Daniels honors teammate with cancer at pro day

r1298715 1296x729 16 9

BATON ROUGE, La. — Jayden Daniels was true to his word.

The LSU quarterback and 2023 Heisman Trophy winner worked out in front of NFL teams at LSU’s pro day after declining to do so during the NFL scouting combine in February.

Daniels was wearing a long-sleeved purple shirt with the name and number of former Tigers teammate Greg Brooks Jr. on the back. Brooks missed most of his senior season at LSU last fall after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September.

“Obviously, if Greg were here, he’d be a part of this. He’s not here, but he’s here in spirit, and I’m here to rep him,” Daniels said. “My teammates who didn’t get an invite to the combine, obviously they had multiple eyes out here, all 32 [NFL teams] and more, so it was beneficial to go out there and showcase their talent, showcase how they move, write their own journey. If they get an opportunity, I know they’re going to crush it.”

LSU coach Brian Kelly said Daniels’ tribute to Brooks was a good example of his character.

“He’s thinking outside of just Jayden Daniels. He’s thinking about one of his teammates that he holds in high regard,” Kelly said. “And that’s the way he’s been since he’s gotten here.

“He’s always thinking about his teammates first. That throwing that we saw today, he brought in teammates so they could get a chance to be seen today in front of a number of scouts. And maybe that’s not the reason you do that, but it was for him. He wanted to showcase some other guys today, and he certainly did that.”

Daniels, who is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks selected in next month’s NFL draft, explained in February that he was skipping combine workouts in hopes that more NFL teams would go to Baton Rouge for LSU’s pro day, allowing his teammates to shine in front of a big contingent of talent evaluators.

Daniels tossed passes to a group of former teammates that included Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr., both of whom are potential first-round picks. Daniels threw several different routes, including different attempts downfield.

“I would just say the main thing was just trying to sell my consistency within the pocket and my form,” Daniels said. “The other stuff was just kind of fun. That was just something we do. We’re out there having fun, we hear the music playing … the deep ball, that’s kind of to show that they’ve got the speed to track the football and that I can go out there and put it out there for them.”

Representatives from all 32 teams were at LSU on Wednesday, including New Orleans Saints coach Dennis Allen and most of his coaching staff. The New York Giants also had a large group that included coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen. Las Vegas Raiders coach Antonio Pierce, Washington Commanders coach Dan Quinn, New England Patriots coach Jerod Mayo and Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus were also in attendance.

Daniels was scheduled to have roughly half-hour meetings with the Patriots, Commanders, Minnesota Vikings, Raiders and Giants on Wednesday evening, agent Ron Butler told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Daniels and Nabers were the main draws for the group after they both significantly improved their draft stock in 2023. Nabers was a consensus All-American pick and Biletnikoff Award finalist as a wideout, while Daniels, in addition to his Heisman Trophy, was named The Associated Press college football player of the year and earned first-team All-American honors along with a number of other awards.

Daniels significantly improved his draft stock during his two seasons at LSU, which he attributed to having a full offseason going into the 2023 campaign.

“Every offseason I was kind of dealing with something,” he explained. “It wasn’t injurywise, but obviously I was learning a new playbook my freshman year and then you deal with the pandemic, I’m dealing with personal stuff off the field.

“It makes it easier when I’m able to build that comradery, that chemistry with my receivers. You’ve seen it today, it’s still there, my brothers for life.”

Daniels did not run the 40-yard dash and only participated in the throwing portion of the day. He also took official measurements (6-foot-3⅝, 210 pounds) after declining to be measured at the combine.

Nabers (6-foot-¼, 199 pounds) also took official measurements and went through drills after sitting out that portion of the combine. Nabers participated in every drill and caught passes from Daniels but said the 40-yard dash was of particular importance to him because he wanted to prove he was faster than some might have thought.

Nabers said he woke up at 5 a.m. on Wednesday in anticipation of running his first official 40 since high school. He said that he started training to run it three weeks before the pro day.

“I was just trying to showcase my talent,” Nabers said. “Showcase my dawg mentality that everybody knows, to come out here on pro day and shut it down. I didn’t do everything at the combine, so I know everybody was wanting to see what I was going to do here at the pro day. … I’ve been ready to go at it. When I woke up in the morning, I knew something was going to be special. So, I wanted just to follow behind that and do something special.”

Nabers clocked his first 40 time at 4.35 seconds and immediately yelled, “Stop playing with me,” after he pulled up. Daniels, who came up to cheer him on, told him to stand on his time, but Nabers ran a second 40-yard dash at 4.4 seconds.

“I’d probably say, seeing a lot of things in the media saying I was 4.5, 4.6, so I just wanted to come out here and showcase that I’m not even close to that,” Nabers said. “So, when I heard the first time, Jayden had told me, ‘Take him off’; but me being me, I knew I could go faster, so that’s why I ran it the second time.”

Nabers’ 40 time would have ranked fourth at the combine behind the wide receiver trio of Texas’ Xavier Worthy (4.21), LSU’s Thomas (4.33) and Texas’ Adonai Mitchell (4.34). Thomas did not run the 40 again on Wednesday.

“It just shows that all the guys that had pretty good numbers at the combine, people thought I wouldn’t be right there,” Nabers said. “It’s just another chip on my shoulder.”

Nabers is projected to be one of the first wide receivers off the board behind Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., but Nabers said some teams told him he could be the first wideout drafted.

“I know a lot of people have been saying receiver No. 1 off the board, dawg mentality that I play with, when I get the ball in my hands, I’m going to do tremendous things with it. I have a plan to go score, so I’m trying to make the best explosive play that I can make on the field,” Nabers said. “I play with a high chip on my shoulder.

“You can tell after I make plays I’m making sure the offense has the energy to go out there and make the same plays.”

The 2024 NFL draft is scheduled to begin on April 25.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top