4 Commanders players who are not safe after the 2024 NFL Draft

These Commanders players have a fight on their hands.
John Ridgeway
John Ridgeway / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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John Ridgeway - Commanders DL

Adam Peters wanted to take the best prospects available regardless of positional need during the 2024 NFL Draft. The Washington Commanders were not in a position to turn down players ranked highly on their board because there wasn't necessarily a fierce desire to upgrade a specific unit. An example of this ethos didn't take long to arrive.

When Johnny Newton inexplicably fell out of the first round, the Commanders made attempts to trade up and take the defensive lineman. Nobody was receptive to offers, so it became a nervous wait to see if he'd still be around at No. 36 overall.

Luck was on Peters' side. Newton fell into their laps in the second round and the Commanders wasted no time handing in their card. The general manager revealed he couldn't believe the former Illinois stud made it this far down the pecking order, but it was an opportunity he wasn't going to waste.

Newton is an absolute game-wrecker at the line of scrimmage. His explosiveness, pass-rushing prowess, and ability to close space quickly in pursuit are extraordinary traits for a man his size. The Commanders have Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne as their starting defensive tackle tandem, but the incoming college prospect is a strong candidate to generate significant reps immediately.

This surprising pick added an extra level of uncertainty to John Ridgeway's future with the franchise. The same can be said of former second-round selection Phidarian Mathis, who's gone through some difficult times over the first two seasons of his professional career.

Ridgeway played 31 percent of Washington's defensive snaps for the second consecutive year. After flashing promise as a rookie, his output last season was less encouraging. With the acquisition of Newton and the potential for progress where Mathis is concerned under more accomplished coaches, a situation could emerge where the Arkansas product is fighting for his roster spot this summer.