Jayden Daniels Latest: Commanders, Kingsbury, Harris, Raiders, Visit, Weight

Jayden Daniels remains the favorite to be chosen second overall. The Commanders hold that pick, and they hosted the 2023 Heisman winner — at the same time as a few other quarterbacks — just before the deadline for “30” visits to be conducted. While the LSU and Arizona State product does not have much of a say in where he goes, rumors still point to him preferring another team.

Daniels would “love” to see the Raiders draft him, two GMs told the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora. During an interview with ESPN colleague Pat McAfee, Adam Schefter noted Daniels has had interest in playing elsewhere from the outset of the pre-draft process. Considering his past with Raiders HC Antonio Pierce and the AFC West team not doing a good job of making it a secret it would want to reunite the two, it is unsurprising Daniels would be more interested in playing in Las Vegas than Washington.

[RELATED: How Will Raiders Proceed At QB In Draft?]

In place since the 1930s, the draft system obviously does not cater to players’ wishes. The Raiders are believed to have asked OC candidates about working with Daniels, but that came months ago. As of this week, a Raiders move up from No. 13 into Daniels territory — quite possibly as high as No. 2 — was viewed as impossible. It is also not known if GM Tom Telesco feels as strongly as Pierce does about trading up for a QB, adding more intrigue to a pre-draft process that has featured little known beyond the Bears’ likely Caleb Williams pick.

New Washington OC Kliff Kingsbury is believed to favor Daniels, La Canfora adds, who impressed more as a runner than Kyler Murray did in college. Daniels is coming off an 1,143-yard rushing season, and his improvement as a passer (40 TDs, four INTs last season) at LSU — while targeting the likes of Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas — has rocketed the slender prospect up the board. On the slender subject, however, Daniels’ weight has come up frequently during the draft run-up.

Daniels played at 185 during the 2021 season at Arizona State, a scout told NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. He weighed in at 210 pounds this offseason, after having bulked up some following his transfer. Another scout told The Athletic’s Dan Pompei (subscription required) that Daniels was at 181 with the Sun Devils and played in the 190s at LSU — before ballooning to 210 this offseason.

This issue did not limit the talented QB at LSU, and some NFL coaches view Daniels as a better prospect than even Williams. But Daniels playing south of 200 before adding offseason weight calls into question how big he will be during his rookie season. Considering his playing style — one NFC coordinator told Pelissero that Daniels takes hits like Anthony Richardson, who is 244 pounds — this not an insignificant concern for teams ahead of the draft.

Pivoting back to the Washington side here, Daniels’ camp did not expect (via Schefter) the QB’s visit to come at the same time Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix Jr.┬ámet with the team. Teams generally do not gather QB prospects as a group for “30” visits, staggering them to gain better looks at passers. Considering Washington holds the No. 2 overall pick and is on the cusp of drafting a passer in the top 10 for the first time since trading up for Robert Griffin III in 2012, the team’s group gathering was a bit surprising.

The Commanders’ new regime took shape this offseason, with Josh Harris hiring Adam Peters to run football operations and Dan Quinn to coach the team. In the new owner’s first offseason, however, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio indicates the Dan Snyder successor has been more involved in the pre-draft process than expected.

Owner involvement — as Washington fans know well — is not too uncommon in the NFL, though it is usually a concern when ownership overreaches as football personnel prepare for major decisions. Harris is believed to have made his stance known about trading both Montez Sweat and Chase Young at last year’s deadline, when the coaching staff did not want to move Sweat. It will obviously be interesting to see how much Harris — who has extensive experience in an ownership role due to his work with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils — impacts how the Commanders proceed next week.

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