Jayden Daniels Expresses Preferred NFL Destination

NFL Draft Speculations Intensify as Selection Day Approaches

by Nouman Rasool
Jayden Daniels Expresses Preferred NFL Destination
© Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jayden Daniels, the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner, continues to be a hot topic as the NFL draft approaches, with the Washington Commanders poised to potentially select him second overall. Despite his strong performance at LSU and previous tenure at Arizona State, speculation persists that Daniels would prefer to join another team, specifically the Las Vegas Raiders.

Reports suggest that Daniels has expressed a distinct preference for the Raiders, possibly due to his prior connection with Raiders Head Coach Antonio Pierce. According to The Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora, Daniels’ inclination towards Las Vegas has been a poorly kept secret, especially given his history with Pierce.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter also hinted at Daniels' preference during a conversation with Pat McAfee, noting the quarterback's interest in alternatives since the start of the predraft process.

Draft System Constraints

The NFL draft system, a fixture since the 1930s, traditionally doesn't accommodate personal preferences, placing athletes where teams deem fit based on draft order.

Despite Daniels' hopes, a leap by the Raiders from their 13th pick into the top selections remains unlikely, adding a layer of complexity to his draft narrative. Washington’s new Offensive Coordinator, Kliff Kingsbury, reportedly sees Daniels as a prime candidate, favoring him potentially more than Kyler Murray due to Daniels' superior rushing abilities.

Daniels not only excelled as a runner, amassing 1,143 yards in his last season at LSU but also improved markedly as a passer, throwing 40 touchdowns to only four interceptions. However, Daniels' physical stature has also been a point of discussion.

Initially playing at 185 pounds at Arizona State, he bulked up to 210 pounds this offseason, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. This change has raised questions about his durability, especially given his playing style, which involves taking significant hits—a concern echoed by one NFC coordinator comparing him to heavier quarterback Anthony Richardson.

This interest from Washington in Daniels was highlighted when he was grouped with other top quarterback prospects like Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, and Michael Penix Jr. for a “30” visit, a strategy not commonly used by teams, which typically prefer individual evaluations to gauge potential draft picks more accurately.

As the draft nears, the intrigue surrounding where Daniels will end up continues to build, making him one of the most closely watched prospects of this year's class. His potential fit with the Commanders or an unexpected move by the Raiders keeps fans and analysts on edge as they speculate on the decisions that will shape the future of these NFL franchises.