QB Jayden Daniels Shouts-Out Raiders Coach Antonio Pierce in Heisman Speech

antonio pierce

Getty Las Vegas Raiders interim HC Antonio Pierce.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels put a bow on an incredible breakout season on Saturday night, December 9. The 22-year-old from San Bernardino, California won the 2023 Heisman Trophy after scoring 50 total touchdowns for the Tigers.

During his acceptance speech, he gave shout-outs to several notable names across football, including Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce.

“To Herm Edwards, Marvin Lewis, and Antonio Pierce, thank you for your leadership and for entrusting me with the keys to the ASU program,” Daniels said during the December 9 broadcast.

Prior to transferring to LSU in 2022, Daniels got his start at Arizona State in 2019 when Edwards was the head coach with Lewis and Pierce on the defensive coaching staff. Though Pierce wouldn’t have coached Daniels’ side of the ball, he was involved in recruiting at the program.

With the Raiders knocking on the door of a top-10 pick in April’s 2024 NFL draft, this could be a relationship to watch in the coming weeks.

Could the Las Vegas Raiders Draft Jayden Daniels?

The Raiders have to launch a full head coaching search this offseason due to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, but Pierce has a real chance to secure the full-time job after going 2-2 with rookie QB Aidan O’Connell since taking over on October 31.

If he does, the team will likely look to find a franchise quarterback of the future. And Daniels, who turns 23 years old on December 18, is certainly a player to keep a close eye on.

He has been flying up NFL draft boards during his record-breaking 2023 season and could be an early first-round selection.

The Raiders currently hold the 11th overall pick heading into Week 14, which makes it unlikely they’ll be in a position to add USC’s Caleb Williams and UNC’s Drake Maye, both projected top-3 picks in April.

Daniels may end up being the third quarterback taken off the board in the 2024 NFL draft, behind Williams and Maye. The Raiders would make a lot of sense for him if Pierce is the head coach going forward.

Daniels could help modernize the quarterback position in Las Vegas with his athleticism. His lack of arm strength and inconsistent accuracy are potential big-league concerns, but he’s a big-time playmaker.

Surrounding Daniels with playmakers like Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs and Jakobi Meyers early in his career could go a long way in having him develop into an impact quarterback quickly.

If the Raiders want a quarterback in the draft next year and Pierce is still the head coach, expect Daniels to be heavily linked to Las Vegas throughout the predraft process.

Antonio Pierce Seeking Guidance

Speaking of Antonio Pierce, he finally had his first bye week since taking over as head coach. Instead of using that time for vacation, he sought coaching help during Week 13.

According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Pierce has been reaching out to a number of veteran head coaches for guidance this past week.

“As Antonio Pierce’s on-the-job training as Raiders interim head coach continues, he’s tapping into the experience of several men who have been there before, Pelissero wrote in a December 10 column.

“Sources say former NFL head coaches Tom Coughlin, Marvin Lewis and Adam Gase were all at Raiders headquarters this past week, sitting in on meetings and providing input on all aspects of the football operation amid preparations for the Raiders’ home game Sunday against the Vikings.”