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Dynasty Outlook


April 2

Jayden Daniels is our QB2 for rookie drafts and checks in as QB11 in our overall dynasty ranks. There are some noticeable deficiencies in his game, but his combination of rushing and deep passing give Daniels an incredibly high ceiling. The scouts believe his floor may be high as well, which is comforting given some of the lower-end statistical comps. The QB landing spots vary greatly in terms of their desirability, but Daniels’ ability to both run and pass should be attractive no matter where he winds up.


Profile Summary


Daniels is an intriguing QB prospect, with a lot of context surrounding his career. He seemed to be on track to be one of the best QBs in the country after his true freshman season, but COVID set him back greatly. His final season was so good that it may outweigh his advanced age. Daniels needs to take less sacks, but he is a proficient runner capable of making big plays. He also needs to continue to get more comfortable throwing in the middle of the field, which he started doing last year.




Age (as of 12/31/23) — 23.0

Experience — 5 years

Height — 75.625 inches

Weight — 210 pounds

Hand — 9.375 inches


By the Numbers



Daniels started at Arizona State as the top dual-threat QB prospect in the country. He was impressive as a true freshman, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt with a 17:2 TD:INT ratio. He also added 515 yards as a runner. This certainly put Daniels on a trajectory you would expect given his prospect status.

Then COVID hit, and it drastically altered Daniels’ trajectory. Arizona State played just four games in 2020. Over the course of COVID, Daniels lost both of his grandparents to the illness. He was dealing with grief, an athletic department that was being investigated by the NCAA, and a new offense that did not play to his strengths. Daniels is not like other five-year QB prospects.

That could be some excuse-making, but when you look at how Daniels finished after (grad) transferring to LSU, it makes sense that he had to do some rebuilding inside as well as out. Daniels had the most prolific passing season ever in his Heisman-winning 2023 campaign. His 208 passing efficiency rating was just the fourth season since 2000 over 200, and the third from a Power 5 institution. Here are all the QBs in the top 25 from the Power 5:

Mac Jones
Joe Burrow
Tua Tagovailoa
Kyler Murray
Baker Mayfield (x2)
Russell Wilson
Jalen Hurts
Robert Griffin
Bo Nix
C.J. Stroud
Jameis Winston
Cam Newton
Hendon Hooker
Marcus Mariota

The list is a verifiable who’s who of top picks and/or successful NFL players. And pass efficiency rating doesn’t have anything to do with the 1,250 yards and 10 TDs he added on the ground. Daniels’ final season was one of the most prolific we have ever seen.

That is not to say that Daniels doesn’t have his warts. Much like Caleb Williams, Daniels has a very high pressure-to-sack rate. It was 20.2% in 2023, and 24.5% for his career. He also has shown some aversion to throwing in the middle of the field for his career:

It is worth noting that he improved dramatically in his final season. A lot of how you view Daniels will likely come down to if you buy his final season as realization of his true form, or a productive year with stud WRs that mask his flaws.


What the Scouts are Saying


Lance Zierlein likes Daniels in a spread-based passing offense:

With five seasons of starting experience under his belt, Daniels possesses a rare blend of playmaking talent and command from the pocket. He’s tall but slender, so there will be concerns about durability, considering how often he ran in college. However, teams must also recognize that he has no issues sitting in the pocket and working through progressions as a platform thrower with good mechanics and footwork. Daniels possesses the football intelligence to get himself protected and take care of the football with quality decision-making. He’s an accurate passer over the first two levels and throws with anticipation to slice and dice zone coverages. He had noticeable issues putting deep throws on faster receivers in stride, though. He lacks ideal size and arm talent, but he’s much more capable as a runner and passer than most of the quarterbacks who have moved on to the next level lately. Daniels is positioned to become a very good NFL starter in a spread-based passing attack.


Daniel Jeremiah believes Daniels has both a high floor and ceiling:

Daniels is a tall/lean quarterback with exceptional accuracy, decision-making, and speed. He is very poised and comfortable in the pocket. He likes to use a rhythm bounce at the top of his drop before settling his feet into the ground and smoothly transferring his weight to throw. He has an extremely quick release and beautiful throwing motion. He throws with anticipation, touch, and accuracy. He flashes the ability to manipulate safeties with his eyes to create separation downfield. When he gets pressured, he doesn’t hesitate to explode out of the pocket. He has elite suddenness. He is more of a linear/speed runner than a break-down/make-you-miss type of ball carrier. He needs to do a better job of protecting himself, though, as he took some huge hits in the games I studied. Overall, Daniels took a massive leap in 2023 and now offers both a high floor and ceiling.


Dane Brugler mentions a comparison to Lamar Jackson:

When evaluating the quarterback position, NFL teams focus on the ability to create explosive plays. And Daniels accounted for a remarkable 90 plays of 20+ yards in 2023.

As a passer, Daniels has balanced feet and uncoils with a rapid release to layer throws to all three levels, doing his best work on deep throws (slot fades, posts, etc.). With his poise and athletic instincts, he can buy time, access different platforms, or create explosive runs. He must do a better job, however, preserving his lean body instead of trying to prove how tough he is as a finisher.

It isn’t meant to be an apples-to-apples comparison, but Daniels forces opponents to defend him like Lamar Jackson.


Draft Projection


Daniels has an expected draft position of 2.7 on Grinding the Mocks, which sources mock drafts around the interwebs. Mock Draft Database is a similar service that has Daniels third overall. Jeremiah had Daniels third in his most recent mock, and Brugler’s had him third as well. Daniels is unlikely to escape the top five of this month’s draft.


Comparable Players


I use Principal Component Analysis to evaluate prospects. In simplest terms, this kind of analysis looks at relevant data points to find the closest comparable players in past drafts. I prefer this to a model output — which yields only a single result — as it can display the possible range of outcomes for a prospect.

Note that the analysis itself isn’t telling us how good a player is; it is simply returning the most similar players. It is then up to us to layer in context and past results to see how good we think this player may be.



The comps for Daniels are exciting, as Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray are three of the best QBs in the NFL. Robert Griffin had an amazing rookie season, and may have had a great career had it not been for injury. The ceiling is incredibly tantalizing.

Of course, the comps are not without busts either. Marcus Mariota and Vince Young had their moments, but they were unable to sustain success as starters. Ditto for Mitch Trubisky. His bottom three comps were also busts, but those likely do not apply to this situation given draft capital and other issues.


Further Research