Daniel Jones immediately stepped into a leadership role during his first exposure as a quarterback of the New York Giants when he took wide receiver Darius Slayton under his wing during the team’s multi-day rookie minicamp this past weekend.
Slayton, the Giants’ fifth-round draft pick, had a rough start to his first rookie minicamp practice, according to NJ.com. Slayton dropped several accurately thrown passes from Jones during drills. On one hand, the 6-foot-1 and 190-pound wide receiver showed off his 4.39 speed and 135-inch broad jump explosiveness from the first route he ran at the minicamp and this allowed him to create separation. Of course, if he can’t hang on to the pass after beating the coverage, it’s a moot point. When Slayton dropped a few in practice, Jones moved on to the next play and didn’t hesitate to throw it back in his direction when he created separation the next time. Slayton rebounded and finished practice strong with multiple difficult catches for chunk-yardage gains.
After practice, Jones was asked to talk about Slayton’s dropped passes during practice.
“I think he did a lot of good things on the field,’’ Jones said, via Giants.com. “I thought he definitely made some plays. You can see his speed on the field and you can feel that. I thought for everyone it was a good first day. We all were probably a little up-and-down.’”
Jones also provided some insight on what he said to Slayton after his early struggles and that’s when we received more insight into who Jones is as a quarterback and as a teammate.
“We talked through a few of the plays,’’ Jones said. “I certainly made a few mistakes there, too. I’ve got to protect him.’”
Jones’ conversation with Slayton must have served as some kind of confidence booster because he finished practice so strong. After the day’s drills were over, head coach Pat Shurmur praised Slayton for his ability to create natural separation in his routes and for fighting through adversity.
“He ran good routes,” Shurmur said, via Giants.com. “He Had a couple of drops early. By the end of it, he made a couple of nice contested catches. That’s why you practice. There are a lot of new things to get used to. New routes. New ways of doing things. New places to line up. That’s just why you practice. I thought he finished the day real well.”
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Slayton isn’t the only teammate who has built the early foundation of a rapport with Jones, but we’re excited to see their development over the next several seasons with the Giants. One of the most unheralded truths about the modern day NFL passing game is that quarterback-receiver chemistry is very important. Slayton has the early advantage of building a rapport with Jones as the only receiver selected in his draft class and his No. 1 target during the team’s rookie minicamp.