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The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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April 8, 2024

Commanders revamp in the off-season: Prime draft position, coaching changes and free agency moves

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Vassili Prokopenko
Here’s The B&W’s predictions for the Commanders’ offseason moves.

The Washington Commanders have made significant changes this offseason, from replacing head coach Ron Rivera with previous Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to hiring the highly sought-after Adam Peters for the general manager position. They also brought in new coordinators on both sides of the ball, looking to make more moves this offseason with the NFL draft coming up in April and free-agency already having kicked off. Here’s The B&W’s predictions for the Commanders’ offseason moves.

Coaching and Front Office Changes

The new Commanders ownership group hired Adam Peters as general manager, who has championship-level experience from the San Francisco 49ers and has coached successful teams like the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. Peters has already made several coaching changes in his short time with Washington. Here are the new hires:

Head Coach – Dan Quinn: Defensive coordinator for the fifth-ranked Dallas Cowboys defense, known for his successful time with the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” defense.

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Defensive Coordinator – Joe Whitt Jr.: Defensive backs coach from the Cowboys who came over with Quinn and contributed to the NFC East title in 2023.

Offensive Coordinator – Kliff Kingsbury: Notable for developing quarterbacks like Caleb Williams and Patrick Mahomes, and leading the Arizona Cardinals to their only double-digit win season and playoff trip since 2015 as head coach.

Special Teams Coordinator – Larry Izzo: Former Seattle Seahawks special teams coordinator and four-time Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots.

Special Defensive Assistant – John Pagano: Had a significant tenure with the San Diego Chargers at various coaching positions; last coached for the Denver Broncos in 2020 as an outside linebackers coach.

Offensive Line Coach – Bobby Johnson: Offensive line coach for the Buffalo Bills before leading an underperforming Giants offensive line last season.

Other notable additions to the coaching staff include David Raih, Brian Johnson, Ken Norton Jr., Jason Simmons, Sharrif Floyd, Anthony Lynn, David Blough and William Gay.

Quinn brings extensive NFL coaching experience, including a Super Bowl appearance with the Atlanta Falcons. His defensive background and success in turning around the Cowboys’ defense in the last two seasons should bring confidence to the Commanders’ locker room. 

With key acquisitions, high draft picks and available cap space, the team is poised for a significant transformation under the leadership of Harris, Peters and the newly assembled coaching staff.

Draft Section

After a disappointing couple of years, going 12–21–1 over the last three seasons, the Commanders are looking to completely rebuild in the off-season. Luckily, their poor 2023 season has put them in an excellent spot for the upcoming draft. Currently slated for the second pick, the Commanders have an opportunity to draft a generational quarterback. Furthermore, with the addition of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, Washington could be in a prime position to trade up to the No.1 overall pick, who will likely be University of Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams.

The Commanders currently have eleven draft selections. The picks are as follows: No. 2, 36, 40, 66, 67, 71, 100, 101, 137, 180 and 219. Here’s a prediction on who the Commanders will select in the first two rounds.

No. 2 overall – Drake Maye, QB, UNC

If Caleb Williams falls to the Commanders, it’s a no-brainer. Washington will likely select him. However, as of now, Williams will likely be chosen first overall. If so, the Commanders still need help with the quarterback position. Although Sam Howell played well at times last season, he simply hasn’t shown enough consistency to become the franchise quarterback. 

As a result, the Commanders will select NFL Network’s second-rated quarterback, Drake Maye. The UNC alum has the charisma and the arm strength to become a very productive quarterback in the NFL. He has excellent pocket mobility and can make throws in tight windows. However, Maye sometimes struggles to hit the correct read and force a throw, and his unsteady footwork makes avoiding pressure difficult at times. He is also one of the least experienced quarterbacks entering the draft and only has 30 starts in college. 

No. 36 overall – Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

The Commanders also need to fill the holes in their offensive line. Last season, they had one of the worst protection units in the NFL, allowing 65 sacks. With Adam Peters coming to Washington, the Commanders will probably pursue more talent on the offensive line and develop a strong unit like the 49ers had this past season.. 

In the second round, the Commanders would be wise to target Washington lineman Troy Fautanu. Fautanu dominated at offensive tackle last season for the Huskies, allowing only two sacks in 643 snaps. He also earned an All-Pac 12 selection, playing primarily at left tackle.

No. 40 overall – Xaiver Worthy, WR, Texas

The Commanders should stick with the offense here, adding a new weapon to the arsenal. Former University of Texas product Xavier Worthy is a quick-twitch wide-out with exceptional explosiveness. He can attack the soft spots in zone coverage and has elite speed. Texas often used Worthy in motion plays, but he has experience playing all the receiver spots on the field. However, he struggles against press coverage and has a smaller frame than other receivers. He’s a high-risk, high-reward option for the Commanders.

 

The Commanders have a lot of options when it comes to rebuilding their franchise. It’s an exciting time in Washington with new leadership and the opportunities to add talent from the draft. Adam Peters and the coaching staff will host visits from their top-30 prospects, Washington ownership will fly their selected prospects to D.C. to meet with the coaching staff before the draft starts on April 29. After the draft, it’s full steam ahead, with off-season workouts taking place in May and June.

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About the Contributors
Ben Belford-Peltzman, Sports Writer
Grade 11 Why did you join the Black and White?  I love writing and podcasting about the latest sports news in our community.
What is your favorite song of all time?
Call Me Maybe
 
Vassili Prokopenko, Online Production Head
Grade 12 Why did you join The B&W? To improve my art and design skills. What is your favorite board game? Blokus

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