We’re down to four teams in the playoffs, and the Conference Championships will be played on Sunday. The Washington Commanders have the 2nd overall pick, and a new general manager in Adam Peters. He is in the process of finding the team’s next head coach, and they will work together, along with managing partner Josh Harris, to rebuild the franchise. That could start with finding their quarterback of the future at the top of the first round.
Ron Rivera was fired after his fourth year as the head coach, and head decision maker, of the Washington Commanders. He was still looking for his first winning season with the team, and went all in on second-year QB Sam Howell who had previously only started on game in the NFL, a Week 18 win over the Dallas Cowboys to end the 2023 season. Rivera also bet big on former Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy as the replacement for Scott Turner. The Sam Howell experiment had its highlight reel moments, but came crashing down hard and fast over the last 6 weeks of the season.
Peters and his new head coach will likely have their choice of at least two of the top three QBs in the draft. There is also the option to trade up with the Chicago Bears to #1 overall to get their guy. Caleb Williams has been projected by many as the top QB in this draft, and we have one mock that makes that trade up a reality. Drake Maye is the most popular option for mock drafters trying to predict the draft. He has generally been considered the #2 QB, but there is another young quarterback that could overtake him for that spot by the time the draft rolls around in Detroit on April 25th.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft of the year today, after posting a video explaining his picks yesterday. He goes with the QB option that is #3 in a lot of people’s rankings. LSU’s Jayden Daniels won the Heisman Trophy following his final college season. He has been in the conversation for the top of the 1st round, but now he’s in competition with Williams and Maye for the top QB in the draft. There are a lot of questions about Daniels build and playing style, but he is a dynamic QB that would likely give Washington fans RG3 flashbacks. Kiper cited Daniel’s improvement this season, and Maye’s inconsistency with the Tar Heels.
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)
Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
(Commanders pick explanation at 12:50)
The Commanders have a much more straightforward decision than the Bears. Sam Howell, who led the league in interceptions in 2023, is not the guy. They have to take a quarterback in a draft that has a clear top tier of three signal-callers: Williams, Daniels and Drake Maye (North Carolina). There’s a drop-off in the class after that. With Washington getting an opportunity to take the No. 2 quarterback here, why did I go with Daniels?
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner improved so much in 2023, throwing 40 touchdown passes to just four interceptions while going up against a tough SEC schedule. In December, I went deep on his strengths, weaknesses and future, so you can see my full thoughts on his game there. The bottom line is it’s tight between Daniels and Maye on my board, but Daniels would be an tremendous fit for a Washington roster that has some young playmakers on offense. Maye’s inconsistency at the end of the season is enough for me to put Daniels at No. 2. The reality, though, is the Commanders just hired their new general manager and still don’t have a coach, so there’s a lot to figure out about which direction they go.
It’ll be interesting to see how these quarterbacks fall this year. One that is certainly on the rise is Jayden Daniels from LSU. He’s got the desired mobility to extend plays beyond the pocket but he doesn’t always need to do that. There are plenty of throws on tape where he stands tall and looks confident as ever in the pocket. The ball really jumps out of his hand when throwing it deep and he showed that when he’s got NFL talent around him, he can deliver positive results on a high level. He’ll need to get stronger to withstand the contact he’ll see in the but seeing him withstand two seasons in the SEC is a positive sign for NFL decision makers.
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.
The Commanders can bring the Washington, D.C., native home should the Bears pass and get a desired franchise QB option for their looming new coaching staff after they hit the wall with overwhelmed Sam Howell. Williams, despite some disappointment to end his Trojans career, remains the complete dual-threat dynamo and worthy team leader.
Caleb Williams waited until the last minute to enter the draft, but there was no doubt where he was headed. Washington’s new staff must identify their quarterback of the future, and they do so in this 2024 NFL Mock Draft.
Williams joins an offense that can be electric at times, but they need a consistent quarterback to help the talent around him. Williams can make some special plays, which will help when the pocket breaks down around him. He also could be the first player taken in the draft, so the Commanders are happy to see him drop.
