May 25, 2024

Commanders GM addresses Jayden Daniels selection

In a piece detailing the Commanders’ evaluation of Daniels, which will be especially relevant to Washington fans, John Keim of notes that Peters did indeed have a high grade on McCarthy thanks to the former Wolverine’s efficiency, strong arm, and mobility. 

McCarthy ultimately slotted right behind Daniels on the Commanders’ list of QB options and ahead of Maye and Michael Penix Jr., whom the team also scouted heavily.

In 2023, Peters was with the 49ers, a club that was not in the market for a first-round passer. So he did not begin evaluating the 2024 draft class of blue chip signal-callers before he took the Washington job, but once he finally got to review Daniels’ film, he became “smitten” with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

“The way he can process, the way he can see the field, the way he goes through his reads, the way he delivers [the ball] on time,” Peters said. “He’s the best deep-ball thrower in the draft, and that’s even before we start watching him run and the way he runs he just takes your soul as a defense. You think you got him and then all of a sudden, he rips off a 40-yard run. And this is against the SEC, the best of the best.”

Prior to the interview that team brass conducted with Daniels at the scouting combine in February, Peters told a group including owner Josh Harris, head coach Dan Quinn, offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and front office consultant Bob Myers that “something has to happen [for the pick] to not be Jayden.” 

As the predraft process went on, Peters’ conviction only got stronger as he realized that Daniels’ work ethic and character matched the quality of his game tape. As Keim details, Daniels had the passcode changed at an LSU facility so he could put in more work when the facility would have otherwise been locked, and he also arranged for 5 a.m. workouts with his receivers, a feat that one team source said was particularly impressive to Peters.

Peters also received glowing reviews on Daniels from respected voices back in San Francisco, including Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, one of Daniels’ close friends. Peters said that he never considered trading back in the draft and taking the Commanders out of the running for Daniels, and it sounds as if rival clubs knew he was entrenched in his position. 

The GM said that he received only one offer for the No. 2 pick — presumably from the Raiders, who were known to covet Daniels — but that proposal “didn’t move the needle.”

It is not yet a sure thing that Daniels will be Washington’s starting quarterback on Week 1 of the 2024 campaign, with free agent acquisition Marcus Mariota available to serve as a bridge to the Daniels era if necessary. Sooner or later, though, Daniels will take the reins, and Peters is delighted by his club’s good fortune.