Commanders’ top 5 remaining needs ahead of NFL draft

The Washington Commanders were busy in free agency, signing over 20 outside free agents as GM Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn looked to reshape a 4-13 roster. Thanks to a free-agency period that addressed multiple weaknesses, the Commanders head into the 2024 NFL draft with only two glaring needs: Quarterback and offensive tackle.

The good news is that Washington has nine selections in next week’s draft, including six in the top 100, beginning with No. 2 overall. The Commanders are expected to select a quarterback with their first pick.

What other positions does Washington need to address in the NFL draft? We look at the top five remaining needs ahead of the draft.

LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) during warmups before the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Will it be Jayden Daniels (LSU) or Drake Maye (North Carolina)? There is a lot of smoke surrounding Daniels to Washington, but only Peters and those close to him know what the Commanders are thinking. Regardless of which quarterback they choose, Washington will address the position. Once the Commanders traded Sam Howell and signed veteran Marcus Mariota, it was clear their intentions with the No. 2 overall pick. Washington will come away from the draft with a new quarterback.

Andrew Wylie #71 of the Washington Commanders looks on during the second quarter of a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Commanders cut veteran left tackle Charles Leno Jr. Washington already needed an offensive tackle, but after Leno’s release, the Commanders were desperate. Washington re-signed veteran Cornelius Lucas, who has served as a swing tackle for the past four seasons. Lucas is good in short spurts, but is not a long-term answer. Andrew Wylie on the right side was not good in his first season with the Commanders. Don’t be surprised if Washington comes away from this draft with two new offensive tackles. The Commanders will certainly address the position with their second or third pick — both of which are early in the second round.

Dorance Armstrong #92 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates a sack during the fourth quarter against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on January 07, 2024 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Washington has completely revamped this position. After trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat at the trade deadline, the Commanders allowed Casey Toohill and James-Smith Williams to depart. Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr. followed Quinn to Washington from Dallas. Clelin Ferrell came from San Francisco. The Commanders also re-signed Efe Obada, and second-year players K.J. Henry and Andre Jones Jr. return. Of the new free agents, only Armstrong was signed to a deal longer than one year. The Commanders will address this position. Quinn loves pass rushers, and Washington will search for a high-upside rusher at some point in the draft.

Washington Commanders cornerback Emmanuel Forbes (13) reacts after being ejected for a personal foul during the first quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Commanders allowed top cornerback Kendall Fuller to depart. Returning are Emmanuel Forbes and Benjamin St-Juste. Washington is counting on the new coaching staff to get the most out of the young corners, both of whom struggled last season. The Commanders signed multiple veterans in the offseason, but none are guaranteed to make the roster. It’s all about competition. Washington must address this position in the first three rounds, and the team has hosted some unheralded prospects on top 30 visits. While Peters believes Forbes and St-Juste can bounce back, it’s not enough. The Commanders must add talent here.

Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) reacts to a fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Commanders have Terry McLaurin — that’s a great start. Jahan Dotson is coming off a disappointing season but deserves a pass after last season. Curtis Samuel departed via free agency, which is an underrated loss. Dyami Brown enters his fourth NFL season and has yet to prove he belongs. The Commanders would love for Brown to have a breakout season. Washington still must address the position in a draft that is loaded at wide receiver. Peters and Quinn likely understand they must address the position, too. Tight end is also a need and should also be addressed.

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