Commanders Urged to Draft Passer ‘Similar to Kliff Kingsbury’s Prior’ QBs

Kliff Kingsbury and Lincoln Riley

Getty The Washington Commanders' "best-case" draft scenario is to select a passer "similar to Kliff Kingsbury's prior" QBs.

Finding their quarterback of the future is the priority for the Washington Commanders in the 2024 NFL draft. Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are the top names, but selecting Jayden Daniels represents Washington’s “best-case scenario,” according to Dalton Wasserman of Pro Football Focus, who thinks the Heisman Trophy winner best fits coordinator Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.

Wasserman noted how “Daniels’ play style is similar to Kliff Kingsbury’s prior quarterbacks — Johnny Manziel, Kyler Murray, and Caleb Williams, for example.”

That’s a compelling argument to use the second-overall pick on Daniels, ahead of Maye or Williams, even though Wasserman acknowledged, “either one would be a fine choice.”

Drafting a dual-threat signal-caller like Daniels second overall would be eerily reminiscent of when the franchise traded the farm to pick Robert Griffin III in 2012. Things could work out differently this time, provided Kingsbury was able to build a more structured and sustainable offense around Daniels’ versatility.

Jayden Daniels an Intriguing Option for Commanders

There’s no mistaking Daniels’ ability for manufacturing big plays, both through the air and on the ground. He threw for 40 touchdowns and rushed for 1,134 yards during his final season at LSU.

His tendency to run can raise doubts about his competence reading defenses and making quick throws. Yet, Ted Nguyen of The Athletic sees Daniels being able to learn on the fly and pass first when needed.

Correcting mistakes and taking what coverage gives him can help Daniels made a quick adjustment to life in the NFL. Especially if Kingsbury loads the playbook with plenty of QB-friendly concepts.

Daniels will trust his legs more than most, with Nate Tice of The Athletic happy to highlight a rare slide from the Tigers’ QB1.

A run-first mentality might make the Commanders wary. Running early and often took its toll on Griffin physically, even while he was playing well enough to be named NFL Offensive Rookie of The Year.

Staying on the move was a default setting for Griffin in an option-heavy offense geared to one side of his game. The tradeoff was RGIII never developed sufficiently at identifying pressure, deciphering coverage and making quick, accurate throws.

Those issues, combined with injuries, wrecked Griffin’s time in Washington. Kingsbury could avoid a similar outcome with Daniels by doing more to protect the quarterback.

Kliff Kingsbury the Key Figure for Commanders’ QB Plan

The pressure is on Kingsbury to get it right with another top draft prospect at football’s most important position. He produced only generally positive results as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals after the franchise selected Kyler Murray first overall in 2019.

Murray was named OROY and went to a pair of Pro Bowls on Kingsbury’s watch. Injuries derailed Murray’s progress, along with increasing animosity between quarterback and coach.

Further tensions boiled over during a game against the New Orleans Saints in 2022, per images captured by NFL on ESPN.

Kingsbury can’t afford to have this volatile a relationship with the Commanders’ next QB1. Avoiding similar tensions will be easier if Kingsbury doesn’t ask a rookie to do too much, but still strikes a balance between playing to his core attributes and not diluting the playbook.

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