5 lessons the Commanders should learn from recent first-round draft blunders

Lessons must be taken...
Dwayne Haskins
Dwayne Haskins / Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA
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The lessons behind Dwayne Haskins

The now-Washington Commanders had the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. After bungling the Kirk Cousins contract, they were in desperate need of a quarterback. They ended up selecting Dwayne Haskins.

There are several lessons to learn from his tragic story. But these are the three most important.

In terms of on-field performance, never over-invest in a one-season college phenom. Haskins’ final season at Ohio State was extraordinary. He looked like a sure-fire franchise quarterback. But it was just one season.

He had virtually no résumé before 2018. As it turned out, there were serious flaws in his game that were not revealed in one campaign at the helm of a college juggernaut.

This is a very different scenario from 2024 prospects like Jayden Daniels, Bo Nix, and Michael Penix Jr. Each showed great improvement in their final college year, but each also had a wealth of history that revealed a steady and natural progression. In other words, their breakouts didn’t come out of nowhere. Maybe one or more will flame out in the pros, but at least you have a good track record to study.

Even more important, do not invest heavily in a prospect based on his story. The previous owner wanted Haskins because he was a local kid. He spoke well. He looked good. You could build a media campaign around him. But the head coach, who knew he was on the hot seat, was leery of an untested rookie. He didn’t want the signal-caller and did a very poor job coaching him.

That may be the ultimate lesson - especially when you are drafting someone to play the most challenging position on the field. You had better have a strong support system in place. The Commanders' investment in so many new coaches with quarterback experience shows that this may be one lesson they have learned.