4 realistic expectations for Commanders QB Jayden Daniels in 2024

Big things are expected of Jayden Daniels.
Jayden Daniels
Jayden Daniels / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Dating back to 2012, the NFL has witnessed three of the greatest seasons ever played by a rookie quarterback. It has also seen some massive flameouts from highly touted signal-callers during their first seasons. We’re going to look at every starting rookie quarterback between 2013-2022 to predict what would be a realistically successful season for Jayden Daniels.

Looking at 2013-2022 gives us a nice 10-year span, and it omits high-end outliers like Robert Griffin III (2012) and C.J. Stroud (2023). It does however include Dak Prescott’s 2016 campaign, perhaps the greatest season ever produced by a rookie quarterback.

We are also only considering rookies who started at least 10 of their team’s games. That leaves out some of the very best seasons, such as Deshaun Watson’s sensational 2017, Lamar Jackson’s equally stellar 2018, and Brock Purdy’s shocking 2022 season.

Those standout campaigns are balanced on the other end of the spectrum. We don’t get Jared Goff’s wretched 2016 or Dwayne Haskin’s abysmal 2019 either.

There are two things aside from personal statistics that Washington Commanders fans can realistically hope for in 2024. First, Daniels remains healthy. If he does not start all 17 games, that's okay, provided he does get double-digit starts and suffers no serious complications.

Second, the team posts a winning record - something they have not achieved since 2016. The playoffs would be an outstanding bonus, but you have to walk before you can run.

Few teams pull off a worst-to-first turnaround in one year. But a two-year transition, in which a poor team gets back to respectability in Year 1 and then soars into the playoffs in Year 2, is not the least bit unusual. Washington did that under Joe Gibbs, and they were on their way to doing it again under Marty Schottenheimer when poor management decisions derailed the progress.

What kind of personal statistics can we expect from Daniels? Let’s dive into the numbers. Here are four key components that will make for a very good, very realistic rookie season for the new Commanders' newest star attraction.

Jayden Daniels' completion percentage/yards per attempt

The first two statistical categories are paired. In today’s NFL, a completion percentage under 60 percent is considered poor. Anything below 64% would have landed you in the bottom half of the league last year.

This is one of the hardest things for rookies to achieve. A high completion percentage suggests the quarterback is reading the defense quickly and properly. He is not rushing his throws. He is not being fooled by disguised coverages. These are the things that virtually every first-year professional struggles with.

Even C.J. Stroud had trouble here. He completed just under that 64 percent threshold. However, here’s why we pair this number. A lower completion rate is fine if the quarterback is pushing the ball downfield.

Longer pass attempts are bound to result in a diminished completion percentage. If the quarterback is succeeding on a good portion of those deep attempts, it more than makes up for a lower success rate. Stroud’s 8.2 yards-per-attempt in 2023 was extraordinarily good. Only Brock Purdy and Tua Tagovailoa posted higher numbers.

So what we would like to see from Jayden Daniels is a completion rate somewhere in the mid-60s with a YPA over 7 during his opening season as Washington Commanders quarterback in 2024.