NFL Draft: Jayden Daniels aims to surpass Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson as the best running QB of all time

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Ask any NFL fan to name the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and Michael Vick, Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton, Randall Cunningham and Steve Young are likely some of the names you’ll hear in response.

Jayden Daniels, if successful, will not only enter this conversion, but will be considered the greatest quarterback in league history once all is said and done.

“[Vick] “It was the first one, but I think Lamar has it now,” Daniels told CBS Sports when asked if Vick was the best QB of all time. “I’m in the league now, so I’m trying to get past them.”

Daniels’ running ability was an important aspect of his game at LSU. Last fall, he rushed for a total of 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 8.4 yards per carry. Daniels ran for an incredible 234 yards and two touchdowns against Florida in a game that saw him become the first FBS player to rush for at least 200 yards and throw for 350 in the same game.

What makes Daniels particularly dangerous is his ability to take off and run at a moment’s notice. At LSU, Daniels did a lot of damage with his legs when the defense was too busy trying to stop him vertically. Daniels also gained a lot of yards on designed runs.

Given his desire to become the greatest quarterback of all time, it should come as no surprise that Daniels said he preferred to score on a long run rather than a long pass, such as on the 51-yard run that he performed last year against Florida.

However, running is not what Daniels considers his greatest strength as a football player.

“I would say my football IQ,” he said. “I pride myself on being a smart football player. Being able to eliminate what the defense doesn’t do. I kind of have two or three things in mind before the snap. … Being able to check runs and to check protections based on leverage and stuff like that, I pride myself on learning football and knowing football at a high level.

Fearlessness is another of Daniels’ strengths. He’s not afraid to throw one over a defense while giving his receiver a chance to make a big play. He’s also not afraid to make contact, whether it’s stand straight in the pocket in the middle of pressure or rush headfirst at a linebacker.

Daniels acknowledged that NFL teams have told him they “want me to be smarter about the hits I take.”

“They know I’m very competitive,” Daniels said. “You want to think you can beat this guy and get those extra five yards, or maybe if you beat him you’ll be on the sideline for 60 yards.

“When to go down, when not to go down. There’s a balance.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Daniels’ abilities as a passer. Although he is a prolific runner, Daniels is even better at throwing the ball. At LSU, Daniels made every throw possible while taking advantage of a deep receiving corps that likely included first-round picks Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr.

With all his options, Daniels usually made the right decision with the ball. He threw 40 touchdowns against just four interceptions.

“He was decisive,” Daniels said when asked about his quick decision-making on the football field. “That’s a big part. Knowing when to run and when not to run, it’s just a matter of feeling throughout the game. You kind of feel the depth of the defense, where the running lanes are, Things like that just come from playing football.”

Few people know what Daniels is going through as a projected top-five draft pick. Luckily for him, he has someone to talk to: Joe Burrow, another quarterback who, like Daniels, won the Heisman Trophy at LSU before being the No. 1 overall pick. Daniels said the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback recently gave him some advice.

“Really, soak it all in,” Daniels said of Burrow’s advice, “and just know that it doesn’t matter what you did in college. As soon as you hear your name called, It’s time to get to work. You have to clean the slate and prove yourself every day.”

Although he doesn’t know who will draft him, Daniels shared what type of player fans of the team that selects him will see on Sunday. Like Jackson, Vick and other successful quarterbacks before him, Daniels hopes to leave a lasting impact during his time in the NFL.

“One contender, one leader,” said Daniels, who has partnered with Head & Shoulders and its Make Every Wash Count campaign. “Someone who likes to have fun playing football; he’ll see that when I play. Someone who has a passion for the game, who will work to win football games. That’s the most important thing .

“Winning matters, so any way I can help the team win, I’m going to do it.”



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