NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 04: Quarterback Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers reacts after a touchdown against the Florida State Seminoles at Caesars Superdome on September 04, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 04: Quarterback Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers reacts after a touchdown against the Florida State Seminoles at Caesars Superdome on September 04, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Former NFL Scout Would Take Jayden Daniels Over Trey Lance

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It’s the truth.

Jayden Daniels looks better than Trey Lance did on his college game film. Plus, he plays at the FBS level of competition versus Lance, who played in the FCS.

He shows a quicker release than Lance, more awareness in the pocket, better and more consistent ball placement at the intermediate and deep route levels, and he is a far better runner in the open field.

I have now studied Daniels in seven games (2021-2022). In my previous scouting report I looked at Daniels’ ASU film last season against BYU, Stanford, Utah and Washington and walked away giving him a late second – early third round grade.

After transferring this year from ASU to LSU, Daniels showed against FSU that he hasn’t missed a beat.

He picked up right where he left off as a true dual-threat quarterback (QB) who continues to show he can hurt a defense with his arm and with his legs.

Daniels is everything the San Francisco 49ers thought Lance would be.

Addressing the two elephants in the room

There were two concerns – his weight and his touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2021.

At ASU, Daniels checked in at 190 pounds, but he has beefed up to 200 pounds now.

Last season, he threw 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

This season to date, it appears he has cleaned that up by throwing five touchdowns and zero interceptions through the first two games of the season.

The big thing I didn’t like with his ASU game film this time around was his tendency to throw dangerous-looking passes when he was under heavy pressure while rolling out.

I am not seeing that so far at LSU, but it’s early. I will definitely be checking back in on his game film as this season progresses to see if he has cleaned that up, before putting a final grade on him.

Daniels looks like a solid NFL back-up QB

Hall of Fame Coach Joe Gibbs said it best – – the backup QB is the second most important position on the roster.

If you don’t believe that, just ask the Dallas Cowboys.

A number of teams in the NFL have left themselves extremely vulnerable at the very-important No. 2 spot behind the starter. All you have to do is look through the league’s depth charts to see the voids.

Daniels could nicely fill one of those roles.

He can come in and provide a real spark, much like he is currently doing at LSU, and he gives a team a legitimate chance of winning given his talent level.

He additionally is showing increased efficiency as a passer, which is backed by the numbers. His completion percentage increased from 58.3% in 2020 to 65.4% in 2021. Through the first two games in 2022, that number has jumped to 78.3%.

#5 Jayden Daniels 6-foot-3, 200 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: Second-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First Round Mock Big Board: QB8

Projected by 0% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of September 15, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 ASU game film reviewed: UCLA and Washington State (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

2022 LSU game film reviewed: FSU

2021 stats: 197/301 (65.4%) 2,380 (7.9 avg.) 10 TD, 10 INT.

2022 stats (to date): 36/46 (78.3%), 346 (7.5 avg.), 5 TD, 0 INT.

NFL comparable: Randall Cunningham

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Athletic dual-threat with a strong arm and decent downfield ball placement. Brings energy and tempo to an offense. Operates mostly in shotgun formation. Excellent ball handling and play-action skills. Has a good feel for the pass rush and he is not the easiest to sack. Slides around and can evade the pass rush. Able to beat blitzes. Has quick enough release. Effortlessly whips it downfield with good velocity. Throws nice-looking slants. Best throwing ranges are intermediate and deep. Showed inconsistent ball placement short. Ball can sail high on him at times at the short to intermediate levels. Can be forced into making bad throws under pressure rolling out and he is trying to do too much. Favors throwing middle to his right side of the field, especially along the sidelines. Tough running threat with good playing speed, who can make a defender miss in the open field. Prospect with upside.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. What does his touchdown-to-interception ratio look like?
  2. Is he continuing to make dangerous passes under pressure?
  3. How does his short-range ball placement look?
  4. Is he throwing more to his left?

Daniels is one to keep an eye on.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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