Draft analyst doubles down amid Commanders QB uncertainty

Everyone has a prediction...

Jayden Daniels
Jayden Daniels / SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA

Respected analyst Mel Kiper Jr. doubled down on his thoughts about who the Washington Commanders will pick at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

After the Washington Commanders signed veteran Marcus Mariota in free agency and traded Sam Howell to the Seattle Seahawks, they made their intentions clear. They will be selecting a quarterback at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The question is, which one?

Fans are split between Jayden Daniels - the Heisman Trophy winner out of LSU - and Drake Maye, who might have the most upside of any signal-caller in this class if he puts everything together. Caleb Williams looks destined for the Chicago Bears, so general manager Adam Peters must figure out which prospect best suits his ambitious plans to get the Commanders back into contention.

Peters is doing a great job of keeping things in-house up to now. Everyone has an opinion or a prediction. But looking at the way Washington has gone about its business under the new regime, it'll be a guessing game right up until they go on the clock.

Commanders draft Jayden Daniels in Mel Kiper Jr.'s mock

Despite this uncertainty, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN doubled down on his pick. He still expects the Commanders to take Daniels at No. 2, although he acknowledges everyone is in the proverbial dark as Peters keeps his cards close to the chest.

"Here's where the intrigue begins. [Jayden] Daniels or Drake Maye … or is it possible J.J. McCarthy is in play? I don't think anyone has a great handle on which quarterback the Commanders prefer just yet. I have Daniels over Maye in my position rankings -- both are in my top six overall -- and McCarthy is a distant fourth. There's no consensus around the league, though, which makes this pick the pivot point in the draft. One quarterback we know who won't be involved in Washington is 2023 starter Sam Howell, who was dealt to the Seahawks last week. The Commanders brought in Marcus Mariota to serve as the backup to whichever rookie they select. And like the Bears, they have a good pair of wideouts in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, though there are questions along the offensive line."

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

Kiper has compared Daniels to the likes of Lamar Jackson and Randall Cunningham during his assessments. If the Commanders end up selecting the player and his career is anything like the two aforementioned stars of past and present, it'll be the correct call in no uncertain terms.

Daniels' downfield accuracy, ability to create off-script, and the fact he relishes the big occasion look tailor-made for Kliff Kingsbury's offensive scheme. Maye has more immediate flaws, but the potential might be greater if he takes on coaching and irons out some obvious kinks.

This is a good spot for the Commanders to be in. Fans don't need to be on one side of the fence either. It's not hard to like both, but that doesn't detract from how important Peters' upcoming decision is for the franchise's long-term fortunes.

Daniels has that X-factor not many come into the league with. He's got the scope to excite fans to a level not seen in Washington since Robert Griffin III's rookie campaign. That's another important factor to consider as Josh Harris' ownership group looks to get everyone working in unison once again.

Until then, everyone will keep guessing. Just the way Peters wants it.