What will Javontae Jean-Baptiste bring to the Commanders?

The Commanders have completed their 2024 NFL Draft.
Javontae Jean-Baptiste
Javontae Jean-Baptiste / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Peters' first NFL Draft as Washington Commanders general manager is over. One couldn't be anything other than impressed by the way he went about his business, which came to the surprise of nobody given his previous experience and the esteem in which he is held around the league.

The Commanders found a franchise quarterback, got a few steals on Day 2, and some intriguing development projects further down the pecking order. If Dan Quinn and his coaching staff can help each selection reach or exceed expectations, this draft could be the springboard behind substantial on-field improvements next season and beyond.

Commanders draft Javontae Jean-Baptiste at No. 222 overall

Seventh-rounders don't tend to be anything more than depth pieces or fighting for their roster spots more often than not. Peters was part of the brain trust that found one of the league's biggest bargains - with the final pick, no less - when the San Francisco 49ers took quarterback Brock Purdy. How the Commanders could use some of that good fortune moving forward.

Peters spent his last selection on Javontae Jean-Baptiste at No. 222 overall. The edge rusher out of Notre Dame is a flier choice by Washington's brass. One they'll begin molding into what will hopefully become a key depth piece or perhaps even a starter in the coming years - in an ideal world.

That's a lot to ask of Jean-Baptiste, so he must be allowed to develop at his own pace. The Commanders allocated starting reps to last year's seventh-rounder Andre Jones Jr. after trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young. He flashed some bright moments, but it did look like too much, too soon in hindsight.

Jean-Baptiste should have a little extra freedom to grow. He's in the best possible hands and boasts some intriguing traits, such as a jaw-dropping spin move in pursuit of the quarterback.

He's a strong tackler, plays with enough leverage to become servicable over time, and is a devastating finisher when oportunities arise. The pass-rusher is a little rough around the edges in terms of technique and might be better suited to a rush linebacker role in the pros, but the prospect has a lot going for him as a blank canvas development project.

This brings the curtain down on the Commanders' draft class. It seems like an exceptional haul, but it will count for absolutely nothing if they cannot integrate into the locker room and fully immerse themselves in the football philosophy. However, Peters made a strong point of finding those high-character guys, so the transition should be pretty smooth looking at the improved infrastructure across the franchise.

Exciting times ahead.