Perfect Picks 2024: Washington Commanders

By Joshua Edwards

All change please in Washington. Ron Rivera’s tenure is over, and the stench of Daniel Snyder’s reign of error is gradually subsiding. New GM Adam Peters has been very active in free agency since he took the job. In fact, there’s only three guys drafted before 2021 left on the roster – Terry McLaurin, Daron Payne and Jon Allen. 

The team might be full of holes, but Washington has six picks in the top 100, as well as second overall. Here’s our take on what Peters and company could start building in 2024.

Round 1 - Jayden Daniels, Quarterback, LSU

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The Sam Howell experiment is over. At times flashy, and always gutsy, Howell nevertheless regressed markedly in the second part of the season, finishing up with the most picks and most sacks among all QBs. Washington signed Marcus Mariota on a one-year backup deal and are all set to draft a QB here with the second pick. 

Heisman winner Jayden Daniels fits the bill. The LSU product has poise, a quick-release and is more accurate than sometimes given credit for. He stacks up very favourably against recent prospects and it will be hard to turn down such a high-calibre player with such a high ceiling. Ultimately though, it is his elite athleticism, and therefore escapability, that leads me to think Kliff Kingsbury, Washington’s new OC, will prefer him to Drake Maye.

Round 2 - TJ Tampa, Cornerback, Iowa State

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Washington needs corner help (again). Kendall Fuller signed in Miami last week and the secondary has not been a focus of the past two regimes, both of whom tried to build a defense from the line backwards (without much success). A more analytics-driven approach under new owner Josh Harris suggests that the Commanders might look to address corner more aggressively and, hopefully, with more success. 

TJ Tampa is worthy of either of Washington’s two second round picks. The Iowa State senior played both sides of the ball at Lakewood High School in California, and after emerging as a full-time starter for the Cyclones, amassed over 1300 snaps in the past two seasons. He projects as an all-rounder at the position, strong and long enough to play outside but twitchy and fast enough to cover slot receivers, too. A strong, aggressive tackler in the open field, he fits new DC Joe Whitt Jr’s philosophy.

Mid Round Gem - Javon Baker, Wide Receiver, UCF

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Last year the WR room in Washington was seen as a strength. Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel was a trio that, on paper, would see a tonne of production. It didn’t work out that way, with a sophomore slump for Dotson and Samuel signing with Buffalo in free agency after a season marred by injury and inconsistency.

To that end, it wouldn’t be surprising for Washington to target at least one wideout with its plethora of picks. I like Javon Baker out of UCF as a mid-round guy. Baker was anonymous in Alabama at the start of his college career, outshined by Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and Jameson Williams. Taking advantage of the transfer portal, he ended up at UCF, where he made an immediate impact in 2022, notching 56 catches for 796 yards and five touchdowns. In 2023 he built on that further, eclipsing his yardage (1,139) and touchdown (7) totals. He’s an incredibly strong and competitive receiver with good short-twitch speed and violent, snappy line-work. He lacks in top end speed and explosiveness, which is why he might be available in the 5th round.

Late Round Sleeper - Tanner McLachlan, Tight End, Arizona

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Tight ends are key in Kliff Kingsbury’s system and Zach Ertz, signed in free agency, is unlikely to be around for long. The Commanders will need to draft a tight end as a project at the least. I like Tanner McLachlan out of Arizona as a late round sleeper. McLachlan needs to do some work physically – long armed and rather lanky, he was a high-school high jump champion, and it shows. But, in spite of running a pretty limited route tree at Arizona, he is no forlorn hope for the pros – 45 catches for 530 yards and 4 TDs as a senior is good going, especially when considering he had a QB rating when targeted of 91.6.

Draft in full

Round 1 – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Round 2 – TJ Tampa, CB, Iowa State

Round 2 – Chris Braswell, Edge, Alabama

Round 3 – Jonathon Brooks, RB, Texas

Round 3 – Junior Colson, LB, Michigan

Round 3 – Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale

Round 5 – Javon Baker, WR, UCF

Round 5 – Malik Mustapha, S, Wake Forest

Round 7 – Tanner McLachlan, TE, Arizona

Joshua Edwards