Will Jayden Daniels start right away in the NFL? Here’s how the Commanders’ roster looks

Former LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is expected to compete for the starting quarterback job right away in Washington. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

Former LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels was the second player taken in the 2024 NFL Draft and with the high draft pick comes high expectations.

Daniels is expected to come in and compete for the starting quarterback job for the Washington Commanders right away. David Harrison, the host of the “Locked on Commanders” podcast, said that Washington head coach Dan Quinn is unlikely to name Daniels the starter anytime soon though.

“Really everybody is just talking about taking it one step at a time,” Harrison said. “That’s kind of how the Commanders have been all offseason long.”

Despite Quinn not wanting to name Daniels the starter, its more than likely that he will win the starting quarterback competition of veteran Marcus Mariota. Mariota signed a one-year deal worth $6 million this offseason, but he hasn’t been a consistent starter since he left the Tennessee Titans in 2018 outside of his one season as the Atlanta Falcons starter in 2022.

He was benched by the Falcons in December 2022 and spent last season as the backup for the Eagles.

Sam Howell, the Commanders’ starter for much of last season, was traded to Seattle in March. Backups Jake Fromm and Jeff Driskel aren’t expected to compete for the job.

“The expectation for everybody else is that [Daniels] will be the starter as long as he comes in prepared for training camp and there’s no reason to think that he won’t,” Harrison said. “I think it should be pretty solidified by the end of preseason that he’s the guy.”

Daniels will have some solid weapons on offense to help him adjust to the NFL. Terry McLaurin has been one of the better receivers in the NFL with over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his last four seasons.

“He’s got some pretty good receivers out there,” Harrison said. “Terry McLaurin is one of the better receivers in the NFL. I don’t know if I’d say he’s top-10 in the league yet, but he’s probably top-15. Jahan Dotson, former first round draft pick from a couple years ago. Didn’t have the greatest sophomore season but he’s obviously looking to bounce back from that.”

Dotson hasn’t gotten off to the start he wanted to in the league, but he has shown flashes of the potential that made him the No. 11 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Daniels will also throw to veteran tight end Zach Ertz who signed with the Commanders this offseason.

Ertz has been in the league since 2013 and was one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league during his time with the Eagles. He’s slowed down in recent seasons, but he should provide a veteran presence for the offense.

The offensive line remains a major question mark for the Commanders though. They released former starting left tackle Charles Leno back in March.

“The question mark is the offensive line, specifically the left tackle position,” Harrison said. “Cornelius Lucas is penciled in as the starter. He’s never been a consistent starter, so I do expect rookie Luke Coleman, who they got in the third round, to come challenge for that job.”

Lucas has spent most of his career as a backup and has only came in as a spot starter so far in his NFL career. Coleman was the No. 67 pick in the draft and GM Adam Peters said he will play tackle in the NFL. Daniels’ fellow rookie might be the key to protecting his blindside this season.

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Will Nickel

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