3 Commanders players on the hot seat after 2024 NFL Draft

Seats are getting warmer for some...
Phidarian Mathis
Phidarian Mathis / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
2 of 3

Phidarian Mathis - Commanders DL

Adam Peters went into the 2024 NFL Draft intending to take the best prospects available regardless of need. Not many teams around the league have that luxury, but it's something the new general manager followed through on relatively early in the process.

Peters was probably not looking to take a defensive tackle with one of his early selections. However, when Johnny Newton slid out of the first round and into their laps at No. 36 overall, the respected front office figure was not going to turn down such an outstanding stroke of good fortune.

Many projected Newton to be a first-round lock. Others even had the former Illinois game-wrecker as a potential top-15 selection after an exceptional college career with the Fighting Illi. Why he dropped so far is anyone's guess, but it seems as if teams were put off by his recent injury rather than anything too concerning about the player's on-field production.

Newton will play an immediate role within Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr.'s defensive scheme despite the presence of Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen as the Washington Commanders' starting defensive tackle tandem. This brings the future of others into doubt, but Peters hasn't attached any sentiment to his decision-making process whatsoever in pursuit of a brighter future in the nation's capital.

Phidarian Mathis' first two seasons in the league have been underwhelming at best. The former second-round selection out of Alabama endured some awful luck on the injury front, but his impact was an ongoing frustration when tasked with reps on the defensive rotation last time out.

In truth, the Commanders have no idea what Mathis is or who he might become with a little extra polish. There's a chance he can improve under the expert guidance of Quinn and his accomplished staff, but there is no disputing his future hangs by a thread following Newton's arrival.