Jayden Daniels tipped to lead Commanders on potential wildcard push

The Commanders are expecting big things from Jayden Daniels in 2024.
Jayden Daniels
Jayden Daniels / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There is a growing sense that the Washington Commanders might have something special on their hands with Jayden Daniels. The No. 2 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft looks fiercely driven to repay the faith shown in him by those in power. His transition into the organization has been seamless throughout early workouts, which is a solid foundation from which to build as the summer progresses.

Daniels' on-field production and tireless work ethic have not gone unnoticed by coaches and teammates. Having such lofty draft status and being tasked with playing the quarterback position brings a unique set of challenges. Fortunately, it seems like the Heisman Trophy winner out of LSU has the character to cope with the extreme pressure on his young shoulders.

The Commanders are embarking on an exciting new era of change. Daniels is tasked with spearheading this project as the team's new franchise player. He also needs plenty of support in terms of schematics and other position groups meeting their end of the bargain.

If these objectives are achieved, the Commanders should begin to make immediate improvements. This was a sentiment echoed by Ryan Fowler of The Bleacher Report, who named Daniels as Washington's most dangerous newcomer and tipped the signal-caller to lead his team on a surprising wildcard push in 2024 if everything clicks into place.

"The Washington Commanders spent the No. 2 overall pick on reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels, who should be their most talented signal-caller in over a decade. Daniels is an electric playmaker who can dissect defenses in a variety of ways. His surroundings in Washington should help him succeed early in his rookie campaign. The Commanders added help along the front five this offseason, signed running back Austin Ekeler as a complement to Brian Robinson Jr. and drafted wide receiver Luke McCaffrey to serve as their de facto WR3 behind Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. The Commanders will enter the fall as an unknown with so many new pieces. But with Daniels' acumen under center, don't be shocked if they're in contention for a wild-card spot come late December."

Ryan Fowler, Bleacher Report

These are lofty expectations to aim for. The Commanders had the chance to draft Daniels because they boasted one of the league's worst records in 2023. Although the roster alterations have been largely positive, their aspirations could still go either way during the first season with Dan Quinn leading the charge.

Daniels is going to go through testing times. C.J. Stroud was the exception to this rule last season. But in typical cases, first-year guys under center endure rollercoaster rookie years, so he must be ready to take the rough with the smooth.

Nobody is getting too carried away. Nor should they at this juncture.

Daniels was acquired to provide long-term stability to a position that became a frustrating carousel under Ron Rivera's leadership. Any short-term accomplishments will be a tremendous bonus for a franchise starved of legitimate success. But fans can relax safe in the knowledge general manager Adam Peters is planning for the future while also trying to generate early momentum in 2024.

If Daniels has enough to take the league by storm and the expected defensive growth also arrives, the Commanders will be in a prosperous position and right in the thick of things. Whether this results in an instant return to the postseason is another matter.