New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels, the next Lamar Jackson?

Patriots should select Daniels if he's available at pick No. 3.
Texas A&M v LSU
Texas A&M v LSU / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

The New England Patriots' world is a whirlwind of rumor and speculation continually being fanned by events that overtake one another daily. The latest blockbuster news was on the firing of Patriots favorite Mike Vrabel.

Should Bill Belichick NOT be the coach of the team in 2024, it's hard to imagine a better fit than Vrabel. But that's another story.

This evaluation is of one of the top three quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft. Fate (in the form of the NY Jets!) shone brightly on the Pats when they unceremoniously dropped a snooze fest to the Jets in their last game of 2023. That assures the team the third pick overall. (We ... Love New Yawwk!")

One thing is clear: the Patriots' topsy-turvy 2023 quarterback situation was a mess. It needs fixing, and the place to do it is with that third pick.

The choice of any of the top three, Caleb Williams of USC, Drake Maye of North Carolina, or Jayden Daniels of LSU, would be just fine here. At least one will be available. The pick could flop; lots of top QB picks do. But any of the three is a consensus pick and that's the way to go.

The New England Patriots can make up for a dreadful drafting error

Two of the worst draft decisions among many in the checkered history of Bill Belichick, the Patriots' General Manager, were in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. The opinion here is that Belichick had already decided to cut ties with the best ever, Tom Brady, by then. It de facto became "official" after the 2018 season when Brady signed a phony 2-year deal with no franchise clause.

With that in mind, the team should have been in the hunt for a quarterback to replace Brady right then and there if that was their intention, no matter how nonsensical letting Brady go was. Fortunately, the team had not one but two first-round draft picks, one of which to use on that new quarterback. That year, a star from Louisville, Lamar Jackson, albeit one who didn't fit the norm for pocket-passing New England QBs in the past, was there for the taking.

Jackson was a dual-threat quarterback, one who can throw as well as run. Unfortunately, Belichick decided to forego drafting Jackson. Instead, he used both of his two first-rounders on players who ultimately flopped, offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel. As we know, it was a monster blunder (s), and Jackson continues to shine leading the Baltimore Ravens, a much more astute personnel operation.

Yet, fate may again be shining on the New England Patriots, with one major caveat. That would be that Bill Belichick is no longer exercising the general manager's function in New England at draft time. Belichick shouldn't be in a position to have the final say on this or any other major personnel matter, either. The Patriots and Robert Kraft can't allow history to repeat itself in 2024. That's where Jayden Daniels enters the picture.

New England Patriots can erase bad history by drafting Jayden Daniels

While drafting any of the three top QBs mentioned in this draft passes muster here, Daniels may be the best fit overall for the Patriots to once to possibly erase the sour taste of the 2018 Lamar Jackson double-draft blunder. Daniels is the closest clone to Jackson of the three and has all the attributes to fit perfectly really into almost any offense.

Daniels's review includes the following,

"A five-year starter dating back to his days at Arizona State, Daniels' superpower is his athleticism. He has home run speed and a ton of burst and flexibility to wiggle out of the pocket and around defenders in space. No other quarterback comes close to Daniels as a rushing threat and athlete in this class.

"As a passer, Daniels handles himself like an experienced vet. He plays with a calm demeanor in the pocket, which you can see both in his quiet footwork and in his fearlessness under pressure. Daniels is also a stable processor. "

Indeed, Daniels checks all the boxes not only for a rebuilding team like the Patriots but for any other team, for that matter. His passing was outstanding in 2023, completing 72.2 percent of his passes for 3812 yards and 40 touchdowns, with only four interceptions. He protects the ball, an attribute sorely lacking in the Patriots' 2023 QBs. And it gets better.

Daniels adds a dimension to New England's offense that has been missing since their misuse and subsequent scapegoating of dual-threat QB Cam Newton (a former NFL MVP) after the 2020 season. Daniels can run, and running means not just scrambling in the pocket. He's a legitimate threat to run and take a carry to the house on any given play.

How good a runner is he? Daniels ran for a terrific 1134 yards in 2023 and scored another 10 TDs in the process. With 50 TDs overall, he was a touchdown machine, a quality the Patriots' offense lacked this past season. Daniels was the Patriots' selection in a recent 2024 mock draft here.

Is Jayden Daniels a surefire NFL success? Who in the draft is? Yet, he has all the tools to be just that, and as a consensus top-three quarterback, drafting Daniels makes perfect sense.

If the New England Patriots want to expunge the bad memories of not drafting Lamar Jackson in 2018, one way to make a solid attempt is to draft Jayden Daniels. He was the MVP of college football and the Heisman Trophy winner. He's a great passer and a terrific runner.

What's not to like?

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