Commanders Tipped to Draft ‘Overthought’ QB Amid Jayden Daniels Rumors - Sport News

Commanders Tipped to Draft ‘Overthought’ QB Amid Jayden Daniels Rumors

There’s a growing sentiment the Washington Commanders will select Jayden Daniels with the second pick in the 2024 NFL draft, but at least one person thinks Drake Maye will be the choice.

Maye’s “becoming this year’s overthought quarterback prospect, akin to C.J. Stroud last year, S2 test notwithstanding, and will end up as the No. 2 overall pick when all is said and done,” according to Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus.

Daniels has long looked like the leading candidate for the Commanders because of how his dual-threat skills suit offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. Yet, Spielberger believes any “hype about Daniels fitting stylistically with Kliff Kingsbury, who coached the Arizona Cardinals in the same city as Arizona State for Daniels’ three seasons there, while true, similarly applies to Maye.”

Those are two strong arguments for the Commanders staying put at No. 2 and sending Maye’s name to the podium.

Drake Maye Suits Commanders

This isn’t the first time Spielberger has mentioned Maye’s schematic suitability for Kingsbury’s system. Spielberger wrote on March 25 how “in 2021 and 2022, Maye’s first two college seasons, his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach was current Wisconsin Badgers offensive coordinator Phil Longo, a disciple of the Air Raid offense.”

Kingsbury is known for his fondness for an “Air-Raid” scheme. Even though Spielberger doubts Kingsbury will adopt the system wholesale in Washington, the new play-caller is expected to “incorporate a lot of five-wide alignments and let Drake Maye run and gun with a talented wide receiver duo to continue building around.”

Maye has the arm strength and gunslinger-like tendencies to handle that assignment. The 21-year-old threw for 62 touchdowns across his final two seasons at North Carolina, including 2024 in 2023.

Maye’s ability to attack defenses vertically translated into the “Highest Passing Grade on 20+ Yard Throws Since 2022,” per PFF College.

Kingsbury would have no trouble designing plays for Maye to stretch the field. Especially when his arm talent is combined with the speed and agility of gifted wide receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson.

Throwing on the move is also a key concept in Kingsbury’s offense. He’s worked with dynamic, mobile quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray and USC’s Caleb Williams.

Maye belongs in the same bracket thanks to 1,209 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground for the Tar Heels. While he’s a rushing threat in his own right, Maye is more effective extending plays to still gash defenses through the air when on the move.

That’s what Maye did for this clutch, fourth-down throw against Duke, highlighted by Nick Penticoff of Fantasy Football Astronauts.

Maye has all of the attributes Kingsbury and the Commanders need to transform their offense, but so does Daniels.

Jayden Daniels Also Makes Sense for Commanders

There’s a reason Daniels has become the Commanders’ go-to pick in the eyes of many. The Heisman Trophy winner is a running and throwing sensation, whose natural athleticism and awesome statistics will tempt every team within range of the top signal-callers in this class.

Just how can you ignore 3,812 yards and 40 touchdown passes, to go with 1,134 rushing yards and 10 scores, in 2023? One reason might be a concern about Daniels’ arm strength and accuracy when throwing deep.

Those concerns were spelled out by Greg Cosell for The 33rd Team. He described Daniels’ “Arm strength on the average to slightly above scale. His deep balls had a tendency to lose energy on the back end.” Cosell also pointed out how “Ball location must become more consistently precise. He’s not scattershot, but he missed throws that had to be made.”

Some of those issues were evident during a generally positive pro day for Daniels. There were “A couple overthrows for Daniels, according to staff writer Evan Lazar, “Maybe trying to get those MPHs up for scouts.”

Ultimately, the Commanders will have to choose which development project they prefer. Daniels is raw, but multi-faceted, while Maye has some iffy mechanics, but he also owns the kind of arm that makes a franchise passer.

Fortunately, the Commanders need a quarterback and can feel comfortable taking either.

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