Commanders’ Jayden Daniels Likely To Open Season As Starting QB?

The Commanders naturally expected QB Jayden Daniels, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, to become their starting signal-caller sooner rather than later. While Washington acquired veteran Marcus Mariota in free agency as a potential bridge option, Daniels seemingly has a firm grasp on the top spot on the depth chart.

As Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano writes, Daniels appears “entrenched” as the Commanders’ starting quaterback. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner took most of the first-team reps during last week’s mandatory minicamp, and Vacchiano says there has been no indication that will change when training camp opens next month.

New GM Adam Peters zeroed in on Daniels as soon as he began to watch the rookie’s college game tape, and Daniels has lived up to the hype during the Commanders’ offseason work. Per Vacchiano, Daniels had an “outstanding spring,” and both his passing ability and running ability were on full display.

Daniels’ work ethic was one of the attributes that sold Peters on the former LSU passer, and head coach Dan Quinn and Pro Bowl wideout Terry McLaurin both cited that work ethic when discussing Daniels with the media.

“Not only does the physical traits show up, its the work ethic,” Quinn said. “I think that through the years and through the season, you guys will feel that and see that.”

“He’s going to be a really good player because of the time and the work that he puts in,” McLaurin added. “I don’t think I’ve had a young quarterback that really has come in and, within the first week, he’s like, ‘Hey, can we (work on) this route?’ or, ‘Let me get this rep after practice?’ It’s exciting for me.”

To be clear, Quinn said no decisions have been made about who the starting quarterback will be (via ESPN’s John Keim). Vacchiano, though, believes that regardless of what Quinn says publicly, the job is Daniels’ to lose, and the team does not expect him to lose it. Indeed, as Quinn himself said (via Keim), “he’s further along than you probably should be. … He really has a very firm handle on the things that we’re doing, but he also has the humility of a young player … knowing he has a lot to prove.”

Daniels, who recently put pen to paper on his four-year, $37.75MM rookie contract, said, “I ain’t a star quarterback yet. … I still got a long way to go to be where I want to be. (I) try to perfect it, try to be a perfectionist as much as possible.”

Apparently, he will get plenty of opportunity to perfect his craft with the first-team offense when training camp rolls around, and at this point, it would be a surprise if he is not under center on Week 1.

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