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Commanders NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Mel Kiper Jr. goes QB again for Washington

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By: Scott Jennings

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

What do the mockers think Washington needs next year?

The 2023-24 season is over, and everyone is in offseason mode. We’ve had some college all-star games, but now it’s time for the big show in Indianapolis. Teams, players, and agents are at the NFL Scouting Combine this week, and will be measuring, interviewing, and working out as they prepare for this year’s draft in April. Free agency also starts in less than two weeks, and the Washington Commanders will have the most cap space available in the league.

GM Adam Peters and HC Dan Quinn both spoke to the media in Indianapolis yesterday, but they didn’t give up much useful information. Washington holds the 2nd overall pick, and the focus has been on quarterbacks. Peters will also have options to trade down and acquire more picks to start recalibrating a team that went 4-13 last season under Ron Rivera.

Mel Kiper Jr is back with his second mock draft of the year, and he is sticking with LSU QB Jayden Daniels for the Washington Commanders at #2. Daniels is considered one of the top 3 QBs in this draft, and has been moving ahead of UNC’s Drake Maye on a lot of people’s boards. Maye is still the favorite selection for Washington in this week’s roundup, but Daniels continues to gain momentum.

There are only two other options this week, and both of them involve a trade down. Washington gets their left tackle of the future, Penn States Olu Fashanu after trading with the Atlanta Falcons to drop to #8. Another trade down doesn’t provide the Commanders pick, but the move down with the New York Giants gives them four picks this year, and one next year so Big Blue can move up to #2 to select QB Drake Maye.


Washington Commanders 2024 NFL Draft picks*

Round 1(#2)

Round 2(#36)

Round 2 (#40 from CHI)

Round 3 (#67)

Round 3 (#101 from SF)

Round 4 (#103)

Round 5 (#138)

Round 6 (#181)

Round 7 (#220)

(*Projected via Tankathon)


Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

NFL.com(Jeremiah)

I’m sure Washington will have attractive trade offers for this pick, but new general manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn get their quarterback of the future.

NFL.com(Parr)

The Commanders explore moving up to reunite Caleb Williams with OC Kliff Kingsbury, but the asking price is too rich for a team with plenty of other needs. Maye gives Washington a foundation to build on.

NFL.com(Filice)

The QB2 question is fertile ground in this pre-draft process, and I expect several twists and turns as the debate rages on over the next two months. In the moment, it feels like Jayden Daniels is gaining steam in some draftnik circles, but I still suspect this is at least partially because the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is the shiny new object to evaluate after his breakthrough season at LSU. Essentially, Maye has become old hat. Which is funny, given that he’s actually two years younger than Daniels.

The Athletic

Whatever noise the rumor mill spits out over the next few weeks, don’t assume the Commanders’ new football leaders have already reached a consensus. Due diligence requires consideration of trading up to secure Williams, a D.C. area native, or moving down — a significant haul would accelerate the current roster “recalibration,” as coach Dan Quinn described it. However, the most likely outcome is choosing between Maye and LSU QB Jayden Daniels. We’ll go with the younger of the two (Maye is 21, Daniels is 23) with the prototypical size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) and arm talent, and familiarity with a version of the “Air Raid” system new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury runs.

USA Today(Middlehurst-Schwartz)

Here’s what new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury said in his introductory news conference when asked about what he would look for in a quarterback: “When money’s on the table, you gotta be able to make some plays with your feet, move around enough to escape a bad play.” Both Maye and LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels fit that bill, and Washington’s decision here could shape the rest of the draft. For now, it’s too hard to envision this new regime passing up a rocket-armed playmaker like Maye given the group’s focus on building for the long haul.

33rd Team(Livesay)

There has been a lot of discussion regarding who will be the second quarterback drafted during the last few weeks. As talented as Jayden Daniels is, if Williams is the first overall pick, Drake Maye should be the second quarterback off the board and the new signal-caller in Washington. Maye makes a strong case for QB1, and the impact he can make with his legs and his arm can make the Washington offense more consistent in 2024 and beyond.

Round 2: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Round 2: T.J. Tampa, CB, Iowa State

Round 3: Cedric Gray, LB, UNC

Round 3: Devontez Walker, WR, UNC

CBS Sports(Podell)

It’s new regime in Washington. General manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn look to kick off their franchise-altering draft class that includes six of the first 102 picks with their face-of-the-franchise QB. Maye was the only FBS player with 7,000-plus passing yards and 1,000-plus rushing yards in the past two seasons.

