Where Jayden Daniels ranks amongst last 5 No. 2 overall picks in NFL Draft history

Where does Jayden Daniels rank amongst No. 2 overall picks from the last 5 NFL Drafts?
Washington Commanders Rookie Minicamp
Washington Commanders Rookie Minicamp / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Washington Commanders created a little bit of mystery prior to the 2024 NFL Draft as far as who they would be selecting with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.  But it was always LSU’s Jayden Daniels who leapt over Drake Maye as the second ranked QB entering the draft behind Caleb Williams.

The 2023 Heisman Trophy winner enters the league with high expectations and all the talent in the world, but can he finally be the guy who becomes the guy in Washington at the QB position?  Well, the Commanders had an intriguing draft led by Daniels who enters an offense led by new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury who likes to run the spread offense.

It will be interesting to see how Kingsbury utilizes the dual-threat ability of the former LSU star.

NFL Draft History: Ranking the No. 2 overall picks in the last 5 NFL Drafts

In looking back at the last 5 NFL drafts, where does Jayden Daniels rank among the No. 2 overall selections? 

With just two other quarterbacks taken over the last 5 NFL Drafts, Commanders fans are hoping Daniels avoids the lack of success from one of the quarterbacks and equal the success of the other QB who led his team to a major turnaround. 

No. 5: Zach Wilson, 2021 No. 2 overall pick of the New York Jets

The last NFL Draft that produced multiple quarterbacks taken in the top 15 picks was back in 2021 where Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones were all selected as potential franchise quarterbacks.  Out of that group only Lawrence remains with the team that draft him.

As the QB taken right after him, Wilson entered the league as the Jets QB of the future, but after a disappointing rookie season in which he showed some promise, Wilson just continued going downhill as a starter.  Traded in the offseason to the Denver Broncos, Wilson will have a chance to re-energize his career under Sean Payton.  He’ll have to compete with Bo Nix and Jarrett Stidham, but if he wins out there could be hope for Wilson who could go from the No. 2 overall pick in that 2021 NFL Draft to either a career backup or out of the league all together.

No. 4: Chase Young, 2020 No. 2 overall pick of the Washington Commanders

Selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Chase Young didn’t disappoint in his first season with the Washington Commanders. 

Washington Commanders No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft Chase Young
Chase Young / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Coming out of Ohio State as the top ranked defensive end entering the draft, Young racked up 7.5 sacks in his inaugural season in the NFL and had shades of the next Julius Peppers in the NFL.  After taking home the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2020, Young battled with injuries his next two seasons in the NFL playing a total of just 12 games in those two seasons.

Young did have a revival in 2023, proving that when he is healthy, he is a force coming off the edge.  In 7 games played with the Commanders, Young produced 5 sacks before being traded to the San Francisco 49ers where he added an additional 2.5 sacks equaling his rookie total of 7.5. 

In the offseason, Young signed a one-year, $13 million contract with the New Orleans Saints in hopes of becoming the impact player he was trending to become after a stellar rookie performance.

No. 3: Jayden Daniels, 2024 No. 2 overall pick of the Washington Commanders

Unlike Wilson, Jayden Daniels will be in a better situation with the Commanders.  With Kliff Kingsbury as the OC and some good weapons around him led by Terry McLaurin, Daniels will be put in position to succeed during his rookie season.  No, he won’t be throwing the ball to Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr., but the duo of McLaurin and Jahan Dotson gives him playmakers down the field to get the ball to.

As far as his ceiling as a rookie, Daniels will be a lot better than Wilson, but it’s going to really depend on how well he adjusts in the NFL as a dual-threat QB.  If he is patient and takes what’s given to him, he can make a similar impact as C.J. Stroud with both his arm strength and ability to make plays with his legs.  Already compared to Lamar Jackson, the Commanders new quarterback will be looking to make his own mark on the league.  If he does that in Washington, he'll quickly become the face of the franchise.

No. 2: Aidan Hutchinson, 2022 No. 2 overall pick of Detroit Lions

When it comes to impact in the NFL, Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is making his mark in the league as a ferocious pass rusher. 

Aidan Hutchinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft
Detroit Lions DE Aidan Hutchinson / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Hutchinson was the runner up for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in that 2002 NFL season after racking up 52 combined tackles and 9.5 sacks.  He also showed off his versatility as a defender with 3 interceptions.  Hutchinson followed his rookie season up by making the Pro Bowl in 2023 with 11.5 sacks.  More importantly, he was a major force in the Lions making it to the NFC Championship Game and establishing themselves as an NFC favorite.

If not for the next guy, Hutchinson would hold the top spot, but if he continues to trend as one of the more dynamic defensive players in the league, he may just end up as one of the top No. 2 overall picks in NFL Draft history, not just the last 5 NFL drafts.

 No. 1: C.J. Stroud, 2023 No. 2 overall pick of the Houston Texans

While Hutchinson has lived up to expectations as the No. 2 overall pick, the Houston Texans hit the jackpot with the selection of Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Name the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, Stroud sizzled on the field in leading the Texans from a last place finish in the AFC South in 2022 to division crown in 2023 and a trip to the playoffs.  With over 4,000 yards passing in 15 regular season games, Stroud put the Texans back on the map with his leadership on the field and poise as a young quarterback in the league.  Now the Texas are one of the teams to talk about in the AFC in 2024.

Talk about making an impact, Stroud’s performance as a rookie is exactly what the Commanders are hoping Daniels can do his first year in the league.  One could argue that Daniels is set up with a better roster offensively to have similar success.