Former head coach gives seal of approval to potential Commanders draft target

Ron Rivera made his choice...

Ron Rivera
Ron Rivera / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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Former head coach Ron Rivera has urged the Washington Commanders to select Jayden Daniels at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Ron Rivera couldn't get the quarterback position right during his four seasons as head coach. It was an ongoing frustration that began by spurning the chance to draft Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa in 2020. This began a downward spiral that saw almost no continuity or stability at football's most important spot.

Rivera won't be around to oversee the Commanders' draft process in 2023 after he was fired as expected once the campaign concluded. That task will fall on general manager Adam Peters, who also begins his tenure with the No. 2 pick and two prominent quarterback prospects within range once Caleb Williams goes to the Chicago Bears as anticipated.

Ron Rivera urges Commanders to draft Jayden Daniels

That didn't stop Rivera from lending an opinion on the topic during his recent ESPN appearance. If he was calling the shots, the choice would be Jayden Daniels thanks to his mobility and scheme fit within Kliff Kingsbury's system based on comments via Sports Illustrated.

"The big thing more so than anything else that you have to look at is the style of offense they're going to run. You've got Kliff Kingsbury, a guy that likes the mobile quarterback - a quarterback that can move in the pocket - that can make the plays when they're downfield and throw the football. I think the big thing is you've got to have a mobile quarterback. I think he's the kind of guy that will fit what Kliff Kingsbury wants to do."

Ron Rivera via Sports Illustrated

It's pretty much split 50-50 among the fanbase based on the social media murmurings. Some want Daniels to see if he can build on his meteoric rise to prominence en route to the Heisman Trophy in 2023. Others want to bet on Drake Maye's traits and hope he can evolve into a franchise-caliber presence under center.

Peters and his staff will be frantically watching game-film and discovering more about each prospect. Others will come under the microscope before the big night arrives. The Commanders could also do their due diligence on non-quarterbacks in the event they receive a trade-down offer difficult to refuse.

While the benefits of moving back are obvious, the Commanders might not get a better opportunity to find a long-term quarterback capable of spearheading their rise back to prominence. Peters doesn't plan on picking this high again, so striking when the chance is there might be the tipping point.

Daniels looks like a potential superstar. He's not the finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but he's got the excitable skill set that gets fans in seats and can electrify with the correct supporting cast.

After Rivera's questionable quarterback evaluation throughout his head coaching career - aside from Cam Newton falling into his lap in 2011 - his opinion on the latest crop of college stars isn't holding much weight with Washington's long-suffering support. After all, this was a man who thought the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Carson Wentz could help the Commanders contend.

Rivera is embarking on a new journey and we wish him well. That said, his absence from the draft war room this spring with so many assets at the Commanders' disposal should inspire confidence. Peters has a shrewd eye for unearthing college talent through various stops around the league. Having this sort of accomplished mind leading the charge with a long-term plan is a refreshing change of pace.

If the choice is Daniels, so be it.

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