Commanders Rookie QB Has ‘It Factor’ In First Practice

The Washington Commanders have bet their future on LSU quarterback and No. 2 overall pick Jayden Daniels, and one routine practice into his career he’s already gaining followers among his teammates and drawing curious fans out to see the downtrodden franchise.

Daniels was the talk of the first day of Commanders’ rookie minicamp in Ashburn, Virginia on May 10, according to ESPN’s John Keim.

“Daniels’ presence led to more interest than usual in the Commanders’ first rookie workout as approximately 55 media members attended — at least 20 more than usual, according to a team spokesman,” Keim wrote. “He smiled often and during breaks could be seen laughing with coaches or teammates. He lofted accurate deep passes down the middle of the field against no defenders and was accurate during a seven-on-seven drill, with one pass off-target that resulted in a one-handed grab by undrafted free agent Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint.”

Daniels made a quick impression on two of his fellow 2024 draft picks right off the bat — second-round tight end Ben Sinnott and third-round wide receiver Luke McCaffrey.

“(Daniels) has the ‘It’ factor,” Sinnott told Keim.

Jayden Daniels Deals With Minor Controversy

Daniels had to deal with a minor controversy after it came out that he and LSU teammate Malik Nabers made a $10,000 cash bet on which one of them would win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Nabers, a wide receiver, was the No. 6 overall pick by the New York Giants.

By Friday, both players said the bet was off.

“We were uneducated on the gambling policy in the NFL,” Daniels told ESPN. “We learned about it last night. Me and him had a conversation and we canceled the bet. Obviously we don’t want to get in trouble, so we’re focused on being the best players for our respective teams.”

Nabers addressed the bet at Giants’ rookie minicamp.

“I’m educated now that I got here about sports betting and gambling,” Nabers said. “So we’re calling the bet off. There is no bet now. It was just another brother pushing another brother to try to get to success. That is all it was.”

Next Step For Daniels: Bringing in the Vets

Daniels’ next step after rookie minicamp, which lasts from May 10-12, will be to begin working with Commanders’ veterans during OTAs — which will include a lot of new faces like himself.

As of May 10, the Commanders were bringing back just 57 percent of the 2023 roster. According to Over the Cap, that’s the lowest out of all 32 NFL teams.

The Commanders have started eight different quarterbacks in the last four seasons. No quarterback has started more than three seasons in a row for the franchise since two-time Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl XXIV Most Valuable Player Mark Rypien from 1989 to 1993.

Rypien earned NFL All-Pro honors and made the Pro Bowl twice in that stretch.

“(Daniels) is a stud,” McCaffrey told ESPN. “I know he’s one heck of a quarterback and a lot of fun to play with from a personality standpoint. I’ve had a blast in these 24 hours with him … he’s just fun to be around; he’s good energy.”

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