New York Giants Daniel Jones
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

New York Giant Daniel Jones is in a position where leadership is crucial, and Victor Cruz believes he’ll enhance those qualities this year.

You can’t deny it was a weird situation for Daniel Jones coming in as the heir apparent to the legendary Eli Manning last year. The former Duke Blue Devil was to be the eventual starter, but he may have been a tad bit overshadowed by his predecessor, a man that won two Super Bowls with this very organization.

Nonetheless, Jones is slated to take part in his first full year as a starter in 2020, and the leadership qualities within him should shine even more. At least, according to a former New York Giants wideout and Super Bowl 46 champion.

“Just continuing to build on the leadership qualities that he already has,” Victor Cruz told Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network when discussing what Jones should do to develop in 2020. “I think obviously, coming in on another year without Eli Manning being there, he can actually feel like the leader and be himself and start to bring these guys under his leadership. I think that’s the biggest thing he has to fulfill this year.

“Yes, the stuff on the field will kind of take care of itself. He’ll make the plays, he’ll make the decisions that he needs to make, I think, in order to be successful. But the biggest thing that Eli had was the fact that he brought those guys together…He knew what it took to have all those guys on the same page with each other, both on the field and off the field in terms of friendships and building the camaraderie. Eli really understood that part of it. And I think Daniel Jones, this will be the year where he starts to build his own leadership with his guys.”

Ahead of his sophomore campaign, Jones is dealing with an unusual offseason in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He nor his teammates experienced an in-person minicamp or OTAs, and instead, had to undergo virtual meetings.

The offense did improve on paper these past few months though. New York added offensive tackle Andrew Thomas in the first round of this year’s draft along with tackle Matt Peart and guard Shane Lemieux respectively in the third and fifth rounds. Thomas should start right away while the other two aforementioned names will hopefully become reliable O-line pieces down the road.

A pro quarterback taking massive strides between year No. 1 and 2 is nowhere near uncommon, just ask Carson Wentz, Lamar Jackson, and despite him not playing much his rookie season, Patrick Mahomes, the man the Chiefs just signed to a whopping $503 million extension. Each put on a show in year No. 2, and the Giants are hoping their 2019 first-round selection follows that trend.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.