5 critical Commanders observations from the 2024 NFL Draft

A good few days' work.
Adam Peters
Adam Peters / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders did not panic

Reaching for players in a position of need is a cardinal indicator of panicking. Adam Peters refused to do that.

Trading up can sometimes be an indication of the same thing if you give up too much to complete the deal. There were plenty of reports that Peters tried to trade up into the back end of Round 1 but could not find the deal. That’s fine. That suggests he knew his price and if he couldn’t find a partner willing to accept it, he would not budge.

What that also means is that he did not get his left tackle.

It’s certainly a concern, but I have absolutely no problem with how he handled things. In hindsight, it was not possible in this year’s draft to get an elite quarterback and an elite tackle unless you have two picks in Round 1. Six signal-callers and seven offensive tackles were drafted in the first round. That’s 40 percent of the picks.

Had Peters been able to move back up to grab Tyler Guyton late in Round 1, that would have been wonderful. But the price was too high. It would have been a mistake to reach in Round 2 for players like Patrick Paul, Blake Fisher, or Roger Rosengarten, each of whom was available when the Washington Commanders chose Mike Stainristil.

Commanders' one pick that must work out

The pick that has to pan out is Jayden Daniels. But you know that. Let’s set it aside for now.

The pick that has to work out is Brandon Coleman. They chose him early in the third round when there were other intriguing offensive line prospects on the board. He also fits the profile mentioned previously.

Coleman has plenty of athletic skills. But more than that, he has been a very tough, productive player in college. His height and arm length have most analysts moving him from tackle to guard in the pros. I would suggest we don’t know where he will play at this point.

Wherever it is, he has to prove worthy of the high selection, something that last year’s two offensive line draftees did not do. If Coleman can play tackle, wonderful. If he can play guard, it at least allows the Commanders to toy with the thought of moving Sam Cosmi back to tackle, where he played in college.

I suspect Peters would have been interested in selecting any of several developmental tackles had they not been chosen shortly before a Commanders' pick later in the draft. Giovanni Manu going to the Detroit Lions 13 picks ahead of Washington’s early fifth-rounder is the one that hurts the most. But drafts always have turns like that, and you never come away with your dream list.

It only really hurts if Coleman turns out to be a bust. In hindsight, Peters' biggest error may have come well before the draft when he released Charles Leno Jr. without having someone assume his role. Cornelius Lucas is a decent stopgap measure, but no more.

However, the process is not over. Leno only came to Washington when he was released by the Chicago Bears after the draft in 2021. There will still be players available. Perhaps David Bakhtiari can rediscover his health. Perhaps Mekhi Becton can rediscover his ability to play. Perhaps Coleman will shock us all.

After free agency and the draft, I’m not fooling myself into thinking Peters is a miracle worker. But I remain very confident he will make smart moves to set the team on the right trajectory toward success.