NFL Beast

The Best Damn NFL News Site Ever!

Patriots draft profile: Jayden Daniels’ electrifying talent may be worthy of top pick

6 min read

#NFLBeast #NFL #NFLTwitter #NFLUpdate #NFLNews #NFLBlogs

#NewEngland #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #AFC #PatsPulpit

By: Brian Hines

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Daniels won the Heisman Trophy last season.

The New England Patriots are currently set to pick No. 3 in the 2024 NFL Draft, and may use that selection to pick their potential next franchise quarterback.

Among the options that may be available is LSU’s Jayden Daniels, who is fresh off a Heisman-winning season with the Tigers. The Patriots will get a first-hand look at the dual threat QB on Wednesday as Eliot Wolf, Jerod Mayo, and Co. will be in Baton Rouge for his Pro Day — which they will follow with an in-person meeting.

As for what the quarterback can potentially provide on the field, let’s take a closer look at Daniels to find out.

Hard facts

Name: Jayden Daniels

Position: Quarterback

School: LSU (via transfer of Arizona State)

Opening day age: 23 (12/18/2000)

Measurements: N/A


Career statistics: 55 games | 3,418 offensive snaps | 953-of-1,438 (66.3 percent), 12,750 passing yards, 89 passing TDs, 20 interceptions | 617 rushing attempts, 3,307 rushing yards, 34 rushing TDs

Accolades: Heisman Memorial Trophy Winner (2023), Davey O’Brien Award Winner (2023), AP Player of the Year (2023), First-Team All-American (2023), SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2023), First-Team All-SEC (2023)

Daniels began his collegiate career at Arizona State where he became the program’s first ever true freshman starting quarterback after winning the job in training camp. Appearing in 12 games, Daniels led the team to a victory in the Sun Bowl as he was an honorable mention for the Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year.

The next two years were a challenge for the quarterback. The shortened 2020 season led to Daniels starting all four games for the Sun Devils and going 2-2. In 2021 — after Arizona State was under investigation due to multiple recruiting violations that reportedly featured Daniels’ mother allegedly paying to give flights to recruits — the quarterback’s passing production dipped as he threw just 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in an 8-5 season.

Daniels then transferred to LSU following the season, which infamously sparked viral videos of his former Sun Devils’ teammates trashing his locker.

In his first year in Baton Rouge, Daniels led the Tigers to a 10-4 record as he set career highs in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns. His game then took off the following season as he had his best season as a passer completing over 70 percent of his passes for a career-high 3,812 yards and 40 touchdowns. Combine that with his 1,134 rushing yards and 10 more scores, Daniels was awarded with the Heisman Trophy as he firmly drove his stock into the top of NFL Draft boards.

Draft profile

Expected round: 1 (Top 10) | Consensus big board: No. 3 | Patriots meeting: Scouting Combine

Strengths: Daniels’ biggest superpower is his legs. During his two years in the SEC, Daniels complied over 2,000 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground with his incredible straight-line speed. He is an electric ball carrier who will be one of the fastest quarterbacks in the NFL.

While his ability on the ground is his top trait, Daniels showed much improvement the past two seasons as a passer. Much of that has to do with his mechanics which features a very consistent throwing motion and upper body. When he’s clean in the pocket, Daniels has the accuracy to put the ball where he needs to be all over the field.

Daniels does have above-average arm strength which allows him to attack all three levels of the field. His best throw last season was the slot fade as he established himself as perhaps the best deep ball thrower in this year’s draft.

Weaknesses: While Daniels’ legs are his superpower, they can hurt him as well. Often times Daniels is too quick to use his rushing ability and passes up open throws in the process. In the clip below, Daniels has his receiver open in a tight window over the middle of the field. However, he quickly drops his eyes in a muddy pocket and looks for a rushing lane which leads nowhere.

There are many instances of Daniels’ on film simply passing up open receivers — specifically over the middle of the field — to use his legs, which is one of the biggest concerns with the fifth-year player who has 55 games of experience under his belt. Daniels largely didn’t throw over the middle of the field either as a whole, but that was largely due to having Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. along the outside. Perhaps that changes in a different offense at the next level, but how it looks from a consistency standpoint is anyone’s guess.

Daniels is also quick to run on the first sign of pressure. Throughout his collegiate career just under 50 percent of his pressured drop backs resulted in a scramble — which ranked in the bottom three of all qualified quarterbacks (196). He also doesn’t look to throw once he’s outside the pocket and doesn’t avoid sacks as his 24.5 percent pressure-to-sack rate tops this entire class — a trait that consistently carries over to the next level for prospects.

The last worry with Daniels is his frame. While he’s proven his toughness as a player, Daniels’ aggressiveness led to him taking far too many unnecessary hits with the ball in hands. He did not weigh in at the Combine but played last season listed at 210 pounds.

He’ll have to find the balance at the next level of still using his super power but being smarter with the football to avoid unnecessary contact (opting for more of the simple throws being an ideal part of the solution).

Patriots preview

What would be his role? Drafted No. 3 overall, Daniels would enter Foxboro as the team’s future at the quarterback position. The future could also be now as he arrives with five years and 55 games of collegiate experience. Daniels should be able to start Week 1 unless New England prefers sitting him down for a short period of time to begin the year.

What is his growth potential? How much Daniels has left to improve is an interesting debate. On one hand, the quarterback has improved significantly the past two years in college — perhaps leaving the door open for another step in the right direction. On the other hand, the 23-year old is a five-year collegiate player who may have already hit his ceiling. While it’s a high ceiling, league history tends to side with the latter.

Does he have positional versatility? While Daniels’ has a versatile skillset with his dual-threat ability, a quarterback is a quarterback.

Why the Patriots? New England’s biggest area of need remains the quarterback position, where they still lack the future of their franchise. The reigning Heisman winner would provide New England an enticing prospect with an electric skillset at the position.

Why not the Patriots? The Patriots may not even have a chance to draft Daniels as the Washington Commanders could select him No. 2 overall. Additionally, the concerns with Daniels’ game could scare teams off from using a high first-round pick on him. As Jerod Mayo explained Monday, the team must be “convicted” that the player will be able to be the face of the organization.

One-sentence verdict: There are concerns with Daniels’ game at the next level, but his electrifying talent could make him a worthy gamble with the No. 3 overall pick.

What do you think about Jayden Daniels as a potential Patriots target? Too good to pass up? Or just not worth it given the issues elsewhere? Please head down to the comment section to share your thoughts.

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit