Grading every Commanders pick from the 2024 NFL Draft

To say it was an eventful draft for the Commanders would be an understatement.
Jayden Daniels
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Commanders drafted Johnny Newton

  • Defensive Line | Illinois Fighting Illi
  • No. 36 overall

Johnny Newton was seen as a sure-fire first-round selection and widely regarded by analysts as one of the top players in this year's class. The formidable defensive lineman looked like a Day 1 starter with immediate upside during a prolific college career at Illinois. Despite having everything going for him, the prospect fell out of the top 32 selections entirely.

According to reports, this was thanks in no small part to the surgery required to repair a partial Jones fracture in his foot. The player stated that he'd made a full recovery and was ready to roll. That wasn't enough to prevent teams from going in a different direction when push came to shove.

This worked out extremely well for the Washington Commanders. Adam Peters admitted that they'd explored the possibility of trading up for the player. Nobody bit ahead of them, so it was a nervous wait at No. 36 overall to see if he'd still be around.

Washington got a stroke of good fortune and didn't hesitate. Newton might not have been the biggest need imaginable considering the presence of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, but Peters took the prospect highest on his board to provide them with another immediate difference-maker that adds a different dimension to Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr.'s system.

Newton is incredibly disruptive, especially in pass-rushing situations. His motor is extremely high and the intentions are violent on almost every snap. He's relentless in pursuit, exploding to the point of attack and closing space quickly to stop oncoming runners in their tracks. This is exactly the sort of player who's thrived under Quinn previously.

Grade: A+

This was a slam dunk. A can't-miss opportunity that Peters was wise not to waste. Newton will find a role for himself immediately. Slotting him next to Allen and Payne on a situational 3-4 defensive front has the scope to cause absolute havoc for offensive lines around the NFL.