Leading analyst makes compelling Jayden Daniels case for Commanders

Could Jayden Daniels be the guy at No. 2 overall?

Jayden Daniels
Jayden Daniels / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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Leading draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. made a compelling case for Jayden Daniels to become the Washington Commanders pick at No. 2 overall.

There is significant momentum building around the Chicago Bears trading Justin Fields and taking Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. That leaves the Washington Commanders facing a difficult choice between Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, or potentially even trading down for a king's ransom.

Opinions are split down the middle. Many believe Maye should be the pick thanks to his physical attributes and similar playing style to Justin Herbert. Others refuse to ignore the exceptional rise to prominence of Daniels en route to the Heisman Trophy in 2023 and the game-changing magic he conjures off-script.

A lot more discourse and heated discussions will occur between now and when the big night arrives. The Commanders reportedly met with six quarterbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine with majority partner Josh Harris present. Adam Peters is scouting the character almost as much as the tape before making a franchise-altering decision. This is the smart way to approach matters.

Commanders draft Jayden Daniels in Mel Kiper Jr.'s mock

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN made a compelling case for the Commanders to select Daniels in his latest mock draft. While the experienced analyst acknowledged it was close, he highlighted the LSU product's dynamic traits and fit within Kliff Kingsbury's offensive system as reasons why this was the route taken.

"I'm sticking with [Jayden] Daniels here over Drake Maye (North Carolina), though it's tight. Several NFL teams have Maye over Daniels on their boards two months out from the start of Round 1. I love Daniels' fit with new Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who will run a wide-open offense and put his quarterback in the best position to succeed. Washington already has two really good (and young) wideouts in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, so Daniels and [Kliff] Kingsbury would be able to start quickly. Daniels made a massive leap during his time at LSU, developing into a top-tier passer and runner. I can't wait to watch him at the next level."

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

Daniels is ascending and boasts the dual-threat capabilities normally associated with modern-day NFL quarterbacks. He's a magician under center with escapability that often beggars belief. He can make things happen on the move and has enough arm strength to make throws confidently at all three levels of the field.

The signal-caller does have some mechanical issues on occasion. Daniels also needs to sharpen up the timing on his throws and keep his eyes downfield more consistently when pressure arrives. That said, there is an incredible amount of potential for Washington's enhanced coaching staff to mold into a genuine franchise-caliber presence under center.

Maye has plenty of qualities, too. But Daniels boasts X-factor gifts that cannot be taught. He gets fans off their seats and isn't afraid to take risks. He's nothing short of electrifying and improving all the time. If the Commanders went in this direction, fans should also feel an added sense of confidence with smarter football people making the decisions.

Nothing is off the table right now, nor should it be. There will be many twists and turns to come. Moves elsewhere and free agency might also provide some clues. Even if all signs currently point to the Commanders taking a signal-caller with their first-round selection.

Daniels is high on their list. Whether those in power pull the trigger is another matter.

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