayton starts slow, then rebounds
One player who did not have a strong start to his rookie minicamp was wide receiver Darius Slayton. The fifth-round pick from Auburn dropped three passes from Jones in the first half of the practice. Slayton rebounded, though, and came up with several nice catches in the second half.
“He had a couple of drops early but by the end of it he made a couple nice contested catches,” Shurmur said. “That’s why you practice. There’s a lot to get used to: New routes, new ways of doing things, new places to line up. So that’s why you practice and I thought he finished the day pretty well.”
How the locals fared
There’s a lot of Long Island flavor at Giants rookie minicamp this year. Here’s a look at how some of the local products looked in their first day as a Giant, be it as an undrafted free agent or a tryout:
James O’Hagan (Buffalo/Seaford): The center who signed as a UDFA worked with the first team and had the honor of delivering the first Giants snaps to Daniel Jones. No muffs!
Jake Carlock (LIU Post/Babylon): The UDFA played linebacker (though he is listed as a DB) and was in the backfield to break up an 11-on-11 running play at one point. He also took off his gloves to throw a few long snaps to punter Ryan Anderson under the watchful eyes of special teams coaches.
Tommy Dennis (Penn/St. Anthony’s): A tryout who did not allow a sack at left tackle in his last two years as a full-time starter, he started his day snapping the ball as one of the backup centers in quarterback warmups. The more you can do! After that, he went back and played tackle. His size and length (6-5, 300) definitely stood out.
Jordan Gowins (Stony Brook University/St. Anthony’s): Gowins ran behind Dennis in high school, but didn’t have many chances to carry the ball on Friday on a roster that is deep with running backs. The tryout will need a standout moment or two on Saturday for a shot to make the team.
Jah’sheem Martin (Pace/Freeport): At 6-3 and 320 pounds, he showed his agility as much by dancing to the music between reps as he did from a three-point stance at the line of scrimmage. He was loose and looked like he knows he belongs, which is important. The tryout played mostly behind first-round pick Dexter Lawrence and looked quick.