Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Jayden Daniels intrigued by working with Commanders offensive staff

04262024 Jayden Daniels EF062

The Washington Commanders never wavered from their decision to take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, despite at least one offer that general manager Adam Peters called "solid" in an interview on the BIG100.

Even though they did their due diligence on the other quarterback prospects, things unfolded how they thought they would.

"We knew it was Jayden for a while," Peters said, "and it would've taken a lot for it to not be Jayden."

Now, it's time to start developing him.

Though the Commanders haven't said the exact words, they drafted Daniels with the hope that he'll be a franchise quarterback to stop the turnstile that has existed at the position for decades. Several of their offseason decisions, whether it was building the coaching staff or signing veteran free agents, were made with a young quarterback in mind so that they wouldn't be overwhelmed during their rookie seasons.

Daniels has noticed those decisions, and he's ready to get to work.

"It is very intriguing," Daniels said of the Commanders' offensive coaching staff. "I'm excited [with] how they built the quarterback room and offensive side of the ball. They set it up for success."

Take a look from the war room to the draft stage in Detroit and the touch down in Ashburn as the Washington Commanders take Jayden Daniels with the No. 2 overall pick. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

The Commanders went for a complete overhaul of the coaching staff once Dan Quinn was named the head coach, keeping only three assistants from the previous regime. Of coaches hired on the offensive side of the ball, four have specialized experience in developing quarterbacks: offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, assistant head coach/pass game coordinator Brian Johnson, quarterbacks coach Tavita Pritchard and assistant quarterbacks coach David Blough.

If the pre-draft evaluations are to be believed, Daniels already has a head start on his on-field maturation process because of how hard he worked leading up to his final college season. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah praised Daniels' poise and comfort in the pocket, showing proficiency in "anticipation, touch and accuracy."

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in Daniels' combine profile that the quarterback "possesses a rare blend of playmaking talent and command from the pocket."

The tools are certainly there, but Kingsbury, who's experience with bringing along Patrick Mahomes at the college level and Kyer Murray in the NFL is well-documented, will be charged with building an offense that highlights Daniels' traits. Kingsbury had "a lot of input in the process," Peters said, attending all the pro days. Like the rest of Washington's coaches, Kingsbury was a "very, very, very big fan of Jayden."

Peters said Daniels could take a defense's soul, and he's confident Kingsbury can get him to do that at the professional level.

"What's great about Kliff is he can really mold the offense around anyone," Peters said. "He's gonna build the offense around Jayden. And he's worked with a lot of athletic quarterbacks, so he knows how to do that and there's some terminology carry over ... They've discussed a little bit of that, so they're already vibing and it's gonna be a really great marriage with him and really all of our offensive coaches."

Kingsbury has the resume to back up Peters' faith in him, too. In the first year he worked with Murray, the former No. 1 overall pick threw for a career-high 3,971 passing yards and 26 touchdowns, earned Pro Bowl honors and was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Daniels, who described him as a "football junkie," took note of that success.

"For so quite some time, he had Kyler in the MVP conversation," Daniels said after he was drafted. So I was excited to be able to just chop it up and talk ball with him."

Now that he's on the roster, Daniels is the most important player for the Commanders and their long-term success as he learns how to be a pro. Like other highly drafted signal-callers in the past, Daniels will face pressure to be the franchise's long sought answer at the position. Some quarterbacks can handle that pressure; others can't, and it can ruin their development.

Daniels said he doesn't feel any pressure, and the Commanders are determined to make sure he experiences as little as possible as a rookie. On top of surrounding him with quarterback-friendly coaches, they added veteran Marcus Mariota to the room and signed established leaders like Zach Ertz and Bobby Wagner.

Mariota has already said that he's willing to do whatever necessary to help a young quarterback develop. And while Daniels will be expected to have some sort of leadership role as the incumbent starter, not all of that will be placed on him.

"That's a cool thing because it allows Jayden just to absolutely focus on him getting himself absolutely ready to get rocking," Quinn said.

There's a reason why quarterbacks are so difficult to evaluate for NFL teams. There are never any guarantees for how they will develop, and several factors can influence that process, both from a positive and negative perspective.

The Commanders are making sure that Daniels will start, and finish, on the right path, and he appreciates the effort.

"Just [to] have different voices, guys that played at the highest level, coach at the highest level, they've seen it," Daniels said. "So I'm excited to learn from them."

Related Content