The 2023-24 season showed some promise with a 2-0 start following wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos. Reality hit pretty quickly and Washington finished the season with a 4-13 record. Ron Rivera was fired on Black Monday, and Josh Harris moved quickly to start setting up the next regime. San Francisco 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters was hired as the Commanders new GM. The search will now shift to hiring the next head coach.
The Washington Commanders have the 2nd overall pick, and the speculation about what they will do with it has already started heated debates. Sam Howell was having a decent season, but he cratered at the end and was benched multiple times for backup Jacoby Brissett. Most people expect Washington to take a QB at #2, but there’s always the possibility that they get an offer to trade down, and Peters takes it to get more draft picks this year and next. The team is projected to have the most salary cap space in the NFL next year, and they will need the draft and free agency to rebuild a 4-win team.
It’s been over a month since our last mock draft roundup, and a lot has changed since then. There are only three options projected to Washington, and they’re all QBs. The majority of them have the Commanders staying at #2 and selecting North Carolina Tar Heels QB Drake Maye. He is one of the top two QBs in this draft, along with USC’s Caleb Williams. There are some fans who want Washington to trade up for Williams, and there’s a trade option for that in this week’s roundup.
The third QB being mocked to the Washington Commanders is LSU’s Jayden Daniels. He won the Heisman trophy for his final season as the Tigers’ quarterback. He has been rising up the draft projections, and he gets a little love from the mockers by going #2 overall to Washington.
Washington Commanders 2024 NFL Draft picks*
Round 2 (#40 from CHI)
Round 3 (#67)
Round 3 (#100 from SF)
Round 4 (#102)
Round 5 (#137)
Round 6 (#180)
Round 7 (#219)
(*Projected via Tankathon)
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
With new ownership — and soon a new coach — the Commanders are in desperate need of a spark. Maye can be just that. With a powerful arm to make any downfield throw, he can attack all three levels of the field. This season, he completed 35 passes of 20-plus air yards, the third most in the FBS. Maye still needs to improve his decision-making and progressions, but he is commonly getting comps to Justin Herbert. That speaks to his upside. Sam Howell flashed this season, but he threw a matching 21 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions.
The Commanders already have solid offensive targets in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, and with four additional picks in the first three rounds, Washington could see a quick turnaround.
Maye could wind up as QB1 when it’s all over — it’ll likely depend on which team makes that pick in the top spot. However, Washington is guaranteed at least one of these guys, which is all that matters for the Commanders.
Like Williams, Maye is ready to come into the league and compete right now. His arm talent, confidence to attack the middle of the field, IQ and athleticism at 6 feet 4, 230 pounds are all elite for a 21-year-old QB.
Somehow, the Washington Commanders cannot get away from Sam Howell. A week after announcing Howell’s benching, Jacoby Brissett suffered a hamstring injury in practice leading up to their week 17 game against San Francisco, forcing Howell back into the lineup.
Washington is all but announcing they will be in the quarterback market this offseason, and picking second overall locks them into one of the two top quarterbacks.
Washington is moving on from North Carolina’s starting quarterback from 2019-2021 in favor of North Carolina’s starting quarterback from 2022-2023. The Commanders benched Sam Howell late in the season indicating that the team is ready to go in another direction.
Maye is a pure pocket passer with mobility and the full franchise quarterback skill set. Sam Howell played relatively well — and really flashed at times in Year 2 — but with a new coaching staff incoming in D.C., this is almost a lock to be a quarterback, and Maye would be the right choice.
It wasn’t too long ago that Sam Howell appeared to be one of the lone bright spots for an underwhelming Washington roster. Instead, the second-year signal-caller ended the season as the NFL’s leader in interceptions thrown (21) and sacks taken (65), and he now might be in line to be replaced by his successor at North Carolina. Strong-armed and athletic, Maye could provide some much-needed hope for a franchise that has long been treading water behind center.
Big changes are coming to the Commanders’ front office and coaching staff when the regular season comes to a close. With new ownership now in place, it seems likely the franchise will completely turn the page. It will be even easier to do so if the Commanders beat out the Patriots for the No. 2 pick, where the easy choice is whoever is available between Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, with either being a franchise quarterback to invest in.
The Commanders will have a new general manager and head coach soon — reportedly 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters will be the top guy and hire the coach — so Sam Howell will likely have competition in the quarterback room next year. Maye’s prototypical size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), elite arm talent and ability as a runner will cause some to question whether Williams is really the top QB in this draft class. Spoiler alert: Williams is the top QB in this draft class, but I like Maye a lot too.
