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Duke Quarterbacks In The NFL Part II: Dave Brown vs. Daniel Jones

Logical parallels but they’re not the same player

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Dave Brown
Dave Brown as a New York Giant

More than a few of the what-where-the-Giants-thinking-narratives about drafting Duke’s Daniel Jones mention Dave Brown, and not in a positive way,

There are some superficial similarities between Brown and Jones. Brown played at 6-5, well over 200 pounds. He was drafted by the Giants to replace a legend, Phil Simms in this case. The 6-4, 215 lb. Jones was drafted to replace Eli Manning.

It didn’t end well for Brown in New York. But he did have his moments.

Brown is a New Jersey native. He red-shirted in 1988 and backed up Billy Ray most of the 1989 season, his freshman year, playing mop-up minutes in a blow-out loss to Virginia early in the season.

But Ray became injured and Brown made his first start against Wake Forest. He threw for 444 yards and four touchdowns against the Deacs, one of the scores a 97-yarder to Clarkston Hines.

Not bad for a first start.

Brown finished the regular season with 374 passing yards against NC State and 479 against North Carolina, as Duke captured a share of the ACC title.

That Carolina performance remains Duke’s single-game record.

Brown threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns in Duke’s All American Bowl loss to Texas Tech, after which Steve Spurrier left for greener pastures.

Brown started the next two seasons under Barry Wilson, throwing for 2,794 yards in 1991.

He graduated from Duke and applied for the 1992 supplemental draft. The Giants selected him in the first round--giving up their first-round pick in the next draft.

Brown spent two seasons backing up Simms, who retired after the 1993 season.

Brown passed for 2,536 yards in 1994, as the Giants finished 9-7, winning their final six games.

But the promise remained unfulfilled. The Giants fell to 5-11 in 1995, 6-10 in 1996. Brown threw for 2,814 and 2,412 yards respectively but his completion percentage was pedestrian and he threw too many interceptions, 20 in 1996. The Giants had lots of holes but quarterback is a high-profile position and Brown was a first-round pick in the media capital of the world. He bore the brunt of criticism from fans and media.

Injuries began to show up and Brown ended his career in Arizona in 2001 before retiring and moving to Wall Street. His career stats read 10,248 passing yards, a 54.6 completion percentage, 44 touchdowns, 58 interceptions and apparently lots of bad memories among the Giants fan base.

So, that’s the context for some of the angst among Giants Nation. There’s no more reason to think that Daniel Jones will be Dave Brown v. 2 than to believe that he would have been Sonny Jurgensen v.2 had Jones fallen to Washington. Top-tier NFL quarterbacks can come from lots of places. Simms played at Morehead State, after all.

And Simms says Jones deserves a shot.

“Let’s just give it a chance, Ok?” he told the New York Post. “Let’s see where it goes. I think the Giants felt physically, good enough, all that, no concerns, but all of the stuff that you want to see in your quarterback, they saw.”

Jones isn’t going to be thrown into the deep end of the pool right away. Eli Manning is still the mentor, Jones the mentee and we’ve got some time to see how this all plays out. Given Jones’ demonstrated intelligence and work ethic, I’m thinking it will play out quite well.

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