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Daniel Jones to Carry On Tradition of 1st Round ACC QB’s

By Dave Holcomb
SouthernPigskin.com
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Averaging one first-round quarterback per year for more than a five-year span is a tremendous accomplishment and is something no other conference in the country can say.

The 2019 NFL Draft is now a mere week away. Yet still, there’s hardly a consensus on who will go No. 1 overall let alone where other players may land.

Of course, this isn’t all that unusual. It wasn’t known until the draft day that the Cleveland Browns planned to select Baker Mayfield with the first overall selection a year ago.

This year’s quarterback class is not considered nearly as strong as the 2018 class, and yet there is one mock draft from Sports Illustrated that had five quarterbacks come off the board in the first round. That would match last year’s record total.

This isn’t to say that the five-quarterback first-round mock draft from SI’s Kalyn Kahler, which was released on March 27, will definitely be wrong. Signal callers are always overdrafted. It just goes to show readers and fans really can find any opinion online.

Other mock draft experts haven’t been as bold as Kahler, predicting five quarterbacks in the first round, but Duke signal caller Daniel Jones has been steadily rising the rankings in recent weeks. Kahler had Jones going 10th overall to the Denver Broncos in her mock.

She wasn’t alone in slotting Jones as a Top 10 pick. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah selected the Duke quarterback to go sixth overall to the New York Giants. Three other mock draft experts at NFL.com have Jones coming off the board at some point in the first round.

Assuming they are correct and Jones does hear his name called in the first 32 picks, he will continue a recent tradition of ACC quarterbacks dominating the first round of the NFL draft.

No conference has produced more first-round signal callers since 2013 than the Atlantic Coast Conference. If the mock drafts are right, Jones will become the seventh ACC quarterback to go in the first round in the last seven years. That counts Teddy Bridgewater, who didn’t technically play in the ACC, but did go to Louisville, which is now an ACC school.

Averaging one first-round quarterback per year for more than a five-year span is a tremendous accomplishment and is something no other conference in the country can say. The PAC-12 is the next closest, and they have had four first-round quarterbacks since 2013.

Oklahoma is set to accomplish an incredible feat, posting a second straight year with a quarterback drafted in the first round. It’s possible Kyler Murray joins Mayfield and hears his name called first overall too.

But since 2013, the only other schools with multiple quarterbacks drafted in the first round are both from the ACC -- Florida State and Louisville. Even including Murray this year, the Big 12 still has only had three first-round quarterbacks over the last seven years. The ACC has doubled that amount during the same span.

Even more incredibly, the SEC and Big Ten, the conferences so many college football fans consider the two premiere leagues in the sport, have produced just one first-round signal caller since 2013 -- Johnny Manziel.

That will likely change this year with Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, but the ACC still more than doubles the two conferences combined in the first-round signal callers category over the last seven years.

Now, not all six of the ACC quarterbacks taken in the first round since 2013 have worked out. Most notably, the Florida State signal callers, E.J. Manuel and Jameis Winston, have been the biggest busts. Bridgewater has also become a backup, though, that happened not because of his skills but due to a horrific injury.

But for every disappointment, there’s also been an ACC first-round signal caller becoming a budding star. Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky both appear poised to become franchise quarterbacks. Furthermore, Lamar Jackson already pushed out a former Super Bowl MVP and earned the starting role in Baltimore.

Jones is just the next in line for a conference that produces NFL talent at quarterback better than just about everybody (except maybe Oklahoma).