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Kirk Herbstreit: Everyone assumes Bears will draft Caleb Williams, but 'you'd better look real close at Jayden Daniels'

NS_headshot_clearbackgroundby:Nick Schultz03/06/24

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Kirk Herbstreit
Andrew Wevers | USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL Scouting Combine in the rear-view mirror, the sprint is on to the 2024 NFL Draft. For the second straight draft, the Chicago Bears hold the No. 1 pick – this time, coming via the Carolina Panthers from last year’s trade.

Early indications are Chicago is planning to select Caleb Williams with the top selection. However, ESPN and Prime Video’s Kirk Herbstreit said another quarterback might deserve some consideration: former LSU star Jayden Daniels.

Daniels won the Heisman Trophy this past season and led the nation in total offense. He has skyrocketed up draft boards this year, and ESPN’s Jordan Reid projected him to go No. 3 overall to the New England Patriots in his post-Combine mock draft.

To Herbstreit, though, Daniels should warrant consideration for the Bears at No. 1.

“The other draft guy I like, Jayden Daniels,” Herbstreit said on Streit Talk Show with his sons, Jake and Tye. “I talked about him during the season, and now, it seems like a lot of people are talking about him. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Jayden Daniels – everyone’s assuming the Bears, if they pick a quarterback, [are] gonna go Caleb. I think you’d better look real close at Jayden Daniels, in my opinion. We’ll see.”

Daniels had a huge year in 2023 as he cemented himself as a true dual threat, accounting for 412.2 yards of offense per game and 50 total touchdowns. He could’ve declared for the draft last year – ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projected him as a second-round pick – but opted to run it back at LSU. Now, he’s a projected top-three pick with a Heisman Trophy to his name.

Still, the sense is Williams is the No. 1 player on the board. He took the college football world by storm in 2022, totaling nearly 5,000 total yards – 4,537 passing and 382 rushing – and 52 touchdowns to win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore. His numbers dropped to 3,633 yards and 30 touchdowns with 142 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior, but he still remained the consensus top prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Looking at the quarterback class as a whole, though, Kirk Herbstreit said he thinks more players than just Williams, Daniels and Drake Maye could get some hype.

“You’re looking at six maybe first-rounders now after the combine,” Herbstreit said. “A lot of people buzzing and about J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix, Bo Nix. We know the obvious guys. But you’re looking at seven or eight quarterbacks going in the first two rounds this year, which says a lot about their talent and also, it says a lot about the NFL and some of these teams and how desperate they are to find a quarterback.”