Round 2: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson, Jr.
Round 2: Devontez Walker, WR, North Carolina, Jr.
A brand-new era is taking shape in Washington, and the Commanders start off by selecting the player they hope will be their quarterback of the future.
The Redskins had major blocking issues that weren’t giving Sam Howell much of a chance. Howell, however, was benched twice, so the experiment might be over. The Redskins will strongly consider a new franchise quarterback with this pick.
Drake Maye is an athletic quarterback with good accuracy and field vision. His mechanics need a bit of work, but he’s still an elite quarterback prospect.
Round 2: Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas
The Redskins should find an upgrade over Logan Thomas sometime soon.
Ja’Tavion Sanders has mismatch athleticism and speed.
Round 2: Marist Liufau, LB, Notre Dame
The Redskins can use the pick they obtained for Montez Sweat to bolster their weak linebacking corps, which has been a problem for a long time.
Marist Liufau is an extremely athletic and fast linebacker.
It was a brutal season for the Commanders, yet bottoming out will be tremendous for them in the long run. Picking second overall in this draft (on top of competent ownership) makes their front office and coaching staff openings much more attractive.
Whoever lands those roles will walk away with the best available quarterback at this selection. Maye’s size and ability to throw with touch and consistent accuracy makes him a no-brainer as the future of this franchise.
As tantalizing as the idea of adding Jayden Daniels would be, I’m sticking with Maye here. A lot could change based on who gets hired to coach the team, and by then, Michael Penix and Jayden Daniels could get in the mix.
The Commanders need a franchise quarterback, Maye is a pretty great consolation prize for missing out on the No. 1 pick. He has an elite arm and All-Pro upside.
It seems like Sam Howell’s time as the Commanders’ starting quarterback has reached its end. He would have been benched this week if not for an injury to Jacoby Brissett, who had replaced him off the bench in the previous two games. I think Howell deserves a shot again, perhaps with some better protection, but that chance should not come in D.C. now that the Commanders are slated to draft No. 2. Ironically, Maye would once again replace Howell. The redshirt-sophomore took over at quarterback when Howell left for the NFL. Over the past two years, he has dazzled with his arm strength and physicality. He has some worrying lapses in judgment on film, but his talent is undeniable.
Not the worst consolation prize after missing out on the trade for first overall. The Commanders don’t have to part ways with a ton of future assets, and they bring in Drake Maye to be the new franchise quarterback for an organization looking to turn over a new leaf next year. With new ownership and likely a new coach, Washington goes full reset with a new QB too.
The Commanders waste no time turning in the card for Drake Maye. The North Carolina alum is tall, accurate, and boasts deceptive ability as a runner. He’s the perfect piece for whatever regime takes over in D.C.
With New England stacking wins, the Washington Commanders get a welcome Christmas gift in the second overall pick, which they use to select franchise quarterback Drake Maye.
New ownership, new coaching staff, and a new QB make this an exciting time for a Washington fan base desperate for hope.
Round 2: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma
Washington got its quarterback and now has to protect him. The Commanders found a stud in right guard Sam Cosmi in 2021, and adding Oklahoma right tackle Tyler Guyton would lock down that right side. Guyton is a bit raw with technique, so he falls to the second here, but he is an incredible athlete with rare traits.
Round 2: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
Washington has fielded the worst passing defense in the NFL this year, and its corner room has been the biggest culprit. To make matters worse, Kendall Fuller is a pending free agent in the offseason. The Commanders should invest early and often into that unit by nabbing Kamari Lassiter.
Washington’s new regime will look at every position to decide how to proceed. Sam Howell threw 21 touchdowns and 21 interceptions this year. He showed plenty of upside, but there’s work to do. The Commanders also draft his heir in college to take over for him in the NFL.
Many believe that Drake Maye is a better prospect than Caleb Williams, but it will ultimately come down to what teams think. If they view Maye as a better fit, then he’ll go above Williams. His arm talent cannot be denied, and he’s an underrated runner that helps him pick up yards and get out of collapsing pockets.
Sam Howell has been a fun player, but this situation is a nice anecdote for life. Don’t let the average get in the way of the good, and never let good get in the way of great. Even if Howell proved to be an average NFL starter (debatable at best), Drake Maye‘s physical talent far surpasses Howell’s potential.
Playing behind a papier-mâché offensive line for two years forced Maye into quick processing. While that process remains imperfect, he’s beyond Williams in that arena.
