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Raiders’ QB options in 2024 draft: Is LSU star a perfect match?

Updated April 9, 2024 - 7:51 am

A Heisman Trophy and gaudy college numbers don’t always equate to a lofty draft status.

Jayden Daniels is special, however.

The Louisiana State quarterback took his game to a new level this season. He made a believer out of NFL scouts and evaluators in the process.

Daniels’ numbers speak for themselves.

The fact he threw 40 touchdowns and only four interceptions as a senior is one thing. But doing that while running for 1,134 yards is mind-boggling.

There’s more to like as well. Daniels, 23, is a natural leader and an exceptional processor. He thrives between plays and in the huddle as much as he does when the ball is snapped. He blew NFL staffers away in meetings with his personality and football acumen.

It makes sense why he’s risen up boards since the end of the college season.

Here’s a closer look at Daniels as the Review-Journal continues to examine the Raiders’ quarterback options in April’s draft:

2023 stats

Played 12 games and completed 72.2 percent of his passes for 3,812 yards while throwing 40 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 1,134 yards and scored 10 rushing touchdowns.

Strengths

Daniels has five years of starting experience at two different schools in power conferences. He was at Arizona State for three seasons before completing his college career with two years at LSU.

Opponents have tried all sorts of different approaches in that time to slow him down.

Few have worked.

Daniels has improved each year. He’s learned to use his athleticism, but is still more than willing to stand in the pocket to make a play. That makes him even more dangerous when he uses his legs because opponents respect his arm.

Weaknesses

Daniels’ arm strength is a slight area of concern.

He doesn’t throw the best deep ball. There is also some question as to whether Daniels can throw outside the numbers with consistency at the NFL level.

His slight 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame could be an issue as well if he runs as much as he did in college. He’ll need to protect himself to stay healthy for a full season.

Why he fits the Raiders

It’s almost too perfect of a match.

Daniels would give the Raiders a franchise quarterback and be reunited with a coach he’s known since high school in the process. Antonio Pierce was Arizona State’s associate head coach two of Daniels’ three seasons there. Pierce recruited the quarterback to the school.

Pierce has made it clear he loves Daniels.

Why he doesn’t fit

The Raiders would likely have to move up from the 13th overall pick to select Daniels.

He is expected to go off the board fast, maybe as high as No. 2 to Washington.

The Raiders could still grab him. There’s a strong chance he’s their preference among the top prospects. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders get aggressive to bring Daniels to Las Vegas.

What they’re saying

“Daniels is a tall/lean quarterback with exceptional accuracy, decision making and speed. He is very poised and comfortable in the pocket. 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.” — Daniel Jeremiah, NFL media draft analyst

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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