3 winners (and 2 losers) from the Commanders 2024 NFL Draft

There were winners and losers from the draft.
Terry McLaurin
Terry McLaurin / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Loser No. 1

Phidarian Mathis - Commanders DL

Adam Peters and the Washington Commanders had a gift presented to them during the 2024 NFL Draft. It was a nervous wait after failing to find a willing trade partner early in the second round. But as it turned out, they got extremely fortunate when Johnny Newton fell into their laps at No. 36 overall.

Newton was projected by many to be a top 15 selection and one of the best prospects in this year's class. However, the run on offensive linemen and quarterbacks - coupled with a recent injury - meant he slid out of the first 32 selections entirely. This was an opportunity the Commanders were not going to waste.

This wasn't a position of need by any stretch of the imagination. The Commanders have Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne as their starting defensive tackle tandem. Their backups looked sufficient enough, but Peters always highlighted his belief that taking the best players available regardless of positional priority is the best way to rebuild a struggling roster.

The former Illinois star is a supreme disruptor, especially in pursuit of runners and as a pass-rusher. Newton has enough talent to become a significant asset from the moment he steps onto the field. Something that could see reps diminish for the likes of Phidarian Mathis along the way.

Mathis remains a relatively unknown quantity entering his third season. Injuries haven't helped, but he didn't look like someone who could make any sort of impression during last season's capitulation. The Commanders weren't going to wait around on the off-chance he made improvements, opting to bring Newton on board - a player who could become the steal of the entire draft when it's all said and done.

The former second-round pick out of Alabama will get the chance to prove himself throughout the offseason. If those in power don't like what they see, he'll be stashed down the depth chart, released, or potentially traded.