Before flourishing with a Pro Bowl 2015 season in Buffalo, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor spent the first four years of his career backing up a highly-skilled, highly-touted and highly-drafted starter in Baltimore.
Like Taylor, Chase Daniel was largely ignored in his draft year despite making waves in college. And like Taylor, he spent the first chunk of his career overshadowed by highly-skilled, highly-touted and highly-drafted starters (Drew Brees in New Orleans and Alex Smith in Kansas City).
But now a 29-year-old Daniel has an opportunity to spread his wings as unrestricted free agency looms, and there’s a feeling he may wind up joining his Kansas City offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson, in Philadelphia, where Pederson now coaches the Eagles.
Pederson isn’t even hiding the fact he thinks Daniel can be an NFL starter.
“Given an opportunity, yes, I think he can be,” Pederson said this week, via Pro Football Talk and the Kansas City Star. “The people that obviously worked with him for the last three years know that he has an opportunity there, and hopefully he gets his chance.”
The parallels between Taylor and Daniel aren’t perfect. Obviously one relies heavily on his speed and athleticism, while the other is somewhat mobile but more of a field general who gets by on being accurate. Plus, Taylor was a sixth-round pick, while Daniel went undrafted and has had to hold a clipboard much longer.
Still, with so many teams — like Pederson’s Eagles — desperate for steady play at quarterback, and with the draft proving to be a crapshoot in that area, don’t rule out the possibility of Daniel suddenly breaking out in the right spot in 2016.
He might not be big or strong or particularly fast, but Daniel has always been productive — even as a backup in New Orleans and Kansas City. He’s completed 64.9 percent of his 77 career passes, and his 2015 preseason numbers — 77.4 percent, five touchdowns, one interceptions and a 120.6 passer rating in four Chiefs victories — were off the charts.
In fact, he’s been fantastic in the preseason throughout his career, which has to be enough to earn him an actual shot at a starting job by way of a camp/preseason battle this summer.
Don’t be surprised if that comes in Philly.