Commanders Rookie QB Compared to Former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Jayden Daniels

Getty Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels.

The Washington Commanders may have lost the element of surprise thanks to some deft offseason moves and savvy marketing. Their rookie quarterback may have done the same thing on sheer talent and charisma.

Fox Sports’ Bucky Brooks put the Commanders on his list of “Five NFL Teams on the Rise” headed into the 2024 season based largely on the addition of rookie quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

Brooks also compared Daniels to Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, the 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

“The Commanders hope Jayden Daniels can jump-start a sagging franchise in need of star power at the quarterback spot,” Brooks wrote. “The Heisman Trophy winner steps into an offense loaded with dynamic weapons on the edges (Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson) and a complementary backfield that features a ‘banger’ (Brian Robinson) and change-of-pace back (Austin Ekeler) in the rotation.

“Though the offensive line is a huge question mark, Daniels’ athleticism and the Commanders’ Air Raid-esque playbook could mask the unit’s deficiencies at the point of attack.  If the offensive coordinator can keep his prized pupil upright and protected, the former LSU/Arizona State standout could follow a familiar blueprint that helped Kyler Murray win an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.”

Daniels, Murray Had Similar College Careers

Daniels and Murray had eerily similar college football careers.

Both players started their careers at other schools before transferring to where they had the most success — Daniels from Arizona State to LSU and Murray from Texas A&M to Oklahoma.

Both players won the Heisman Trophy in their final season of college football — Daniels in 2023 and Murray in 2018 — and had stunningly similar stats for their Heisman years.

In 2023, Daniels had 3,812 passing yards, 40 touchdowns and 4 interceptions to go with 1,134 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 12 games.

In 2018, Murray had 4,361 passing yards, 42 touchdowns and 7 interceptions to go with 1,001 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games.

Murray was selected No. 1 overall by the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft — five years later Daniels went No. 2.

Murray Had Personal Success as Rookie, Not Team

Murray started every game as a rookie in 2019 on the way to winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and his statistics provide a baseline for what Daniels might try to shoot for or exceed.

As a rookie, Murray threw for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while rushing for 544 yards and 4 touchdowns and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Murray also led the NFL in sacks taken (48) and the Cardinals struggled as a team, going 5-10-1.

Murray is one of four NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year winners to have a losing record as rookies along with Sam Bradford (2010), Cam Newton (2011) and Justin Herbert (2020). Murray is also a player who has seen his career to an early crossroads — after back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in 2020 and 2021 he’s missed 15 games over the last two seasons due to injury.

The odds of Daniels winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2024 are currently at +900, according to Vegas Insider — the third-best odds behind Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Williams (+210) and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (+600).

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