Washington Commanders Final NFL Draft Grades 2024: After Landing Franchise QB Jayden Daniels, Washington Fortifies Defense With Mike Sainristil, Johnny Newton

What are the Washington Commanders' grades for their selections in the 2024 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

New head coach. New general manager. New Owner. New starting quarterback. It’s a whole new world for the Washington Commanders, but did they maximize their 2024 NFL Draft capital in Detroit?

The Commanders’ draft grades explain how Washington’s 2024 NFL Draft unfolded.

Washington Commanders NFL Draft Grades

Round 1, Pick 2: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

As the 2024 NFL Draft loomed, the rumors that the Washington Commanders would select LSU Tigers QB Jayden Daniels reached a deafening crescendo, with multiple analysts effectively calling it a “done deal,” despite rumors that a quarterback community outing to Top Golf had left the reigning Heisman Trophy winner unimpressed by the organization.

Although Daniels’ wasn’t the top available quarterback available on the PFN Big Board, his fit with the Commanders — and especially offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury — makes this an extremely exciting selection for Washington fans.

It’s easy to become transfixed with the explosive dual-threat ability that he brings to the table, but it’s the former Arizona State and LSU quarterback’s development as a passer that has enabled his ascension from a skinny Sun Devil to the second overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Improvements in his footwork have allowed for greater accuracy and an unleashing of his arm talent since arriving in Baton Rouge. Between that progression and his dynamic ability to create out of structure, Daniels should be able to continue to produce at a high level as an NFL starter.

Grade: A-

Round 2, Pick 36: Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois

The highest-rated player still remaining on the PFN Big Board, Johnny Newton slipped into the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft after attracting mid-Round 1 attention in mock drafts throughout the cycle — potentially due to medical concerns related to a foot injury.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Grades 

The ferocious Illinois defensive tackle is a uniquely built force of nature whose power and athleticism make him a dangerous weapon. He is equally comfortable attacking from the interior or flexing out wide and pressuring from the edge. The value — and fit with Dan Quinn’s scheme — help Washington to an A grade here.

Grade: A

Round 2, Pick 50: Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan

The Commanders came into the 2024 NFL Draft with a bunch of roster needs, especially on the defensive side, and they made moves to address those early on Day 2.

The selection of Mike Sainristil gives Washington the best nickelback in the class.

A former wide receiver who plays much bigger than his diminutive size, he was consistently causing problems for opposition offenses during the Michigan Wolverines’ run to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

From his ability to recognize routes, impact the catch point and get his hands on the ball, to his ability to impact the game in run support, there isn’t much he can’t do.

Grade: B+

Round 2, Pick 53: Ben Sinnott, TE, Kansas State

The 2024 NFL Draft’s tight end class had a very clear leader in Brock Bowers. Yet, on the PFN Big Board, Ben Sinnott had a similar level of advantage over the next-best man.

The Kansas State tight end has been highly productive as a pass catcher and is a willing and able blocker who therefore projects as an impact maker on every single play.

As our 46th overall prospect, the Commanders once again get good value versus draft position while addressing a position of need. The new era in Washington is off to an electric start.

Grade: A

Round 3, Pick 67: Brandon Coleman, OL, TCU

The Commanders’ mastery of the 2024 NFL Draft continues into the third round with the selection of TCU offensive lineman Brandon Coleman.

They have a need at tackle, and while some have projected the former Horned Frog as an interior lineman, he has both the experience, skill set, and measurables (6’5”, 313 pounds, 35” arms) to hold down the right tackle spot.

His for-size speed could be extremely useful with Daniels’ propensity to make plays outside of the pocket.

Grade: B+

Round 3, Pick 100: Luke McCaffrey, WR, Rice

The Commanders bag their slot wide receiver to play alongside Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson with the selection of Rice Owls standout Luke McCaffrey — brother of superstar Christian McCaffrey.

A former quarterback, McCaffrey has tallied over 700 yards in consecutive seasons, snagging 19 touchdowns across his last two campaigns. He uses his quick feet and excellent acceleration to create easy separation before letting his reliable hands take care of the rest.

Were there better receivers available before him? Yes. Is it still a solid pick? Absolutely.

Grade: B

Round 5, Pick 139: Jordan Magee, LB, Temple

Washington’s offseason moves speak to a need to overhaul and upgrade the linebacker room, and they continued that to open Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Jordan Magee might not be a household name in this linebacker class, but the Temple product has been impressively productive during his time with the Owls and has been a leader on their defense.

Ranked the 256th overall prospect on the PFN Big Board, this might be considered a reach, but he has the athleticism and positional versatility to have an impact on this roster.

Grade: B

Round 5, Pick 161: Dominique Hampton, DB, Washington

Ranked 201st on the PFN Big Board, this might be a little on the early side for Dominique Hampton, especially with several more highly-ranked safeties still on the board.

That said, the Commanders meet a position of need with a player who is coming off his most productive season in his college career, and who was a leader in the Washington secondary this fall, showcasing his high football IQ and the ability to combine play recognition with decent speed to be a playmaker.

Grade: B-

Round 7, Pick 222: Javontae Jean-Baptiste, EDGE, Notre Dame

Former Ohio State pass rusher Javontae Jean-Baptiste transferred to Notre Dame for his final season of eligibility and had the most productive season of his career.

With five sacks and double-digit tackles for loss, he showed off his ability to play strong against the run while being able to get after the quarterback.

That said, he’s neither technically refined nor athletically top-tier, and there were arguably better EDGE options remaining for the Commanders.

Grade: C+

Washington Commanders 2024 NFL Draft Summary

The moves that Washington made to open the 2024 NFL Draft speak to the sea change taking place within the program. It’s a whole new world from top to bottom of the front office, and they were aggressive and successful early on, taking franchise difference makers in Jayden Daniels, Johnny Newton, Mike Sainristil, and Ben Sinnott.

The Commanders were running at an A- grade after Day 2, but some of their moves on Day 3 failed to live up to the excitement of the opening salvo. Jordan Magee is a solid, perhaps underrated get at linebacker, and Dominique Hampton could be a playmaker at the heart of the secondary.

Overall Grade: B+

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