QB Jayden Daniels Addresses Raiders Interest

As the countdown to the draft enters its final days, Jayden Daniels remains the subject of considerable speculation at the top of the board. The Heisman-winning quarterback is in position to be selected as early as second overall by the Commanders, but links to the Raiders have been made throughout the offseason.

Daniels began his college career at Arizona State, where he played under Antonio Pierce. The latter is now in place as the Raiders’ head coach, and Las Vegas has frequently been named as a team to watch regarding a move up the order in general and one targeting Daniels in particular. Recent reports indicated the LSU product is interested in a reunion with Pierce, something he spoke publicly about.

I don’t know how they’re gonna pull it off,” Daniels said during an appearance on the Nightcap Show with Shannon Sharpe and Chad Johnson when asked about landing with the Raiders. “But I mean that’s above my pay grade… A.P. just as a human being, he’s the right coach for that team. You know, just him and the intensity that he brings. He challenges people. He was challenging me at 18.

“So I know if I was to go to the Raiders — I’m not saying I’m gonna go there or I wanna go there, I wanna go wherever my name is called — if I was to go to the Raiders, I know as soon as I step foot, he’s gonna challenge me.”

Multiple signs have pointed to Daniels remaining the favorite to be Washington’s choice, and the QB-needy Commanders are not expected to trade out of the No. 2 slot. Even if the Raiders (currently positioned to pick 13th) pull off a costly move up the board, the team could be consigned to drafting another passer capable of competing for the starting role. If a swap making Daniels available was deemed to not be a feasible option, Vegas could look at other Day 1 prospects and rely on Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew under center.

Pierce and general manager Tom Telesco may not be in lockstep with respect to the team’s quarterback strategy entering their first year working together. The latter could favor a Minshew-O’Connell pairing for 2024, something which would eliminate the possibility of a reunion with Daniels from Pierce’s perspective. It will be interesting to see how aggressive Vegas gets in the coming days regarding trade negotiations for an aggressive QB pursuit.

The Raiders’ draft plans are a key talking point, as is the case for teams like the Giants, Vikings and Broncos. Daniels will remain connected to Vegas in particular over the coming days, especially given his praise of Pierce before learning his fate. A different destination remains likely, and how the Raiders react in the event Daniels is drafted by the Commanders will be a key factor in shaping the first-round landscape.

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