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Minicamp notebook | McLaurin sees rare blend of positive traits in Daniels


Terry McLaurin has worked with more quarterbacks than most during his time with the Washington Commanders. Some have lasted longer than others, but most have come with the hope that they would be ones to stop the carousel.

The Commanders may have the signal-caller who can accomplish that in No. 2 pick Jayden Daniels, and McLaurin is already impressed with the rookie.

"He came in really prepared," McLaurin said after Tuesday's minicamp practice. "I feel like when he was getting [starting] reps or whether he's working with the twos, he does a good job of getting the most out of the reps that he needs to accomplish."

Daniels came to the Commanders with an impressive reputation as a quarterback who was already polished in terms of his study and preparation. Although Daniels has not been named the starter yet, all reports indicate that he has approached each day as if he is preparing to take on that role. He is one of, if not the first player in the building every day, beating out veterans like Nick Allegretti and Jonathan Allen, and staying late so he will be ready to be the leader of the offense, whenever that is.

Daniels' approach has earned praise from his teammates, with players like Olamide Zaccheaus saying that Daniels handles himself like a veteran. McLaurin can back up those claims, based on how he and the rookie have worked together.

"I don't think I've had a young quarterback that really has come in and within the first week be like, 'Hey, can we get this rep?' or 'Can we get this rep after practice?'" McLaurin said. "It's exciting for me, because that opens the door ... There's an open door of communication, and he's not afraid to get that work in."

That sort of openness from a quarterback that young is rare.

"He knows who he is, but he's also not afraid to say when he's wrong," McLaurin said.

Daniels pairs those study with physical talents that McLaurin lauded after practice. It didn't take long for McLaurin to realize that Daniels has a good feel for anticipating where his receivers will be open in the middle of the field. Not only can he make the throws -- McLaurin said he had to tell his fellow receivers to get their heads around when Daniels throws to crossing routes -- but he also knows how to throw passes in ways that receivers can get yards after the catch.

Daniels also has "amazing" touch on deep passes, McLaurin said.

"I love getting extra reps after practice with him with just catching the top end of the deep ball. That's big for me. I get to track the ball over my shoulder, and it's big for him to get used to dropping the ball in the bucket."

Daniels still has a long way to go in his NFL career. It's a good sign that he's looking impressive in OTAs, but he has yet to face a live NFL pass rush in full pads. He still needs to prove himself, both as a leader and overall player.

McLaurin doesn't foresee Daniels having a problem with that.

"He's humble, but he's confident in his ability," McLaurin said. "He's played at the highest level. He's played against really good competition, and he knows that he can make all the throws. He's not putting the cart before the horse. He's literally taking this thing day-by-day."

Let's look at more observations from Tuesday's practice.

-- Daniels has not been named the starter yet, but he is starting to get reps with the first group during 11-on-11 drills. Daniels was up first during team periods and had some positive moments working against the starting defense. On one play, Daniels rolled out to his right and fired a deep shot to Dyami Brown, who had beaten Emmanuel Forbes Jr. in coverage. Granted, the play would likely have been blown dead because of a sack, but it was still good to see Daniels avoid traffic to make a play.

-- Speaking of Daniels' abilities, we saw the quarterback take off on some designed runs today, and while he isn't going to be tackled in practice, the talent he has with his legs is obvious whenever he carries the ball.

-- On to some offensive line updates. Head coach Dan Quinn said things at left tackle are going to be fluid for a while, and there was another change to the lineup. Cornelius Lucas was the starting left tackle for most of the 11-on-11 drills today, a position that Lucas said he wants to compete for in his new contract with the team. It's difficult to judge how he did with little to no contact this time of year, but Lucas is the most experienced left tackle on the roster.

-- Davion Davis made the catch of the day near the start of team drills, catching a sideline pass from Marcu Mariota before rolling out of bounds near the left sideline.

-- The Commanders ran a two-minute drill today, and Daniels looked more comfortable running the offense in that scenario than he has in recent weeks. He completed passes to Jahan Dotson, Zaccheaus and Brown before spiking the ball with two seconds left to give the offense a shot at a field goal. One sign of growth from Daniels came on his third pass. Rather than force a ball to Austin Ekeler, who was available on a screen, Daniels saw that Ekeler was covered and threw the ball into the dirt. In a similar situation last week, Daniels did try to force the throw, which led to a batted pass which may have been ruled a fumble.

-- Finally, we had two interceptions today. Jeremy Chinn was the first to get a turnover on a tipped ball from Daniels, taking it the other way towards the end zone. Christian Holmes ended the day with the second pick, hauling in another tipped ball after Mitchell Tinsley failed to bring in the pass.

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