Round 1 Pick 22: Jayden Daniels, Quarterback, Louisiana State
If Oregon’s Bo Nix defeats Washington on Friday in Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Championship, he'll not only punch a playoff ticket but also the Heisman trophy. While he absolutely deserves the award, the best player in college football in 2023 is LSU’s Jayden Daniels. Daniels has put together one of the most jaw-dropping statistical seasons we've ever seen in college football, let alone the SEC.
The 6'4" and 210 lbs senior transfer from Arizona State to LSU has lit up scoreboards under Brian Kelly like few others ever had. Through 12 games, Daniels is completing 72.2 percent of his passes for 3,812 yards and a ridiculous 40:4 TD:INT ratio. While those video game numbers are wild, his rushing is equally eye-popping. Daniels has rushed 135 times for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 12 games, Daniels has put up numbers that are in the same realm as Joe Burrow, who put together the greatest season by a college quarterback ever.
In many years, Daniels would go in the top 10, or may even threaten to be the top overall pick, but this is not a unique year. In a draft class loaded with 1st round picks, including Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, who both are considered generational talents, guys like Daniels, Nix, and Penix may slip a little more than usual.
Given Daniel’s record this season (9-3, lost all three biggest games), his slight frame (210 lbs is probably generous), and previous struggles at ASU, he's not a perfect prospect, but I believe there's a ceiling with Daniels that is generational.
The best pro comp I can put together in the early stages of scouting is a slightly less explosive, but much more polished passing Lamar Jackson. There's some major variance on potential here, but if Seattle can pair Daniels with the right offensive coordinator (sorry Waldron), we could see a unique offensive explosion that hasn't been seen in Seattle for over a decade.