LSU’s Dynamic Offensive Trio Gets Drafted in First Round of NFL Draft

There has not been this much attention on the offensive side of the football since the 2020 NFL Draft when the likes of Joe Burrow and Justin Jefferson were selected in the first round. Just like the 2019 offensive trio of Burrow, Jefferson, and Ja’Marr Chase, the 2023 LSU offensive trio of Jayden Daniels, Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. set numerous offensive records and just like the previous Tigers trio all set themselves into position where they can get selected high in the NFL Draft.

After months of preparation and anticipation, it was finally revealed where LSU’s three stars would land and of course, it has to start with the Tigers signal caller.

With the second overall pick of the NFL Draft, the Washington Commanders selected Jayden Daniels. LSU’s Heisman Trophy winner became the fourth quarterback in program history to have been selected either first or second overall joining Joe Burrow (2020), JaMarcus Russell (2007) and Bert Jones (1973). Daniels’ unexpected rise from solid starter to bonafide superstar was one of college football’s best stories last season as the dynamic dual threat signal caller had one of the best single seasons by a quarterback in college football history.

His Heisman Trophy campaign included 40 TD passes and another 10 rushing touchdowns. That number made him only the fifth player in SEC history to account for 50 touchdowns in a single-season. He also capped his final season with the Tigers completing 236-of-327 passes for 3,812 yards. He joined Johnny Manziel as the only players in SEC history to pass for 3,500 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

LSU Heisman Trophy winning QB Jayden Daniels was selected by the Washington Commanders with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft trailing only USC QB Caleb Williams, who was selected by the Chicago Bears. (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

Brian Kelly’s highest ever selection also led the nation last season in several categories including total offense (412.2), points responsible for per game (25.2), rushing yards by a quarterback (1,134) and yards per play (10.71) while also having the highest passer rating in FBS history.

Daniels will go to Washington D.C. joining first year head coach Dan Quinn after having an overall prolific career at both Arizona State and LSU with 12,749 career passing yards and 89 passing touchdowns against 20 interceptions while adding 3,307 rushing yards and 34 ground scores in 55 games over five seasons. His ability to create dynamic plays with both his arm and his legs will give the Commanders a special playmaker under center.

Jayden Daniels’ sidekick Malik Nabers didn’t wait that long to hear his name called as the Tigers’ star receiver will go to the bright lights of New York as the Comeaux High School product was selected by the Giants with the sixth overall pick. The quarterback/wide receiver duo in program history to be selected in the Top 10 in the same draft. Like Daniels, Nabers was the top player at his position in the country as a Biletnikoff Award finalist and unanimous All-American finishing number two nationally in receiving yards (1,569) and number three in touchdowns (14). He also was the SEC’s catch leader with 89 grabs.

Missing out on the coveted receiver award by a vote, Nabers became the all-time leading receiver in program history in terms of catches (189) and yards (3,003). He is also the second player in LSU history to have over 3,000 yards receiving joining Josh Reed on that prestigious list.

LSU’s all-time leading receiver WR Malik Nabers is selected number six overall by the New York Giants. (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

Nabers is an all-around great receiver as he has dependable hands as well as the ability to break tackles and make tight contested catches downfield. With him going to New York, he is the second LSU receiver to be selected by the Giants joining Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014 and the second receiver in program history to be selected in the Top 10 joining Ja’Marr Chase.

Finally, late in the first round of the NFL Draft, Brian Thomas Jr. heard his name called as he will be joining quarterback Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville as the Jaguars selected him with the number 23 overall pick in the draft.

The highly coveted receiver prospect from Walker, Louisiana had a breakout season this past fall when he teamed up with Malik Nabers as the most productive wide receiver duo in college football with 68 grabs for 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns, which led the nation this year. The duo of Nabers and Thomas joined two other receiver duos in LSU history that each had 1,000 yards in one season, which includes the duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and of course the duo of Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson.

LSU WR Brian Thomas Jr. gets selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 23rd pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf Photography)

With his big frame and stretch the field speed, the former state champion basketball player developed into a big play receiver during his time in Baton Rouge as his 24 touchdown grabs is third best all-time in program history. The third team All-American and second team All-SEC selection was a major contribution to one of the most prolific offensive seasons in college football history.

This offensive trio has put their stamp on their incredible journey as after leading the Tigers to an incredibly productive season, all three players will have a chance to put up plenty of more gaudy numbers in the NFL.