Commanders ‘Finally Have a Franchise QB’ With Daniels

Jayden Daniels

Getty LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels.

It’s not a stretch to say that Washington Commanders rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels is already one of the NFL’s best athletes.

Daniels, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft, is the type of player that just doesn’t come around very often — a dual-threat quarterback who comes into the league as a polished passer and runner. With 55 college starts he also has the type of experience usually lacking for someone in his position.

PFF’s Dalton Wasserman pointed to Daniels as the reason for optimism for the Commanders in 2024 as the team tries to put together its first winning season since 2016 with a totally retooled roster.

“Washington selected LSU’s Jayden Daniels with the second overall pick in this year’s draft. He’s the face of a new regime that has overhauled its roster with hopes of competing sooner rather than later,” Wasserman wrote. “Daniels enters the NFL as one of the best athletes at the quarterback position. He led all FBS quarterbacks in overall grade and rushing yards last season while finishing second in passing grade. He also holds the Power Five record with a career 1.6% turnover-worthy play rate (minimum of 600 dropbacks). The Commanders finally have a franchise quarterback.”

As the No. 2 overall pick, Daniels received a fully guaranteed 4-year, $37.7 million contract with a fifth-year option for 2028.

Daniels Represents Beginning of New Era in D.C.

In 2023, Sam Howell became the first quarterback to start every game in a single season for the Commanders since Kirk Cousins in 2017. Howell, who was the 13th quarterback to start a game for Washington in the last six seasons, led the Commanders to a 4-13 record and led the league in interceptions (21) and sacks taken (65).

While the Commanders have yet to officially name Daniels as the starting quarterback, it seems like the decision to bring in veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota on a 1-year, $6 million contract seems to indicate that Daniels will be given every chance to lead.

“I think the situation work, we’ve been working really hard on, and so, some of the timing and mechanics are different from college in a two-minute setting than it is in the NFL,” Washington head coach Dan Quinn said on June 5. “So to see, every day, him going through those mechanics out of two minute … at the end of the half working down in a clock situation, where it’s still moving on the first down and that type of urgency. Seeing him being comfortable in that environment, I would say that’s one example of many that shows the work that he’s put in.”

Commanders Have Offensive Weapons, Old and New

Should Daniels become the starter right away, he’ll have at least two new starters on the offensive line in Pro Bowl center Tyler Biadasz and three-time Super Bowl champion guard Nick Allegretti.

The Commanders have returning talent at the skill positions with wide receiver Terry McLaurin and up-and-coming running back Brian Robinson Jr. and another threat in the backfield with free-agent running back Austin Ekeler.

Washington also has other rookies who could help Daniels on offense — in particular second-round pick Ben Sinnott at tight end and third-round pick Luke McCaffrey at wide receiver.

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