Commanders Rookie Wants Showdown With $260 Million Quarterback

When Darth Vader and his former mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, squared off in the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, in 1977, little did we know it was the first of three times we’d get to see the two square off, followed by showdowns in Revenge of the Sith (2005) and the Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming series on Disney+ (2022).

Washington Commanders rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels — the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft — might be chasing that kind of epic rivalry in his career when he faces Baltimore Ravens quarterback and two-time NFL Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson in the future.

In a TikTok released by the EA Sports’ Madden NFL account and reposted on X, Daniels is asked which NFL quarterback he’s looking forward to playing against the most.

“I want to play against Lamar Jackson,” Daniels said. “For sure. Lamar Jackson. That’s going to be a big one.”

Daniels will get his chance to do so in 2024 — the Commanders will play the Ravens on the road as part of their 2024 regular-season schedule.

Daniels-Jackson Comparisons Easy to See

The comparisons between Daniels and Jackson aren’t hard to come by.

Both players won the Heisman Trophy — Daniels in 2023 and Jackson in 2016 — and both did so as dual-threat quarterbacks who threw for over 3,500 yards and rushed for over 1,100 yards in their Heisman-winning seasons.

Jackson’s success may have laid the path for Daniels being such a high draft pick.

Jackson famously plummeted in the 2018 NFL draft to the final pick of the first round, going to the Ravens at No. 32 overall.

He set the NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in 2019 (1,206) and became just the second unanimous NFL Most Valuable Player in league history.

Jackson signed a five-year, $260 million contract with $185 million guaranteed in April 2023 and followed that up with his second MVP season.

Daniels had no such proving ground as a dual-threat quarterback — had he not been taken by the Commanders at No. 2 overall he would have gone to the New England Patriots with the next pick at No. 3.

Jackson was the fifth quarterback taken in the first round in 2018 following Baker Mayfield (No. 1, Cleveland Browns), Sam Darnold (No. 3, New York Jets), Josh Allen (No. 7, Buffalo Bills) and Josh Rosen (No. 10, Arizona Cardinals).

Different Goals for Different Franchises in 2024

The Commanders are trying to lift their franchise up to respectability in 2024 and moving forward — they’ve had one winning season in the last decade and haven’t won a playoff game since 2005.

The Ravens are one of a handful of teams in the NFL who can say they have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl in 2024 after making it all the way to the AFC Championship Game in 2023, where they suffered a heartbreaking, 17-10 home loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

“Oh, I’m not frustrated at all,” Jackson told after the loss. “I’m angry about losing, we were a game away from the Super Bowl, we’ve been waiting all this time, all these moments for an opportunity like this and we fell short. But I feel like our team will, we’re going to build, this offseason we’re going to get right, get better, grind, and try and be in this position again, but on the other side, a victory.”

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