Daniels impresses at rookie camp: ‘He’s a stud’


ASHBURN, Va., — Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels first rookie minicamp practice did not include any wow moments, where he could show his speed or all of his arm talent. It was a routine one-hour workout designed to get the rookies comfortable with the playbook.

But his new teammates took notice during those 60 minutes of what Daniels could offer the Commanders.

“He’s a stud,” said third-round receiver Luke McCaffrey. “I know he’s one heck of a quarterback and a lot of fun to play with from a personality standpoint. I’ve had a blast in these 24 hours with him…. He’s just fun to be around; he’s good energy.”

“He has the ‘It’ factor,” said second-round tight end Ben Sinnott.

Washington selected Daniels with the second pick in last month’s draft, making him the franchise’s latest hope at quarterback. The team started eight different passers in the last four years and nobody has started for more than three consecutive seasons since Mark Rypien did so from 1989-93. Since that time Washington has drafted five other quarterbacks in the first round and none became the long-term answer.

Daniels’ presence led to more interest than usual in the Commanders’ first rookie workout as approximately 55 media members attended – at least 20 more than usual, according to a team spokesman. He smiled often and during breaks could be seen laughing with coaches or teammates. He lofted accurate deep passes down the middle of the field against no defenders and was accurate during a seven-on-seven drill, with one pass off-target that resulted in a one-handed grab by undrafted free agent Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint.

For Daniels, he said Friday was just about “day one install” of the playbook. But he also said he soaked in seeing his helmet in the locker and putting on his yellow No. 5 practice jersey.

“Man, it was awesome,” he said. He added that scenes like this brought out “that 9-year-old kid in me, just realizing that his dreams came true and now I’m here but I’ve still got a long way to go.”

Sinnott said he worked out with Daniels at times in the offseason – as well as undrafted free agent quarterback Sam Hartman. He said he saw Daniels’ accuracy on film and then realized it in person. He saw him, as others did, create plays with his legs as well.

“He’s a super talented kid, a great dude I really like to be around and hopefully grow with,” Sinnott said. “There are just guys who players naturally get attracted to and revolve around and he’s got that personality where you want to work with him and want to watch film with him and you want to be out here working with him.”

Daniels said this weekend is also about developing his leadership in the NFL, before he starts working with the veterans at OTA practices.

“Just being myself, being a hard worker,” he said. “Don’t try to be somebody I’m not. People see who’s authentic and who’s not. Try to make connections, talk to people. Obviously I’m 23, it’s a lot of different age ranges in this locker room, so try to relate as much as possible, show them I’m all about the team, I’m all about hard work.”

And, for now, it’s about learning the playbook and then earning the starting job.

“Just going through the lumps of being a rookie and trying to learn how to be a pro,” Daniels said. “I don’t have a definitive answer for you what I needed to work on. I’m just trying to learn as much as possible.”

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