While I had Drake Maye going before Caleb Williams in the first two mocks, I have Washington sticking with Williams here. He has the highest upside of any passer in the draft and should gel well with their receivers.
The Commanders would be excited to see Williams fall, no matter how it happens, as he’s probably a better system fit than Maye based on the team’s current offensive skill group.
If the former Heisman winner is still here at the second pick, he’ll be headed to the nation’s capital. Washington has spent decades looking for a franchise-defining quarterback, and they have the receiving core to help ease the former Trojan into the NFL.
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
It’s a new era in Washington led by general manager Adam Peters. The Commanders find their quarterback of the future in Maye.
The Commanders could take Maye and sit him behind his former North Carolina teammate, Sam Howell, until he is ready to assume control as the franchise quarterback. Maye offers immense talent and potential, but with only two years of starting experience at UNC, he would benefit from an apprenticeship before taking over as QB1 down the road.
Recently hired Adam Peters has taken over all football decisions for Washington and has a chance to flip things quickly with three picks in the top 40.
Obviously, this selection will depend on what the Bears do. Will it be as simple as drafting whoever doesn’t go No. 1 between Williams and Maye? Very possible. Maye is a fantastic consolation prize and has the talent to develop into a top-10 NFL quarterback.
Round 2: Patrick Paul, OT, Houston
The Commanders landed their franchise quarterback in the first round and use this pick to help protect him. At 6-7, 310 with 36 1/2-inch arms, Paul is massive with functional movements ready to be coached. His older brother, Chris Paul, is already on the roster (seven starts at left guard in 2023), so the Commanders could roll out a brotherly tackle-guard combo.
Round 2: Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota
Minnesota’s all-time leader in interceptions, Nubin is an alert, athletic safety who plays like a wide receiver when the ball is in the air. If the Commanders don’t re-sign Kamren Curl, Nubin would be a perfect replacement.
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.
The quarterback who took over for Sam Howell in Chapel Hill also happens to the be one to take over his starting job in the NFL. Howell has staying power in the NFL as a backup, but his range of outcomes on a play-by-play basis is too volatile to solidify his long-term standing.
The Washington Commanders will be all in on QB2 in this draft class unless someone blows them away with a trade offer. The Commanders will likely stay put and draft their new franchise quarterback.
Washington fans may be scared off by the UNC ties with Sam Howell, but Maye is a much cleaner quarterback prospect with high-end traits as a passer and runner.
Round 2: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
Round 2: Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota
Taking a talented signal caller with franchise potential might be the shift in the direction new ownership in Washington pursues. Maye checks off a lot of boxes, possessing the requisite NFL size (6’4” - 230 lbs), solid accuracy (career 64.9 percent), and a touchdown/interception ratio of 63 to 16.
Sam Howell showed flashes of potential, but Washington’s new management is going to spend this pick on a new franchise passer with way more upside. Much like Williams, Maye had an up-and-down 2023 campaign, but still has all the tools to be a superstar.
The Washington Commanders’ rebuild under Adam Peters could hit all the right marks in team building, but if they don’t get a QB, it’s all moot. Luckily, Drake Maye is my 2024 NFL Draft QB1. He’s an elite physical talent who can create off-script but also knows how to use his leverage IQ, anticipation, and pocket navigation skills to elevate the scheme.
Round 2: Patrick Paul, OT, Houston
Patrick Paul joins his brother Chris Paul on Washington’s offensive line in this 2024 NFL Mock Draft. Paul’s 36″ arms not only present an elite conduit for power but also make him nearly impossible to work around, and he could feasibly play left or right tackle.
Round 2: Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota
What Washington needs more than anything on defense is a stabilizing presence. Tyler Nubin can be that player on the back end with his football IQ, fluidity, and playmaking ability, and he has the versatility to come downhill in support.
It will surprise no one when the Commanders take a QB with their first pick. With a new ownership group in place and their first crack at doing the draft and the offseason their way, look for the Commanders’ new regime to look for a signal-caller they can bring into the future.
With Williams going a pick earlier, they take who they deem to be the next best option and grab Drake Maye with very little hesitation. With good size, ability, and arm strength, Maye is a quality pick for a Washington team looking to change the fortunes of a franchise.
