Former NFL star says he’d select Jayden Daniels over Caleb Williams

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL star and current Fox Sports analyst Keyshawn Johnson revealed that he’d take Louisiana State University star Jayden Daniels over University of Southern California star Caleb Williams in the 2024 NFL Draft.

“I like Jayden Daniels more because I think he’s more pro ready,” Johnson said. “Okay – and what’s pro ready to me? A guy – when I look at the league – typically on certain down and distances, you are in shotgun because they want to get you back so you can see the defense. The rush is coming, you got room to move around. Jayden Daniels can do both. He can go underneath the center. He can drop back.”

Daniels and Williams are the last two Heisman Trophy winners in college football, and they are both projected to be high first-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Last season, Daniels threw for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns and just four interceptions while completing 72.2 percent of his passes for the LSU Tigers.

Johnson also compared Daniels to Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson – the reigning league MVP – because of his decisiveness running the football.

A dual-threat quarterback, Daniels carried the ball 135 times for 1,134 yards and 10 scores last season, showing that he was one of the most dynamic threats with the ball in his hands in the entire country.

“I like Jayden Daniels’ skill set at running the football, not sneak attack running,” Johnson added. “See, Caleb is more of a sneak attack. He’s looking to throw, and then he goes. Jayden makes a decision – Lamar Jackson-like – and he’s gone. Not saying he is Lamar Jackson, I’m saying like. Okay, so when you look at his ability to take the football, put his foot in the ground, retrace, do all sorts of little things, he throws a pretty deep ball. His ball turns around with whistle. I like all the anticipation with him, all of those sort of things. And again, it does not mean that I don’t like Caleb. I just prefer Jayden Daniels.”

Williams, who is widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Chicago Bears in the 2024 NFL Draft, put together quite the collegiate career in the last three seasons.

The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner totaled 10,082 passing yards, 93 passing touchdowns and just 14 interceptions across three seasons in college, throwing for at least 30 scores in each of his last two seasons at USC.

Williams is also a capable runner, posting 27 rushing touchdowns in his college career while carrying the ball 289 times for 966 yards.

Daniels and Williams are part of a loaded quarterback class that also features Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix. It’s possible that all of these quarterbacks could get drafted in the first round of the draft.

The first round of the 2024 NFL Draft is set to take place on Thursday night. Both Daniels and Williams are expected to come off of the board within the first few picks of the draft, but it may not be in the order that Johnson would take them.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.