2022 NFL Draft First Look: JT Daniels

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Today we are looking at J.T. Daniels, Georgia’s 6’3″ 210 lb. quarterback who transferred from USC in 2020 following Kedon Slovis’s emergence. Daniels is becoming a big name in the college football community but does he live up to the hype as an NFL Draft prospect? Let’s dive into the tape and answer that question!

Strengths: Daniels is a reliable distributor of the football. His short accuracy is excellent, and his intermediate accuracy is very good as well, especially over the middle of the field. Daniels shows the ability to layer the ball over second level defenders to his receiver in the intermediate range. His field vision is impressive, as he consistently finds the open target in the talented Georgia offense. One of Daniels’s best traits is his decision-making, as he rarely makes an ill-advised throw such as throwing into double coverage. He takes care of the football very well, as his low number of turnovers demonstrates. On contested catches, Daniels flashes proper ball placement and even when the placement is not excellent, he generally places the ball where only the receiver has a chance at coming down with it. While Daniels isn’t a special athlete, he has a functional ability to roll out of the pocket and deliver a pass accurately while doing so, and he has some twitchiness in him to maneuver a muddied pocket and deliver the ball in the face of pressure. Daniels is seen making calls and adjustments before the snap at the line of scrimmage. 

Weaknesses: In an age where the best young quarterbacks are very athletic and possess cannons for arms, Daniels unfortunately has very mediocre physical and athletic traits. Daniels is listed at 6’3” but appears to be a couple inches shorter, which leads to some passes being dangerously batted at the line of scrimmage. He is also thin right now, especially in his lower half, and should work on adding more bulk to stay durable. Daniels’s arm strength leaves a lot to be desired. This results in a lot of deep shots floating too much or turning into underthrows, making him leave a lot of big gains on the field when open breakaway touchdowns turn into contested catches or even incompletions. It is common for Daniels’s sideline shots to sail out of bounds. Since he is forced to put too much effort into getting the ball far enough down the field, his deep accuracy suffers as a result. Additionally, Daniels’s intermediate throws are accurate but don’t have a lot of zip on them. In the NFL, Daniels could struggle with the tighter throwing windows, especially deep. Athletically, Daniels possesses virtually no explosiveness and does not offer a running threat. In the pocket, Daniels does not appear to have enough poise and looks too jittery. His ability to sense pressure should also improve, especially from his blind side. 

Bottom Line: To put it bluntly, I am not a fan of Daniels and do not see a future as an early draft pick or an NFL starter within him. There is a strong correlation in recent years between early NFL success at the quarterback position and top-end physical and athletic traits, and Daniels lacks both desired arm strength and athleticism. For someone who cannot extend the play with his legs, he is not nearly accurate enough deep, making him a quarterback who excels at distributing the ball within twenty yards downfield but is very limited outside of that. Daniels is a reliable game manager who doesn’t put the ball in danger, but he currently faces an uphill climb to even be a QB2 in the NFL and will need to show improvements in his deep ball accuracy and his poise in the pocket to show me he can be a high-end backup in the NFL, which appears to be his ceiling.

Sources:

  1. Cover Image: https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-11-26/jt-daniels-georgia-star-usc-quarterback

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