Draft QB Named ‘Leader’ to Replace Sam Howell for Commanders - Sport News

Draft QB Named ‘Leader’ to Replace Sam Howell for Commanders

The Washington Commanders will use the second-overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft on a franchise quarterback to replace Sam Howell, and it looks like LSU’s Jayden Daniels will be the choice.

UNC Football: Sam Howell Making History In the NFL

That’s the word from MMQB’s Albert Breer, who called Heisman Trophy winner Daniels “the leader in the clubhouse to be a Commander” during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston’s Areblla Early Edition (h/t Nick Goss of NBCS Boston).

Breer explained what he’s heard “after he started to ask around” about Daniels and the Commanders “does match up with what (Commanders offensive coordinator) Kliff Kingsbury has looked for in his quarterbacks over the years.”

Breer also believes Daniels may be ahead of fellow top-tier draft QBs Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Daniels is “arguably the most ready to play of the three (top-tier QBs) at the top of the draft because he’s played the most football. He played five years in college. I think right now, again, this could change in the next few weeks, I just think Jayden Daniels is the leader in the clubhouse to be the second overall pick.”

Howell started every game for the Commanders in 2023, but the new regime fronted by general manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn traded him to the Seattle Seahawks. Dealing Howell for third and fifth-round picks has cleared the decks for the Commanders to do what’s widely expected and select a marquee signal-caller in the opening round.

Daniels makes sense as the likely choice.

Jayden Daniels a Good Fit for Commanders

Letting Kliff Kingsbury run the offense leaves room for a mobile quarterback who can make plays with his legs and also boasts the arm strength to attack defenses vertically. It’s what Kyler Murray did, for the most part, on Kingbury’s watch with the Arizona Cardinals.

Daniels ticks both boxes. First, as a superior rushing threat who ran for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2023, including this unforgettable 85-yard scamper against Florida, when Daniels was clocked at 21.8 mph by Reel Analytics.

He was a running demon during his final season for the Tigers, but Daniels made even greater strides as a passer. Those strides led to 3,812 yards and 40 touchdowns through the air.

Of those scoring passes, 22 of them covered 20 yards or more, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Commanders need the kind of boost in their deep passing game Daniels would provide. Washington’s Howell-led air attack produced 48 passes of 20-plus yards all season and averaged a mere 6.6 yards per attempt.

Daniels has the transformative physical skills the Commanders have lacked at football’s most important position for too long. What he’d need more is better coaching than Howell received.

Commanders Failed Sam Howell

Throwing Howell in at the deep end gave the quarterback with just one pro start before last season few favors. He was asked to do too much by attempting 612 passes, while the Commanders ran the ball a league-low 359 times.

The lack of balance left Howell exposed behind a suspect offensive line that surrendered 65 sacks. Kingsbury’s predecessor Eric Bieniemy still called the same game he’d called for Super Bowl winner and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes with the Kansas City Chiefs, only for a virtual rookie like Howell.

An actual rookie like Daniels would need to be supported by a scheme designed to maximize his strengths. A playbook filled with pages containing the blueprints for easy reads, quick throws and moving pockets.

Add in the support of a running game made over by the addition of Austin Ekeler in free agency, along with possibly a draft RB compared to Gus Edwards, and the Commanders would have the ideal framework for Daniels.

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