Commanders are in line to take a quarterback with the NFL draft's 2nd pick

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The previous time Washington had the second pick in the NFL draft, the previous regime passed on taking a quarterback in favor of a pass rusher who as a local product could have been the face of the franchise.

That did not work out, and now the Commanders are back at No. 2 with different people in charge and a big decision to make. Expecting Chicago to take USC’s Caleb Williams with the first pick, the Commanders are expected to draft their QB of the future Thursday night, choosing between LSU's Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels, North Carolina's Drake Maye and Michigan's national champion J.J. McCarthy in the hopes of finally finding the organization's solution at the most important position in football.

“We’re real close (to deciding),” new general manager Adam Peters said Thursday. “I will say this also: You don’t really need to make a decision until you need to make a decision, so there’s no rush with that. But I think we’ll have a pretty good idea what we’re doing early next week.”

Trading down and stockpiling assets could have been an option for Washington given the holes to fill all over a roster being overhauled from top to bottom, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

“We feel great about staying at No. 2,” Peters said. “I don’t see a whole lot of scenarios where we trade down, to be honest with you. Yeah, we feel great about sticking there.”

Whether it’s a rookie, veteran backup Marcus Mariota or journeyman Jeff Driskel, Washington will have an eighth different Week 1 starting QB in as many seasons, following the trade of Sam Howell to Seattle. Daniels is the favorite, according to BetMGM Sportsbook, with Maye next and longer odds for McCarthy.

“If they choose quarterback, we’ll get one of the elite guys,” top receiver Terry McLaurin said. “Obviously, I don’t know. They don’t ask me. My job is when they get here to kind of help bring them along as much as I can because we’ll go as far as the quarterback goes.”


This is a crucial draft for the short and long-term future, given the Commanders' many needs all over offense and defense.

Offensive line, particularly left tackle, is the biggest void after the release of two-year starter Charles Leno. Trading up for a second first-round pick, which Peters acknowledged was possible, could help Washington get Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga, Alabama’s JC Latham or Penn State’s Olu Fashanu — all considered first-round prospects.

“I think it’s pretty universally known it’s a really good tackle class, a deep tackle class,” Peters said. “We got a chance to visit with a lot of them. ... We’re really excited about that group."

But even if Washington uses the second pick on a QB, it has five more on Day 2: Nos. 36 and 40 in round 2 and Nos. 67, 78 and 100 in round 3.

“The quality of the picks, at the top of the rounds, just the real high quality level of the picks, especially those top six, really allow us to make a dramatic impact on our roster right away,” assistant GM Lance Newmark said.

Wide receiver with Curtis Samuel gone, cornerback with Kendall Fuller gone and safety with Kam Curl gone are all positions worth watching for. Oh, and trading 2020 No. 2 pick Chase Young and Montez Sweat last season left the Commanders with a dearth of talent on the edge.


Defensive tackle is set with Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and 2022 second-round pick Phidarian Mathis providing plenty of bulk inside on the trenches. Peters has said he's not interested in trading Allen, a respected veteran and captain who's signed for just two more years and has expressed a desire not to go through another rebuild.

Linebacker also could be set after signing six-time All-Pro Bobby Wagner and bringing in Frankie Luvu, though depth at the position with a late-round selection is certainly possible, especially to help on special teams.



Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press