Eli Manning finally has an apparent successor.
The New York Giants drafted Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft, positioning him as the eventual replacement for their 38-year-old passer.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has remained steadfast in his commitment to Manning amid calls for the team to move on to a younger option. In 2018, he passed up the likes of Sam Darnold (taken No. 3 overall by the New York Jets), Josh Allen (No. 7, Buffalo Bills) and Josh Rosen (No. 10, Arizona Cardinals) to select running back Saquon Barkley, who was named the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year after leading the league with 2,028 yards from scrimmage.
“We went into last year thinking that Eli had plenty left, and he proved it,” Gettleman said in a news conference last week.
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A three-year starter, Jones threw for 8,201 yards with 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions at Duke. The 6-5, 221-pound passer was likened by Hall of Fame former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt to Peyton Manning given his stature and tie to David Cutcliffe, who was Manning’s offensive coordinator at Tennessee.
“I’m going to try to be myself and not be Eli or anything but myself,” Jones said Thursday night.
“I’m certainly thrilled to be in New York and I can’t wait to get started. I think I was just confident in myself and showed the best version of myself in the process.”