Not only did LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels become the nation’s top collegiate football player with the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.
The fifth-year senior is also rapidly climbing the 2024 NFL Draft boards.
Veteran draft analyst Mike Detillier of New Orleans, author of the M&D Draft Report, believes that an underachieving NFL franchise, seeking immediate help at quarterback, could turn to Daniels.
The 2024 NFL Draft is scheduled April 25-27 in Detroit.
“I think he’ll be one of the top three picks,” Detillier told WDSU of New Orleans. “(USC’s) Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, (North Carolina’s) Drake Maye in some order. Those three will go 1-2-3. He’s (Daniels) made a great run up the charts in the draft boards, and I think he’ll be one of the top three picks.”
Daniels won three national awards going into Saturday’s announcement for the Heisman. He picked up the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award on Thursday and won both the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year on Friday.
Daniels became LSU’s third winner of the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, joining Billy Cannon and Joe Burrow. Like Burrow, the top overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, Daniels is expected to follow a wave of momentum from a second-day NFL selection in the summer to becoming among the first picks in next April’s draft.
“He could potentially be the top overall pick,” Detillier said of Daniels. “I still think Caleb Williams will still be the top guy, but I would not put it out of the realm of possibility that Jayden Daniels becomes the top overall pick. He’ll be one of the top three. Quarterbacks take precedent. Everybody’s looking for them.”
Daniels was the consummate example of a dual-threat quarterback over the duration of his five-year career which spans a three-year stay at Arizona State. He became the first player in FBS history to pass for more than 12,000 yards and run for more than 3,000 yards.
During the 2023 season Daniels, who led LSU to a 9-3 record and berth in the Jan. 1 ReliaQuest Bowl, led the nation in total yards (412.2) per game, passing touchdowns (40), total TDs (50) and rushing yards by a quarterback (1,134).
Daniels’ total yards per game average topped more than 85 FBS teams and his total touchdowns exceed that of 91-plus teams. His 10.71 yards per play leads the nation along with his 11.7 yards per pass attempt and his 208.01 passer efficiency rating in the nest in FBS history.
He completed 236 of 327 passes for 3,812 yards with 40 TDs and four interceptions to go along with 1,134 rushing yards on 135 carries (8.4 per-carry average) and 10 TDs.
Detillier recalled a conversation with Daniels at the Manning Passing Academy that provided insight into the quarterback’s objectives for the ’23 season.
“He talked about having to work at his medium and deep part of the game,” Detillier said. “Look at how good he has become in that area. He had the short game down as a junior. It’s the medium, long-range game. He’s fantastic football player … the best football player in the country.