Sporting News(Iyer)

Maye is battling to be the second QB taken thanks to his arm and accuracy, which give him a high floor in the NFL. The Commanders still have a tough choice between Maye and the more dynamic Heisman winner, Jayden Daniels.

Round 2: Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington

The Commanders need to rebuild their pass rush after trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Getting the productive Trice is a good foundation for Dan Quinn’s defense.

Round 2: Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama

Braswell would be the ideal rookie complement to Bralen Trice as a well-rounded playmaker whose athleticism was a little overshadowed by Dallas Turner in college.

NBC Sports Philadelphia(Zangaro)

If the Bears aren’t sold on Williams, then the door is open for the Commanders to trade up and get him. But if the Bears stick at 1, then the Commanders can take the next best quarterback. That’s Maye. Now, some will make the case for Jayden Daniels but I have the Commanders sticking with the big Tar Heel, who they hope will become the type of franchise quarterback they’ve been missing.

Draft Network(Fowler)

Time will tell as to what Washington ultimately does here, but I don’t envision them getting cute if they stay and take a QB. The popular pick is LSU’s Jayden Daniels. Still, conversations within league circles have reiterated that OC Kliff Kingsbury isn’t looking to utilize a QB as a major portion of his run game—thus detaching Washington from Daniels. Maye is immediately the most talented QB Washington has had since taking Robert Griffin III back in 2012.

Pro Football Network(Broback)

New leadership most likely means a new franchise player in Washington, and they have options with their pick. Sam Howell still has plenty of good football ahead of him, but will it be with the Commanders? If the answer is no, then the fanbase should prepare for the Drake Maye era.

With the skill position talent on the roster, the Commanders are in a good place offensively if they can get the right guy throwing the ball. Maye can make every throw.

Touchdown Wire(Miller)

The Commanders have been searching desperately for their answer at quarterback for seemingly a decade now and are finally in a position to pick a top ranked one here at the number two selection. Drake Maye is an elite playmaker with all the tools you could want out of a franchise quarterback. Washington fans can finally rest easy knowing their answer is on the roster.

Fox Sports(Klatt)

Tankathon


Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

E$PN+(Kiper)

I’m sticking with Daniels here over Drake Maye (North Carolina), though it’s tight. Several NFL teams have Maye over Daniels on their boards two months out from the start of Round 1. I love Daniels’ fit with new Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who will run a wide-open offense and put his quarterback in the best position to succeed. Washington already has two really good (and young) wideouts in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, so Daniels and Kingsbury would be able to start quickly.

Daniels made a massive leap during his time at LSU, developing into a top-tier passer and runner. I can’t wait to watch him at the next level.

NFL.com(Brooks)

New GM Adam Peters could opt for an experienced quarterback prospect to help resurrect the franchise. Daniels’ steady growth as a five-year college starter (55 games) could make him a safer selection than other QB options at No. 2 overall.

CBS Sports(Wilson/Spielman)

Ryan Wilson: Jayden Daniels over Drake Maye as new Commanders OC Kliff Kingsbury gets to work with another dual-threat QB in the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

CBS Sports (Edwards)

Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury’s background leads me to believe that he would be more interested in the more mobile Jayden Daniels rather than Drake Maye. Kingsbury would probably prefer Caleb Williams because of his background working with him at USC, but surrendering so much draft capital in a trade is counterproductive to the team’s rebuild.

CBS Sports (Trapasso)

Kliff Kingsbury gets to go from working with Williams at USC to another Heisman-winning quarterback in his rookie season in the NFL.

Pro Football Network(Cummings)

It’s a tight race between Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye for this pick. Maye is higher on my board, but Daniels could be the superior fit for Kliff Kingsbury’s vertical spread attack.

Daniels has familiarity with spread looks from his time at LSU and is a deep ball merchant with rare timing and accuracy. His turbocharged athleticism is just the cherry on top.

2nd Round: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Whether the Commanders decide to play him at tackle or guard, they can feel confident knowing they have a physical, athletic, synergetic, and powerful presence in Troy Fautanu.

2nd Round: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Xavier Worthy’s speed is superlative in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’ll not only gain chemistry with Daniels and feed into his big-play propensity but also have a gravitational effect on other WRs with his sharp route running.

2nd Round: Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington

Trade: Commanders receive No. 61 pick, Lions receive No. 67 pick, No. 137 pick, 2025 fourth-round pick

Needing an EDGE presence, Dan Quinn and Co. make a slight trade up for Bralen Trice — a powerful rusher with some of the most consistent production over the past two years.

