Jayden Daniels’ Draft Stock ‘On The Rise’ at NFL Combine, Former LSU QB Could End Up Being No. 1 Overall Pick

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) has emerged as a frontrunner for Saturday's Heisman Trophy. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels continues to rise up draft boards and some analysts say he could be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.

Daniels opted out of the drills at the NFL combine, but his draft stock has never been higher. USC quarterback Caleb Williams has long been the favorite to go No. 1 overall, but some analysts say Daniels might be a better option.

Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky said that Daniels is a better overall passer than Williams and should be drafted ahead of him. Orlovsky compared Daniels and Williams to CJ Stroud and Bryce Young in last year’s draft.

“I want to build this criteria, what do you think is transferable to the NFL?” Orlovsky said. “No. 1, who has the best ball placement versus man coverage? When you watch the tape, what guy sees man coverage and throws it the best versus tight, that’s Jayden Daniels.”

Orlovsky also said that Daniels is calmer in the pocket than Williams. Daniels had more yards and touchdowns than and fewer sacks and interceptions than Williams last season on his way to winning the Heisman trophy.

“When you watch the young man throw, the throwing motion is CJ Stroud-like,” Orlovsky said. “It’s repeatable, it’s consistent. Some of the throws he makes versus tight coverage, the other two, Caleb and Drake Maye, they just don’t make.”

OutKick.com reported that two NFL personnel said that they would prefer Daniels over Williams as well. A general manager for a team that’s picking outside the top 10 and has “no dog in the fight” reportedly said that Daniels is a better option.

“And Jayden Daniels, in my opinion, is better from the pocket than Caleb Williams,” the general manger said. “Don’t get me wrong, Williams has some Patrick Mahomes qualities to him outside the pocket. He makes some unholy throws. But he seems to like doing that more than staying in there and playing pitch and catch, which an NFL quarterback has to do consistently to move the chains.”

Despite all the debate over who could or should go No. 1 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, Daniels says he’s not concerned with where he’s selected.

“I just want to go to the best situation, if that’s the first pick, if that’s the 32nd pick,” Daniels said. “I’m just blessed overall just to be here. No matter where I hear my name called, I’ll be happy.”

Daniels will go through drills at LSU’s Pro Day on March 27. The NFL Draft will start on April 25 at 7 p.m. with the Bears picking first and the Commanders picking second.

“Whatever situation God puts me in, whoever calls my name, that’s the best situation for me, and I plan on making the most of it,” Daniels said.

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