Commanders deep dive: Day 2 NFL Draft haul can fast-track rebuild

This team's future is bright.
Adam Peters
Adam Peters / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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The 2024 NFL Draft is done - the first selection process under the Adam Peters regime. The general manager gained the respect of Washington Commanders fans with this stellar class, making excellent picks all across the board.

Where Peters shone in the draft was Day 2. The Commanders ended up with five picks over the second and third rounds. They have to prove their worth, but this looks like a magnificent haul upon initial examination.

If the Commanders hit the ground running, this Day 2 masterclass could be a big reason why. Peters began it with one of the steals of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Commanders got lucky with Johnny Newton

Johnny Newton is a disruptive defensive tackle out of Illinois. He was widely regarded as one of the best prospects in the entire class. He was frequently in just about every analyst’s top 32 and certainly worthy of a first-round selection. Adam Peters couldn't believe his luck when the player fell to No. 36 overall.

Newton's accolades are elite. He was a First Team All-American and the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year last season. He compiled 187 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, 18 sacks - 7.5 being in 2023, two forced fumbles, and five pass deflections throughout his time with the Fighting Illi. He lacks true size for a traditional NFL defensive tackle, but he makes more than enough up with his talent.

The lineman is a true wrecking ball. His explosiveness and quick hands turn him into a disruptor off the line of scrimmage. He has great versatility, as Newton can line up all over the defensive line. He displays shocking quickness for a nearly 300-pound man and has a toolbox of counter moves ready to use.

For the next two years, the Washington Commanders’ defense had an elite three-man rotation with Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Newton. Something that should strike fear into offensive lines around the league.

Having two prominent veterans to learn from will only make him better. When Allen’s contract expires, the franchise has a read-made successor long term.

A little tidbit. Newton reunites with his Illinois teammate, safety Quan Martin, on the Commanders.