Round 3: James Williams, S/LB, Miami (FL)

James Williams could be a superb chess piece in Dan Quinn’s scheme, with the ability to man up TEs and serve as a sledgehammer in the box with his size and explosiveness.

Pro Football Network(Catalina)

There are reports that Dan Quinn and the Commanders are doing extensive research on the Heisman Trophy winner. The stack between the top three QBs can go a multitude of different ways, with differences of opinion on the No. 2 and No. 3 prospects changing depending on the team.

In this case, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and Quinn adds an intriguing prospect in Jayden Daniels to start his tenure in the nation’s capital.

Draft Network(Weissman)

I have Drake Maye above Jayden Daniels by a decent margin but in this mock, I am trying to make predictions based on not just my personal rankings. I believe Daniels could be a better fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s spread offense. Daniels is a special runner with the football and has very good touch and ball placement down the field.

Walter Football(Campbell)

The new Washington regime can start fresh with its own quarterback. Considering Kliff Kingsbury has been hired as the offensive coordinator, I could see the Commanders preferring Jayden Daniels over Drake Maye.

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 said they feel 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: Graham Barton, OT/G, Duke

The Commanders need a lot of help on the offensive line. Here’s a plug-and-play upgrade who could help them at tackle, guard or center.

Barton played left tackle for Duke, where he was a consistent run blocker and pass protector. Pro evaluators like how Barton is physical, nasty and strong in the ground game. Some NFL sources, however, said their teams are projecting Barton to move inside to guard in the pros, and some scouts noted they think Barton could be an elite center. Sources highlighted Barton’s short arms and his body type as aspects that make him a fit better on the inside. The 6-foot-5, 314-pounder could a superb guard or center in the NFL.

Round 2: Darius Robinson, DT, Missouri

The Commanders need multiple additions on the edge of the defensive line to replace Montez Sweat and Chase Young.

Robinson (6-5, 296) was a really solid football player for the Tigers in 2023, recording 43 tackles, 8.5 sacks and a forced fumbles. With good height, length, weight, and strong Robinson offers the flexibility to play some defensive end or tackle at the pro level. He could be a power base end who moves inside to defensive tackle in the sub package. Robinson is a good player who would be a first-rounder if he had speed and more juice. The lack of explosion had teams grading Robinson on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Round 3: Tommy Eichenberg, LB, Ohio State

The Commanders could use more young linebacker talent.

In 2023, Eichenberg totaled 80 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He broke out in 2022, recording 120 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one interception and three passes broken up. Eichenberg is a solid run defender with a strong build. The 6-foot-2, 239-pounder has enough pass-coverage skills to develop into a possible starter in the NFL.

DraftTek

Round 2: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia

Round 2: Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama

Round 3: Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

Round 3: Cade Stover, TE, Ohio State

NFL Draft FN(Easterling)


Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

CBS Sports(Fornelli)

In this scenario, the Commanders had their hearts set on Williams, and once he’s off the board, they decide to move down. The Falcons are more than happy to accommodate and swoop in to get the quarterback they hope can lead an offense with plenty of talent. Like every rookie QB, the reigning Heisman winner has kinks to work out, but his talent is enticing.

Like Latham, Fashanu is a better pass-blocker than run-blocker, but Latham is further ahead in that aspect, so I have him slightly ahead of Fashanu now. That said, I love Olu, an outstanding pass-blocker who is strong enough to hold up against a power rusher and athletic enough to move quickly and counter speed rushers. He also does an excellent job of diagnosing threats pre-snap and adjusting after the snap.


Trade down

NFL Spin Zone(Scataglia)

Washington Commanders Receive 6th, 39th, 47th, 70th Overall Picks and 2025 4th Round Pick

New York Giants Receive 2nd Overall Pick

Yes, the Commanders were somehow able to get this much. Now to be fair, if there was a scenario where the Giants did want to trade up with the Commanders, they would have to give up a ton as both teams are in the same division. With this pick, the Giants will select Drake Maye from UNC, giving them a legitimate player who can be the franchise QB.

Daniel Jones ends up just being empty calories in New York for a year as Maye comes in and cements himself as the QB1, giving the Giants an incredibly expensive backup QB. The decision to extend Jones was a horrid one from the beginning, and the Giants recognize that when drafting Maye.


Originally posted on Hogs Haven