We are still a long way away from the 2024 NFL draft, and so much will change in the upcoming months. No one has skyrocketed up draft boards more this season than LSU's star quarterback, Jayden Daniels. He was the best player in all of college football, and he proved that he belongs in the discussion as a first round pick.
But could he actually be the first overall pick in the draft? Is there any path for him to surpass Caleb Williams or Drake Maye to be the first quarterback selected? Well, let's look at how that could happen.
Caleb Williams is still the betting favorite to go first in the draft, but he has had some bumps in the road over the last few months. To start, Williams didn't have his best season this year for the Trojans. USC went 7-5 this year and fell way short of expectations. Many thought that they would be competing for the national championship before the season started. While not all of this was Williams's fault, it has led some to question why a player of his status couldn't lead his team to more wins. After a stellar first year with USC, the expectations were that Williams would be even better in his second year and repeat as the Heisman winner. None of which happened, and it has left a sour taste in some NFL evaluators.
Secondly, Williams has made lots of headlines this year, and not for the best of reasons. He has rubbed many the wrong way with some of the comments that he made this year, and some scouts have some concerns with how he has handled himself during USC's losses.
As for Drake Maye, he had a good year for the Tarheels, but much like Williams, it wasn't as good as his previous season. During his redshirt freshman season, he had 4321 yards passing to go along with 38 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. This season, he posted 3608 yards with only 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, according to Sports Reference.
Maye didn't do anything to snatch the title of "best quarterback in the draft" away from Caleb Williams. Don't get me wrong, Maye is an elite talent and has everything that scouts look for in a franchise quarterback, but he had the opportunity to blow everyone away this season and he did not.
Meanwhile, Jayden Daniels had arguably the greatest statistical season for a quarterback in college football history. He repeatedly torched defenses with his huge arm and fantastic running ability. He improved so much from last season and his arrow is pointing up. He is listed at 6'4'', 210lbs and runs a sub 4.5 second 40 yard dash. Players with his combination of size, speed, athleticism and production are extremely rare, and almost always end up going first overall in the draft.
All three quarterbacks are deserving of being the first pick in the draft, but Daniels has the least question marks of them all. He did everything possible this season to prove that he is in the same tier as Williams and Maye. Whoever ends up being selected first might come down to who does best in the interview process. And according to those around LSU, Daniels is an extremely smart and humble guy, and everyone has nothing but great things to say about him.
Look, the NFL draft is one of the most unpredictable events and every year there are major surprises. Who could have predicted at this time two years ago that Travon Walker would have ended up as the first pick in the 2022 draft? All I am saying is that Jayden Daniels going number one overall shouldn't shock anyone.