Commanders' youth movement tipped to spearhead exciting rebuild

The plan is clear.
Dan Quinn and Josh Harris
Dan Quinn and Josh Harris / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Things look a lot different across the Washington Commanders after one of the busiest offseasons in franchise history. Adam Peters, Dan Quinn, and Josh Harris' ownership group have grand ambitions to take the franchise forward and are working together to achieve this goal. It'll be a long process, but the foundations have been laid in no uncertain terms.

There was a concerted effort for the Commanders to go younger. Peters wants to build through the draft during this challenging rebuild. Some experienced veterans were acquired in free agency to smooth the transition, but Washington needs its young core to flourish in pursuit of increasing their chance of becoming a threat within the NFC East.

Peters and Quinn wanted to find talent during the 2024 NFL Draft. They also put leadership credentials high on their list - something the Commanders were devoid of last season as motivation reached an all-time low.

Commanders must rely on youth during their pivotal rebuilding phase

Everything seemed to go according to plan. Whether it amounts to any quick growth remains to be seen, but Aaron Schatz from ESPN thinks this injection of youthful exuberance can spearhead their exciting rebuild if everyone embraces the challenge and develops under Quinn's exceptional staff team.

"Washington is boosted significantly by this year's draft, and that starts with the No. 2 overall pick and 2023 Heisman Trophy winner [Jayden] Daniels (23) at quarterback. The Commanders also had three second-round picks this year. Defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton and tight end Ben Sinnott are both 22, while nickelback Mike Sainristil is 23. As for players who were in Washington last year, wide receiver Jahan Dotson is 24, although his reputation is better than his performance in the ESPN receiver tracking metrics, where he finished near the bottom of the league. Another young player who struggled in advanced metrics is cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. Last year's first-round pick was one of the worst cornerbacks in the league, with only 38 tackles and one interception. However, he's just 23, and many top corners take two or three years to develop."

Aaron Schatz, ESPN

Expectations are rising around the Commanders. Jayden Daniels carries more of these than most as a potential franchise-caliber quarterback. But if this team wants to make the league sit up and take notice, everyone must contribute.

This is a good environment for young players to excel. That wasn't the case in previous years, so it shouldn't just be the 2024 draft class that benefits. Those who were around during Ron Rivera's tenure should also make strides under more accomplished coaches. That's another important piece of Washington's puzzle en route to future prosperity.

There will be bumps in the road. The upcoming campaign will be another rollercoaster - especially considering it normally takes so many alterations time to become a cohesive unit. However, the infrastructure in place ensures the Commanders will be more competitive and prepared for their upcoming challenges.

The bar isn't exactly high for growth. But the increased energy and renewed purpose in the building are encouraging nonetheless. Quinn knows what it takes to get a team deep into the postseason. Nobody is expecting miracles right out of the gate, but there's a growing belief the Commanders have the correct foundation in place to thrive in the coming years.

And make no mistake, their investment in youth will play a leading role in whatever success comes their way.