Since his arrival in Las Vegas after leaving the New England Patriots' scouting department, assistant director of player personnel DuJuan Daniels has operated as the right-hand man to former general manager Mike Mayock.
Now that Mayock has been fired after a playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals to cap a tumultuous season during which former first-round draft picks Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette were cut for off-field transgressions, the organization is in transition as they seek a new general manager.
What's not in question in NFL circles is the respect for Daniels' scouting acumen and knowledge of the game. A former Boston College wide receiver, kick returner and defensive back who was a two-time All-Big East academic selection., Daniels, 42, is on NFL teams' radar as a potential general manager candidate with no interviews pending a, according to league sources. Daniels could wind up remaining in Las Vegas as one of the leaders of a revamped personnel department, potentially working again with former Patriots colleague Dave Ziegler, who was one of the first interviews the Raiders requested along with Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo.
Former Patriots colleague Nick Caserio is now the Houston Texans' general manager, a career rise that Daniels could potentially follow him in the next few hiring cycles.
"This guy is highly respected and trusted," an NFL executive said. "DuJuan sees the game differently as a former player who has a very strong background and was very well prepared from his time with Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio in New England. DuJuan was in the draft room giving his input for the Patriots every year and he's made some very good recommendations over the years. He's someone to watch now, and in the future."
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Daniels earned three Super Bowl rings with the Patriots as their national scout, working his way up in 13 years with New England and contributing to six Super Bowl teams. Daniels was hired by the Raiders in 2019 as a senior member of the scouting department. Daniels joined the Patriots in 2006 as a scouting assistant and was an area scout for five years. While he was with the Patriots, they won 12 AFC East division titles.
A former Mr. Football in Indiana who rushed for 2,509 yards and 42 touchdowns as a high school senior and holds the Boston College record for longest kickoff return, a 101-yard return against Syracuse, Daniels, an Indiana State Hall of Fame football inductee last year, overcame a serious knee injury in college.
Daniels set out on his own path by leaving the Patriots to join Mayock. Now, his next move bears watching.
In an interview years ago, Daniels clearly spelled out his career ambition.
"My ultimate goal is to be a G.M.," Daniels said. "I would never want to work with guys that don't want to be general managers. I wouldn't want to work with a coach that doesn't want to be a head coach. And that's my goal: be a GM."