Scouting Report: QB JT Daniels 6’2″ 205 (Georgia)
Spring 2021 Report Film Exposure: (2020) Missouri, Mississippi State and Cincinnati
Lean framed quarterback who looks polished in the pocket, but he shows average arm strength, mobility, accuracy, and placement. USC transfer (May 2020). There is fear in his eyes and he moves around like he is scared in the pocket. Suffered knee injury opening day in 2019 for USC (torn ACL and meniscus in his right leg – his plant leg). It looks like that injury is playing on him heavily. He played tentatively on it in 2020. This will be something during the 2021 season to keep a close eye on to see if he bounces back. Relies on his mechanics to be successful. Daniels is at his best when he has the time to set up shop and he struggles with accuracy when he does not have the time. He operates almost exclusively out of shotgun formation. He is most effective in the short-range with screens when he makes quick decisions with the ball. Inconsistent accuracy intermediate and deep.
Daniels tends to clap his hands for the ball (snap). Shows excellent ball-handling skills (play-action-fake). Good pump fake. Able to roll out right and throw short on the move. Showed he can go through his progressions in the pocket and look one way and then snap his head back in another direction and throw. Lacks poise. Looks jittery in the pocket. His movements are sudden and he did not look comfortable in the pocket. Sometimes hurries his throws sometimes he holds the ball for too long and gets crushed. Tends not to throw the ball away to avoid sacks. Inconsistent at evading the pass rush. Daniels is very aware of the pass rush – he is too aware of it. Sometimes pats the ball prior to delivery, which further indicates to defensive backs where he is going with the ball prior to the throw.
He shows very average-looking arm strength that shows up in his throws to the intermediate and deep ranges of the field. Daniels had to push off his right back foot hard to drive the ball out there. I did not see him put any big league zip on the ball in these route levels (during these three games). Tends to lob it in there and tries to rely more on touch, but he was inconsistent at doing that in terms of ball placement. His deep passing attempts were all over the place in terms of accuracy and placement. Once in a while, he would throw a beauty, but he also can throw a little behind his receivers. He also put too much air under his deep passes at times. The arch did not look right. Some passes looked more like rocks falling from the sky that dropped straight down because he had to put too much air under his passes to compensate.
Daniels has run the ball for a (negative) -226 yards during his college career.
Daniels did show some passion after throwing a touchdown, but he is a real project without much upside when it comes to being an NFL prospect. Despite his high pre-season current ranking, I am just not seeing it. The wildcard is the right plant leg (if he regains his confidence in it) in 2021. That remains to be seen, but currently, I am just not feeling it with this prospect. He tends to look too “herky-jerky” and hurried in the pocket in anticipation or the rush or when actually dealing with the rush. Daniels currently lacks the poise, confidence, arm strength and accuracy to be considered for the NFL draft.
During the 2018 season at USC (per espn.com) he was 216 comp/363 att/59.5% comp/2,672 yards, 7.4 avg with 14 TD/10 INT. Daniels was injured in 2019 and had minor stats. In 2020 for Georgia he was 80 comp/119 att, 67.2% comp/1,231 yards, 10.3 avg. The high TD/INT ratio is a red flag in 2018.
Where would I draft JT Daniels?
Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board: I personally would not have him on my board prior to this season based on what I saw on film. He is not what I would be looking for as a starter or a backup and I am not seeing NFL potential. A long-range starter or a reliable backup must possess better quarterbacking qualities than what Daniels is showing currently on film. I am giving him a UFA (undraftable free agent) league grade at this point in my late Spring report.
Probability of being a bust: High
If I were a GM, this is the question I need to be answered in my mind about JT Daniels? I would ask him, “Walk me through why you transferred and what that experience was like for you?”
My top 10 concerns about Daniels:
- He looks scared in his eyes and he and plays scared.
- Plays hurried when he is under pressure and when he is not.
- Plays almost exclusively in the shotgun formation.
- Lack of experience with verbal cadence.
- Tendency to sometimes pat the ball pre-delivery.
- His lack of mobility/stats running the football (negative yardage running).
- Inaccuracy when he can not set his feet intermediate and deep (especially when he does not set his feet to throw).
- Average arm strength (really has to push it out there, sometimes looks like receivers are waiting on his passes and sometimes puts too much air under deep passes).
- Inconsistent placement and accuracy intermediate and deep.
- Tendency to take sacks instead of throwing the ball away to avoid yardage losses.
How NFL defenses will beat him: Missouri and Cincinnati showed the way – heavy pressure and exotic blitzes. Constantly send defenders from different pressure points and keep him guessing. Be extremely aggressive and physical. Get in his face and intimidate him. Make him as uncomfortable as possible. Get into his head. Clamp down in pass coverage on underneath screens and take that part of his game away. Dare him to beat your defense intermediate and deep. Play tight man coverage.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.