But Maye is no statue in the pocket, either. He’s more than athletic enough to be a consistent weapon on the ground both as a scrambling passer and runner or on designed option runs.
With the Commanders making big changes, going with a new quarterback makes the most sense.
Round 2: JT Tuimoloau, EDGE, Ohio State
Round 2: Troy Fatanu, OT, Washington
It would be fitting for the Commanders to replace Howell with the man who replaced him at North Carolina. Maye showed off his dynamic ability over the last two seasons, including 24 touchdown passes and nine rushing touchdowns in 2023. He has the size and arm strength of a top overall pick.
This is a no-brainer pick for the Washington Commanders. Unless they get an unspeakably insane haul for the No. 2 pick, they should hold still and select Drake Maye, who is likely going to be there at No. 2 for them. Maye seems to compares nicely to Justin Herbert at the next level. Maye is an insane athlete who can truly make any throw on the football field, and he’s also huge.
Maye might be the best overall QB prospect in a while.
Caleb Williams, QB, USC
Washington will have a new head coach, a new general manager and an owner looking to jumpstart an organization that has had eight straight losing seasons. It has to get the quarterback right, and while Caleb Williams is my QB1, he will have competition. And if the Commanders think they have their guy, they’ll trade up to get him — even if it’s just one spot — before someone else does.
TRADE DETAILS: Washington sends No. 2, No. 41, 2025 first-rounder to Chicago for No. 1 overall pick.
Washington has been looking for a franchise quarterback for a while now, and they get one with Caleb Williams. Having a talent like Caleb Williams at quarterback could turn Washington into a contender immediately.
Things are bad in Washington, and while the Commanders would really benefit from adding a franchise tackle here, their quarterback situation is untenable. Their best quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, is a pending free agent. Their 2023 starter, Sam Howell, was a disaster.
Now a fresh head coach gets to take advantage of one of the more promising resets in the NFL and mold an offense in his image. Williams isn’t without his flaws, but he’s an explosive playmaker who can thrive off-book or execute an early game script with aplomb.
Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
Ron Rivera is gone, and the Commanders are in search of a new coach. With the way Sam Howell closed out the season, the new brass will want its own quarterback to build around.
Daniels completed 72 percent of his passes in 2023 for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns and four interceptions. He notched 10 rushing touchdowns as well. Daniels is a dual-threat quarterback who showed improvement as a passer throughout the 2022 season with LSU. He has a quality arm and is a dangerous runner with shocking speed. While he has plenty of room for growth, he became more consistent with pocket-passing accuracy and reading the field as he gained experience. Team sources feel that Brian Kelly did a nice job of developing Daniels.
Daniels completed 69 percent of his passes in 2022 for 2,913 yards, 17 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also went for 885 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. While playing for Arizona State in 2021, Daniels completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,380 yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He was impressive in 2019, showing playmaking ability as a passer and runner while producing points for the Sun Devils, but he did not look as good in the short 2020 season.
Round 2: J.T. Tuimoloau, DE, Ohio State
After trading away Chase Young and Montez Sweat, Washington needs more young defensive end talent.
Tuimoloau totaled 38 tackles, five sacks and two passes broken up in 2023. As a redshirt freshman in 2022, Tuimoloau (6-4, 270) turned in a good season for the Buckeyes, showing an ability to produce big plays. He recorded 28 tackles, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, two interceptions and two passes broken up on the year.
Patrick Paul, OT, Houston
The Commanders need more offensive line talent.
The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Paul has starter ability for the NFL with good size, length, quickness and athleticism. Paul will enter the next level with a lot of experience after breaking into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2021. Paul has upside, ability and versatility.
Surprise! Jayden Daniels is the second quarterback off the board, not Drake Maye.
Daniels had an incredible 2023 season — he was the most dynamic quarterback in all college football. The Washington Commanders desperately need someone to make them exciting again, and Daniels could certainly do that.
Maybe the new owners in Washington will decide to be prudent and choose to take arguably the best dual-threat from this draft class. Throughout the arduous and meticulous draft process, it’s possible Daniels (2023 Heisman Trophy Winner) emerges as a better pro option than North Carolina’s Drake Maye. This past season, Daniels passed for 3812 passing yards with 40 touchdown passes while running for 1134 rushing yards and 10 rushing scores.
Which player should the Washington Commanders take in the 1st round?
This poll is closed
QB Drake Maye
QB Caleb Williams
QB Jayden Daniels