June 25, 2024

After another offseason providing the Falcons with an abundance of draft picks and significant cap space for free agency, they are well-positioned to choose the most talented player available in this year’s NFL Draft. Nevertheless, there’s a potential scenario where this approach might change, specifically if they identify a quarterback they favor during the evaluation process.

When evaluating picks based on a prospect’s raw grades, Daniels, despite his impressive statistics and Heisman Trophy, might be seen as a bit of a reach in this context. However, he topped all college quarterbacks in expected points added (EPA) per dropback and on scrambles. In 2023, there was noticeable improvement in his decision-making, and he demonstrated enhanced progressions, even beyond deep throws to Brian Thomas Jr. or Nabers.

While it’s acknowledged that he may need a season to address certain areas, investing in Daniels could prove to be a valuable and worthwhile move for Atlanta.

I’ve reiterated it countless times, and I likely will continue to do so leading up to the NFL Draft: the optimal scenario for the Falcons this offseason would involve securing one of the top three quarterbacks in the class—Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels—without the need to trade up.

However, the feasibility of this scenario remains uncertain. The belief is strong that the first three picks in the draft will be quarterbacks, potentially leaving the Falcons with alternatives such as JJ McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr, and Bo Nix. While these options may not be ideal for the Falcons at the eighth pick, some opinions, like Lee’s, suggest that even considering Daniels at eight might be a bit of a stretch.

Daniels is coming off a remarkable season at LSU, reminiscent of Joe Burrow’s historic performance a few years earlier. He claimed the Heisman Trophy, accumulating over 1,000 rushing yards and nearly 4,000 passing yards with an impressive 40 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

Daniels’ athleticism and playmaking ability with his feet naturally invite comparisons to Lamar Jackson, yet he surpasses Jackson as a collegiate-level passer. Widely regarded as having the best deep ball in this year’s draft class, Daniels showcases exceptional accuracy when attacking the field vertically. This talent was evident throughout his season at LSU, but what stands out most about him as a prospect is his remarkable progression from his junior to senior year.

Just a year ago, Daniels might have been seen as a Day 2 or 3 draft pick, but his rapid improvement as a passer speaks volumes about his dedication and work ethic. While he possesses impressive physical gifts that rival any quarterback entering the league, it’s his grasp of the mental aspects of the game that sets him apart and suggests he can excel at the next level. It may be beneficial for Daniels to have a year to learn before stepping into action in the NFL, a path that the Falcons, with their flexibility, can afford to take with him.

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