Washington Commanders Draft: ‘Nobody Has More Explosive Plays’ Than QB Jayden Daniels


Washington Commanders fans, media, and national speculators who try to predict what will happen in this year’s NFL Draft are down to less than a week to state their cases for why the team should select either North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye or LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

For The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, Maye is his No. 2 quarterback behind USC’s Caleb Williams who is fully expected to go No. 1 to the Chicago Bears, but he understands the hype around the Commanders going with Daniels, his No. 3 ranked quarterback.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) runs the ball against the Auburn Tigers defense.

“I can understand why they would lean Jayden Daniels because especially with (head coach) Dan Quinn, obviously being a defensive coach, he brings a different perspective to this,” Brugler said about the upcoming decision Washington has to make, on the Locked On Commanders podcast. “Who does he not want to have to game plan for and really figure out how to stop? With Jayden Daniels, you have to really attack him in a certain way because he can beat you with his arm and his legs a little bit differently than a Drake Maye can. And the goal would be to find a quarterback that’s going to create explosive plays. Nobody had more explosive plays this past year than Jayden Daniels.”

Brugler went on to say that the LSU quarterback was involved in 90 explosive plays of 20 yards or more in the 2023 college football season, and while data on those types of plays is restricted to only that last handful of seasons the draft expert said he’d doubt if any other quarterback had that kind of impact in that area of the game.

In fact, Brugler says, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow led the Tigers to a National Championship before he was drafted No. 1 overall and had 87 of those types of plays in 15 games. Daniels hit his number in just 12.

Of course, many of Daniels’ explosives came with his legs while Burrow surely did most of his damage with his arm. And that’s the knock many Maye supporters or preferrers use to push Daniels down to No. 3 where he’d likely land with either the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, or Las Vegas Raiders.

But Brugler pointed out some interesting passing production numbers that combat the claim just a bit.

“On throws of 20 plus yards, he had a 22 to zero touchdown interception ratio this year (and completed) 67 percent on throws of 20 plus yards,” Brugler said. “He can win deep. He can win with his legs.”

Of course, if Daniels is behind Maye there’s a reason, and Brugler says that reason is that the LSU product by way of Arizona State drops his eyes too often and is more likely to run than he is to find a second option to throw to.

Therein lies the concern for many who view his running and play style, combined with a slender frame – though he did come in stockier when he officially weighed in this offseason – as a sign he may suffer the same fate Robert Griffin III once did. The last time the Commanders spent such a high pick on a quarterback.

But no draft prospect is free from any concerns whatsoever, and each has his own ‘what if’ scenario that if it comes true will torpedo the hopes and aspirations of those drafting him.

Shortly after the interview, Brugler put out a full mock draft and selected Daniels to lead Washington into the coach Quinn era.

To hear the entire interview with Brugler head to Locked On Commanders anywhere you listen to podcasts or on YouTube.

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