The Washington Commanders’ offseason has been highly eventful so far, featuring a new ownership group, front office changes, and a complete overhaul of the roster that remains in progress. Acquiring a new franchise quarterback is the next big step for the Commanders, and the team is putting in the work to make sure they select the right guy in the 2024 NFL Draft later this month. 

According to NFL Insider Jordan Schultz, the Washington Commanders are hosting three of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft: UNC’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, and Michigan’s JJ McCarthy. Washington holds the second overall pick and is well positioned to select their next franchise quarterback ahead of the 2024 NFL season.

The Commanders should have their pick of anyone in the NFL Draft who isn’t Caleb Williams. The Chicago Bears are assumed to be locked on Williams as their pick with the first overall selection, which would leave Washington in a position to pick the second best quarterback in this year’s class. 

This is an unfortunate situation for many Commanders fans who dreamed of drafting Caleb Williams. The former USC signal caller is a native of the Washington, D.C. area and would be a nice coming home story. Williams has already had a Top 30 visit with the Bears and NFL Insider Ian Rapaport reported last week that it is likely Caleb’s only pre-draft visit.

Unless Washington pulls off a daring draft-day trade up to first overall, it appears that the Caleb Williams dream is over.

Which quarterback is the best fit for the Washington Commanders?

Washington Commanders head coach Dan Quinn speaks to the media during the NFL annual league meetings at the JW Marriott
© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Drake Maye is a sophomore coming out of the University of North Carolina. Maye possesses impressive arm talent and has plenty of physical tools that make him appealing to NFL teams. His ball placement and decision-making could still use some improvement, but his youth (21 years old) and resume as a two-year starter at UNC provide some reassurance that he hasn’t yet reached his ceiling. 

LSU’s Jayden Daniels calling card is his mobility. Daniels eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in each of his two collegiate seasons at LSU. Those are eye-popping numbers for a quarterback playing in the SEC. Daniels is fundamentally sound as a passer and performs adequately in most areas as a passer, though his decision making and processing speed could use some work. He’s the most boom-or-bust of the three prospects.

JJ McCarthy is a prospect that NFL teams are reportedly higher on than those in the media. He ran a pro-style offense in Michigan and led the Wolverines to a national championship over the Washington Huskies, both of which may be viewed as separators between him and other quarterback prospects. He may not be the rushing threat that Jayden Daniels is, but he is a solid athlete who can do some damage on RPOs and in scramble drills. 

Ultimately, Washington’s choice may be revealing of where the franchise sees itself. If they select a more developmental prospect like Jayden Daniels then that may suggest Washington believes they have more work to do before competing. On the other hand, selecting JJ McCarthy or Drake Maye could be a sign that Washington wants to compete right away in 2024.