Grading Commanders' last six first-round picks ahead of 2024 NFL Draft

It's been a mixed bag...
Jamin Davis
Jamin Davis / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Chase Young

  • Defensive End | Ohio State Buckeyes
  • No. 2 overall | 2020 NFL Draft

When the Washington Commanders landed the No. 2 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, new head coach Ron Rivera had the chance to make a big statement. There were two stud college quarterbacks available after Joe Burrow went to the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead, those in power went with a defensive end prospect who came into the league with generational traits.

Chase Young was an absolute phenom at Ohio State with all the transferable tools needed to carve out a successful career for himself. Things looked extremely promising early on as the edge force won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. After that, things spiraled quickly.

Young endured some rough luck on the injury front. He couldn't put a consistent run of games together over the next two seasons and seemed to lose the explosiveness he was typically associated with in college. The player also seemed to become disillusioned with how things were transpiring throughout Rivera's disappointing four-year stint at the helm.

Much like the situation with Montez Sweat, the Commanders had to offer Young an extension in 2024 after deciding not to pick up his fifth-year option. Despite staying healthy, he was shipped to the San Francisco 49ers for nothing more than a compensatory third-round selection.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing to have. Maybe it was Dan Snyder's insistence Dwayne Haskins could become a franchise signal-caller. Maybe it was some reluctance around the quarterback class. But the Commanders would have been in a much better spot had they gone with Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa instead.

Grade: D

Young is about to get another opportunity with the New Orleans Saints. If he fluffs his lines in the NFC South, it's hard to envisage a scenario where someone else gives him starting reps. As for the Commanders? They have the No. 2 pick again to kick off another new era. Adam Peters will not be making the same mistake of passing on a quarterback.