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NFL Draft Diamonds Film Breakdown: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke University

Duke QB Daniel Jones is a big quarterback with a strong arm. Steve Hamner our QB guru breaks down the film of the Duke gunslinger.

QB Prospect: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke University by Steve Hamner

Breakdown: Duke Head Football Coach, David Cutcliffe, has coached 6 college quarterbacks that have gone on to the NFL. The most famous of these quarterbacks are Peyton and Eli Manning. Daniel Jones will make the number rise from 6 to 7. Jones may even be a first-round pick, as most mock draft has him going in the first or second round. I bring up Cutcliffe’s history coaching quarterbacks because watching Jones’ film, it is extremely evident how well coached and prepared he is.

Jones is a big, tall QB at 6”5”, who is athletic enough to run for first downs when needed. Against North Carolina, he actually ended up with 186 yards rushing with a long of 68 yards. He has a strong arm and a nice compact delivery, like you see with most well coached guys.

Knowing the down and distance, the coverage the defense is in, as well as everyone’s assignments on the field all come down to knowing your offenses’ game plan and listening and relying on your coach. The clip below is a great example of knowing the situation and executing. Jones’ pre-snap reads help separate him from other quarterbacks in this year’s draft class

Another thing that jumps off from the tape is Jones’ desire to never give up on a play. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. He does have a tendency to hold on to the ball too long at times, which is usually when he makes his mistakes. Several of his interceptions came when he held on to the ball too long and then at the last second throws it up to avoid a sack. However, that desire can also be a good thing when he is patient in letting the play develop. The clip below shows Jones standing in the pocket, letting the play develop, throw a perfect pass for a touchdown as he takes a hit.

This last clip shows Jones’ athleticism and his ability to not only run for a first down, but a long touchdown. Several times through-out the year, Jones was able to pick up a first down on third down with his legs when he was forced out of the pocket or when his players were covered.

Overall, watching Jones reminded me a lot of Drew Lock. They have different styles to an extent, but each got better this year than the year before. They also have some “wow” type plays as well as some “head-scratcher” type plays. Jones is a first round talent that several NFL teams will go after.


  • Can tell he has been well coached
  • Goes through progressions well
  • Good Pre-Snap adjustments
  • Strong arm with a good deep ball
  • Athletic QB who can use his legs when he needs to
  • Knows and understand situational football through-out the game
  • Smart, athletic QB


  • As smart as he is, still has head scratcher plays at time
  • When he makes a mistake, it is usually just throwing it up trying to keep the play alive
  • Has a tendency to stand in pocket too long
  • Maybe this isn’t a big deal, but his passes get batted down at LOS more often than the other guys I have broken down

Damond Talbot

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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