Jayden Daniels’ Draft Profile | LSU, QB Scouting Report

After erupting for a Heisman-winning 2023 campaign, what does the 2024 NFL Draft scouting report of Jayden Daniels look like? Can he be QB1?

Before the 2023 season, barely anyone talked about Jayden Daniels. Now, he’s a Heisman Trophy winner and a likely top-ten pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. What was at the root of Daniels’ rise in 2023, and what can he bring to an NFL franchise?

Jayden Daniels’ Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 210
  • Position: Quarterback
  • School: LSU
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior

It wasn’t that Daniels came out of nowhere in 2019. People knew who he was as far back as 2018, when he was a high four-star recruit out of San Bernadino, California, with offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, and Oregon.

Rather, what made Daniels’ 2023 season so special is what he rebounded from.

In 2019, Daniels was a 6’3″, 175-pound true freshman at Arizona State who showed promise in his first year with 2,943 yards, 17 touchdowns, and just two picks.

Ironically, the same year Daniels introduced himself to college football, another LSU quarterback was experiencing a revolutionary career resurgence and NFL Draft rise: Joe Burrow. Daniels made the same Burrow leap at LSU four years later, but his path wasn’t linear.

A COVID-19-shortened 2020 season interrupted Daniels’ flow out of 2019, and in 2021, the entire offense regressed, with Daniels passing for 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 301 attempts. After that season, Daniels transferred to LSU for a fresh start.

Daniels’ move to LSU was met with some criticism, but the Tigers turned out to be the best thing for Daniels — and vice versa. Daniels got some of his 2019 magic back in 2022, helping the Tigers win the SEC West. And in 2023, he reached ultimate stardom.

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In a campaign that won him the Heisman Trophy, Daniels completed 236 of 327 attempts (72.2%) for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. Meanwhile, on the ground, he rushed for 1,134 yards and 10 additional scores.

With little anticipation, Daniels ended up producing one of the most explosive dual-sided QB seasons in college football history. And not only did he forge a legacy for himself, but he also solidified his stock as a true first-round 2024 NFL Draft prospect.

Daniels’ Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Turbocharged athlete with rare speed, lateral agility, bend, and evasive twitch.
  • Platinum-grade big-play generator with his running ability and deep passing chops.
  • Has a quick, compact, and efficient release and can flick the ball with little wind-up.
  • Has an above-average arm and can generate good velocity up intermediate seams.
  • Has enough arm talent to layer velocity and touch on vertical routes and slot fades.
  • Able to progress through full-field reads and process leverage quickly in succession.
  • Knows how to use eyes to drag single-high safeties out of crossing lanes and capitalize.
  • Has shown he can anticipate in-breaking routes and lead WRs into the open field with pace.
  • Instinctively IDs speed and leverage mismatches deep, with touch to take advantage.
  • Flashes incredible placement on loft and back-shoulder throws, throwing to WR leverage.
  • Twitched-up pocket operator who recalibrates on reads and slides to open windows.
  • Generally has great feel for when to stand in the pocket and when to evade outside.
  • Doesn’t get scared off his spot and can deliver passes with rushers bearing down.
  • Crisp rhythm passer who can reliably operate the quick-game and RPO looks.
  • True competitor with steely toughness off-script and poise against free rushers.

Weaknesses

  • Is listed at just 210 pounds and could measure in even lighter than that.
  • Has a very slender and narrow frame that could invite long-term durability concerns.
  • Arm strength, while solid, is visibly non-elite, limiting top-end velocity.
  • Non-elite velocity can sometimes allow DBs time to close ground on comebacks.
  • Doesn’t have the high-end arm elasticity to modulate his release and keep pace.
  • Hyperactive base sometimes leaves him in the lurch on release, sapping at base load.
  • Can get held up as a processor over the middle, inducing hesitation and delayed reads.
  • Has room to be more consistent as an anticipatory drive thrower working tight windows.
  • Can improve at adapting when post-snap coverages conflict with pre-snap diagnosis.
  • Situational precision, while elite at its peak, can be volatile on RAC and breaker throws.
  • Frame translates to a dire lack of play strength working through tackles as a creator.
  • Can be reckless as a creator and needs to be better about preserving himself at contact.
  • Sometimes tries to do too much on scrambles, diverting infield and boxing himself in.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Daniels grades out as a top-15 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and a legitimate franchise QB option in the class. He’s my QB3 behind Drake Maye and Caleb Williams, and there’s a slight gap between them — but Daniels is still worth the investment as a franchise-leading force under center.

Daniels’ Heisman-winning 2023 campaign was a microcosm of his big-play ability. He’s an incredible pure rushing threat with his speed, burst, agility, and bend at his size, and he’s also a deep ball merchant with impressive leverage ID skills and deadly downfield touch.


But within the confines of traditional QB expectations, Daniels brings plenty to like as well. He’s an instinctive pocket navigator with an active base and sharp pressure senses, an able processor who can progress through reads, and a quality decision-maker who doesn’t often put the ball in harm’s way.

Daniels, on Day 1, should be a dynamic presence as a passer, a runner, and an RPO conductor at the NFL level. But there are a few factors that create a gap between him and the top QB prospects.

Daniels’ arm, while above average, is visibly non-elite — both with its velocity generation and off-platform layering.

Meanwhile, on the operational side, Daniels still has room to grow. His anticipation, particularly over the middle of the field, can be hot and cold, and his twitched-up athleticism can yield a lack of mechanical control. At over 23 years old, it’s fair to wonder if these issues can be remedied.

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Having said all this, there’s more than enough in Daniels’ game to fuel confidence in his projection. Particularly in a multifaceted spread-oriented offense, where he’s able to use space created pre-snap as a runner and a thrower, Daniels can be a quality NFL starter, and he has impact starter upside at his developmental peak.

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