One major concern with each Commanders 2024 NFL Draft pick

There are some concerns that cannot be ignored.
Jayden Daniels
Jayden Daniels / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Who remembers Tom Flick?

Washington’s 1981 NFL Draft, supervised by Pro Football Hall of Fame general manager Bobby Beathard, was the greatest in franchise history. Twelve players were selected. Four became decade-long stalwarts on the two lines, while three others contributed significantly to championship teams. But if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of guy, you don’t think about Russ Grimm and Dexter Manley. You think about Flick.

Flick was a record-setting quarterback from the University of Washington who Joe Gibbs wanted in Round 4. Beathard agreed. He ended up as a backup in Washington for one season before being traded. He remained a backup, bouncing around the league for another three years.

By the time he retired, he had thrown two touchdown passes in the NFL. And 10 interceptions. Flick didn’t exactly live up to expectations as a professional quarterback.

But we didn’t know that at the time of the 1981 NFL Draft. Back then, we all had the highest of hopes. Just as we have today for the latest group of Commanders' draftees. Just as we did in previous seasons for the players selected during the Ron Rivera years, few of whom have turned into reliable players.

So even though we are all flush with excitement over how well Adam Peters seems to have performed in his first draft, the college selection process is the most inexact of sciences. Even in a good year, several picks simply fail to develop.

Let’s take a look at the biggest potential pitfalls for each new Commanders' pick. I am leaving the possibility of injury off this list. It's an ever-present risk in the NFL.

Some worry about Jayden Daniels' thin build and propensity for taking big hits in college. Last year, an athletic rookie quarterback who ran a lot - Anthony Richardson - missed most of the season with an injury. So did Kirk Cousins, a veteran pocket passer. Injuries are a fact of life. They could sideline any player.

We’ll set that issue aside and look at the other problems that could turn the newest Commanders into the next Flick.

Commanders draft Javontae Jean-Baptiste

  • Edge Rusher | Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • Round No. 7 | No. 222 overall

Javontae Jean-Baptiste is a classic tweener. He has some genuine athletic gifts. He is long and fast. His broad jump at the NFL Scouting Combine - a good indicator of leg burst - was off the charts.

If he can carry some more weight without sacrificing his speed, he could be a productive 4-3 defensive end. If he could improve his mobility in space, Jean-Baptiste might become an effective outside linebacker in a 3-4 front. Right now, he is stuck in between.

Jean-Baptiste has already put on some extra weight and maintained his straight-ahead speed. His future is at the defensive end spot because it is harder to develop the kind of agility he would need to play linebacker.

The Washington Commanders have run through a litany of athletic, late-round edge players in recent years, from James Smith-Williams to Casey Toohill, from William Bradley-King to Shaka Toney. None have developed into anything special. Jean-Baptiste will have to grow into the position if he wants to break that trend.