Insider reveals league belief around shocking Commanders draft curveball

This would be shocking...

Adam Peters
Adam Peters / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

A respected insider revealed that league figures believe the Washington Commanders could throw a curveball at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Adam Peters is doing a great job of keeping everyone guessing this offseason. Nobody knows what the Washington Commanders are going to do with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. This is an ongoing frustration for teams looking to finalize plans behind them and an unusual occurrence for the media considering how frequent leaks became during Dan Snyder's ownership.

Almost every scenario has come up at some stage. Speculation about trading up for Caleb Williams seems to have died down. Jayden Daniels is the clubhouse leader among sportsbooks and Drake Maye hasn't been ruled out either. A recent insider revelation threw a curveball into the mix at the NFL owners' meetings in Orlando.

League sources believe Commanders might take J.J. McCarthy

Tom Pelissero from the NFL Network - citing people around the league he's spoken to about Washington's upcoming franchise-altering decision - thinks they might go with Michigan prospect J.J. McCarthy when it's all said and done. There's no inside information, but predictions were made based on Peters' previous moves within front offices elsewhere before taking the Commanders' job.

McCarthy is gaining significant momentum after helping the Wolverines secure a memorable college football national championship in 2023. He wasn't tasked with a huge amount of work within a run-first scheme, but there's a growing sense that his skills could be easily transferable to the next level. Once considered a mid-to-late first-rounder, the signal-caller could be a top-three or four selection when push comes to shove.

The Commanders got a good look at McCarthy during his recent pro day. They did the same with Williams and will also run the rule over Maye and Daniels in the coming days. This will be followed by further assessments and top 30 visits before plans become finalized behind the scenes.

This was a sentiment echoed by Peters, who stated via Pro Football Talk that they were a long way from concluding their evaluation process. He's also staying ready for anything, including the prospect of Williams not going to the Chicago Bears.

"We still have a lot of [time], a month til the draft [as of] today. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but you get a lot of information in that month. There are still some of the guys we haven’t seen in person. So, we’ll go out and do that next week, see a couple more quarterbacks. Then, we’ll do visits with them. We’ll do Zoom calls. We’ll do a lot of different things. So, we’re far from our answer. I think you have to be prepared for anything. I can’t assume that [the Bears are] drafting a certain guy at No. 1. If you do that and they don’t, oh, shoot. Regardless of how much information you have that says one thing leading up to [the draft] you don’t know until the card is turned in."

Adam Peters via Pro Football Talk

It's refreshing to see such thorough work taking place at long last. Peters has completely shifted the football operation's ethos in no time. He's got everyone working in unison and towards a common goal. If the pick is McCarthy, then Commanders fans should get behind the player and feel confident those making the call have found the right guy.

McCarthy got another seal of approval from his former college coach, too. Jim Harbaugh proudly declared his protege as the best quarterback in this year's draft, lauding his pro day showcase for good measure via ESPN. While he's not going to say anything else given his close association with the player, it's another fascinating layer to this complex equation.

"I think he plays quarterback the best of any quarterback in the draft. He's incredible. So, big market, small market. Cold weather, hot weather, it won't matter. That was the best throwing day I've ever seen. Like I predicted, once they were around him, I was hearing the stories about how he is on the board, how he is on the field, the little things, the intangibles. I mean, it was absolutely no surprise whatsoever. But yeah, there was raving, and it was great to hear and incredible to hear."

Jim Harbaugh via ESPN

This is smoke screen season and people are trying to get some sort of tell from Peters, to no avail. This might be the case right up until the big night looking at how the front-office leader has conducted himself up to now.

Regardless of who comes into the fold, this will likely be the biggest decision Peters ever makes as Commanders' general manager. If he hits on his quarterback, it'll give him the freedom to mold a competitive roster around a rookie contract. Something that could help them enter playoff consideration much sooner than anticipated.

If Peters whiffs on the selection, he'll be playing catch-up and firmly on the back foot. So the stakes couldn't be much higher.