At this point, nobody should be questioning what direction Washington should or will take in the NFL Draft. They need a quarterback. As entertaining as Sam Howell was, he didn’t show enough to secure the title of franchise QB.
Drake Maye has the size and athletic ability of a premiere blue-chip quarterback prospect. However, the UNC offense also required him to operate quickly because if he did not, he wouldn’t have survived behind the Tar Heels’ offensive line.
There’s been chatter about how Drake Maye is not as entrenched as QB2 as it may seem, but I am not buying that. Maye played with a weak supporting cast this year and therefore struggled at times, but the talent is extremely easy to see. Maye has a big arm, has touch and accuracy, and is an excellent athlete. Sign me up.
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. If Washington is successful at landing Ben Johnson, Drake Maye would be a great scheme fit.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Maye has good size and is very accurate, especially working the middle of the field. He lofts balls well, showing touch and throwing his receivers open. On top of his passing ability, he can make some things happen with his feet and has some mobility. Maye could be a lethal pocket passer in the NFL. Some sources have said Maye could be a more athletic version of Jared Goff.
In 2023, Maye completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,608 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also notched nine rushing touchdowns. Maye exploded onto the college-football scene as a redshirt freshman, showing serious arm talent. In 2022, he completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,321 yards, 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Round 2: Julian Pearl, OT, Illinois
The Commanders could stand to take advantage of a great class of offensive tackle talent and double up at the position in the second round.
Pearl started at right tackle and left tackle for the Illini over the past three seasons. He broke into the starting lineup on the right side during the 2020 season. Over the past few seasons, Pearl was at left tackle. The 6-foot-6, 315-pounder has versatile size alongside quickness and athleticism.
Patrick Paul, OT, Houston
The Commanders need multiple additions to upgrade their offensive line talent.
The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Paul has starter ability for the NFL with good size, length, quickness and athleticism. He 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, talent and versatility.
Wow. This is all happening so fast! A generation of Washington fans have never believed that there would come a time that Dan Snyder would give up control of the team, yet here we are, landing the top available GM as the cherry on top of our new-owner sundae. Adam Peters has presided over the 49ers draft (officially) since 2017 and has been instrumental in building arguably the best roster in football.
Now, questions can be asked about his first round picks (Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster, Mike McGlinchey, and of course their three-first round QB Trey Lance), but his mid to late round prowess has built incredible depth for San Francisco. Stars like Dre Greenlaw, Fred Warner and George Kittle were all drafted in the third round or later. Peter was clearly also involved in bringing in key stars like Trent Williams and Christian McCaffrey.
Step one was getting Snyder out, step two is getting a GM, and the Skins have accomplished both. Next up? Hire the right coach and pick the right QB at #2 in April. Then, hopefully rebrand (again).
As JP Finlay stated after the Peters hire, ‘In about seven months, the Josh Harris ownership group has turned Washington from NFL pariah to NFL destination. That’s remarkable.’ Remarkable indeed. The future is bright(er), Washington fans!
Round 2: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo
Round 2: Jackson Powers-Johnson, OC, Oregon
The first two selections in the 2024 NFL Draft are likely going to be Williams and Drake Maye. Maye is arguably the best all-around QB prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, and new Commanders’ GM Adam Peters should be ecstatic when this selection eventually happens. Second-year QB Sam Howell simply is not the long-term answer.
Round 2: Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington
Round 2: Graham Barton, OT, Duke
New ownership, New GM, new head coach, new QB. The Commanders bring in Drake Maye to be the new franchise quarterback for an organization looking to turn over a new leaf next year. I’m intrigued to see if they push for a trade-up to the top spot, but as of now, I think it’s Maye that they end up with as their signal caller next year.
Drake Maye brings a safer floor than Williams, thanks to his prototypical size and pinpoint accuracy within structure. The Commanders have a new ownership group, a fresh front office, and a soon-to-be updated coaching staff. Maye is the ideal choice to begin a rebuild.
Which players should the Washington Commanders take in the 1st round?
This poll is closed
QB Drake Maye
QB Caleb Williams
QB Jayden Daniels