Jayden Daniels: Grading Washington Commanders' No. 2 pick in NFL draft

Texas A&M v LSU
Texas A&M v LSU / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

Washington has been in search of a franchise quarterback for years, and the new regime pulled the trigger on Jayden Daniels to potentially be the long-awaited answer. Even with Sam Howell and now Marcus Mariota in the quarterback room, Daniels projects as a day-one starter and carries with him a ton of upside.

Here’s the grade.

The most electric player in college football this past season, Daniels is a Lamar Jackson-esque runner who possesses ideal NFL arm talent and knows how to extend plays. The 2023 Heisman Trophy winner led FBS quarterbacks in six statistical categories, including total offense per game (412.2), rushing yards by a quarterback (1,134), and an NCAA record 208.0 passer rating. 

Aside from his dual-threat ability, the one thing that jumps out about Daniels’ passing game is his top-notch deep ball. On 20-plus-yard throws in 2023, he threw 22 touchdowns, zero interceptions, and culminated a 63.3% completion rate. What’s even more mind-boggling is that Daniels posted those numbers despite having a 2.91-second average to release, which ranked dead last in the FBS per Pro Football Focus. 

His slender frame could be a cause for concern, but quarterbacks as athletic and mobile as Daniels come once in a blue moon. 

New offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury has a reputation of developing young quarterbacks, most notably Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech, and should be able to engineer the attack to get the most out of Daniels early on. The weapons are there in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, but the offensive line needs to progress for him to reach his considerable potential. He's the consensus No. 2 signal caller in this draft.

Grade: A