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2024 NFL Draft Day 2 grades | Experts speak highly of Washington's savviness, decisions

Illinois defensive lineman Jer'Zhan Newton hits Wisconsin quarterback Braedyn Locke during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in Champaign, Ill. Newton was called for targeting and ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Illinois defensive lineman Jer'Zhan Newton hits Wisconsin quarterback Braedyn Locke during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in Champaign, Ill. Newton was called for targeting and ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.

Adam Peters received praise aplenty for his Day 2 moves. Friday night began for the Commanders with the No. 36 pick, and the GM opted to go with a guy considered a "steal" at that spot in Illinois defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton. While the argument could be made that the position wasn't a top priority for the Commanders at that stage, Peters' strategy was simple: he wanted the best player available. Pro Football Focus graded Newton as the best defensive tackle in the draft and the 11th best player overall. Considering that it's no wonder Peters said "I can't believe you're still here" in his phone call to Newton.

Washington was able to get even more draft capital on the night after trading down at No. 40 with the Eagles to get the 50th and 53rd pick overall. With their four picks after Newton, the Commanders bolstered positions of need in cornerback (Michigan's Mike Sainstril), tight end (Kansas State's Ben Sinnot), tackle (TCU's Brandon Colemon) and wide receiver (Rice's Luke McCaffrey).

Here's how the draft pundits graded the moves:

Analysis: "The Commanders landed a steal in the early second round with Newton, who will be a factor in the run game while providing interior pressure. They moved down in Round 2 with division-rival Philadelphia, first picking a feisty and smart but undersized cornerback in Sainristil before making one of the best value picks in the draft in Sinnott, who will be a third-down weapon and top-notch move blocker. Coleman's a long, powerful player announced as a tackle for the Commanders but could slide into guard, and McCaffrey joins his brother, Christian, in the NFL, transitioning effectively from quarterback to wide receiver (his father's position) while at Rice."

Check out the top photo of the Washington Commanders' newest offensive tackle, Brandon Coleman.

Newton: A+

Analysis: "This is a steal for the Commanders, getting a three-down defensive tackle with immediate pass rush upside. I understand the foot injury concerns but he's such a dominant pass rusher that it makes so much sense for the Commanders to make this pick. This might mean Jonathan Allen is out of here, though."

Sainstril: A

Analysis: "Newton and Sainristil on the same day, the Commanders must've read the all-JP team. Despite his size, Sainristil has high level instincts and was always around the ball. Think Mike Hilton on the inside with Sainristil. Dan Quinn is going to unleash him."

Sinnot: B-

Analysis: "Sinnott is such a fun player. Works his butt off as a blocker both off the ball and in-line (although his arm length kind of works against him). He's also versatile enough to win after the catch and downfield. Interesting fit in Washington, however. Commanders head coach Kliff Kingsbury drafted Trey McBride, now he gets one in Washington with Sinnott."

Coleman: B+

Analysis: "Coleman is a big tackle with long arms, who could play guard or tackle in Washington. He could start immediately at left with, where he uses his hand strength to play well in the power game. If he's playing guard, I wonder about the fit with the logjam on the interior."

McCaffrey: D

Analysis: "I'm gonna be honest—didn't think McCaffrey was going to go Day 2, but here we are! He's a solid slot receiver who has pretty good ball skills, but going McCaffrey over Javon Baker and Troy Franklin is really interesting."

Newton: A-

Analysis: "An offensive tackle was the pressing need here, but it's hard to argue against the value of Newton. The 6-2, 304-pounder is adept at shooting through gaps and making plays in the backfield. But with Washington having Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen inside, what's the path toward early playing time? Dan Quinn will have to find a way to work him in, or the Commanders could move one of the costly veterans."

Sainstril: B

Analysis: "Washington's pass defense was downright disastrous last season, yielding a league-worst 262.2 yards per game through the air. Though Sainristil stands at just 5-9 and 182 pounds, the playmaking former receiver seems like the kind of nickel cornerback Dan Quinn has been able to get a lot of mileage out of in earlier years."

Sinnot: C+

Analysis: "Sinnott is a versatile and reliable asset who can help make life easier for a quarterback, particularly a rookie in Jayden Daniels. But he seems more like a complementary piece rather than a foundational one, which might mean he's a slight reach here as the second tight end off the board. And Washington still has a serious problem to address with its offensive line after not using any of its three Round 2 selections up front."

Coleman: C

Analysis: "The Commanders finally made their play for an offensive lineman. But they missed out on many more reliable options by waiting so long. Coleman's technique leaves a lot to be desired, and he might struggle to hold his ground against NFL defensive linemen."

McCaffrey: B-

Analysis: "A former quarterback, McCaffrey switched over to receiver two years ago and made such an impression that he landed a spot in Day 2. He gives rookie QB Jayden Daniels a surehanded and precise option in the passing game."

Newton: A+

Analysis: "Serious talent at DT. Powerful, polished upfield rusher with stellar hand work. Pad level raises at times but that's nitpicking. Need meets awesome value here for Washington."

Sainstril: B+

Analysis: "Pesky nickel CB with flexibility, instincts, and a high motor. Can beat some blockers en route to the football. Reasonable twitch and plus zone awareness. Exactly the type of playmaker the Commanders need. Tackling good, not amazing. Maybe a touch early."

Sinnot: A+

Analysis: "Love this pick. Athletic, explosive athlete. Clearly the second-best receiving TE in this class. YAC skill is outstanding. Strong hands. Just not a true burner down the seam. Will be a go-to target for Jayden Daniels."

Coleman: A

Analysis: "Big, girthy OT who probably kicks into guard at next level. Measurables are impressive and he's a special mover for his size. Weapon at the second level because of that combination. Burst and finishing ability. Can recover and hand work is polished. Lateral quickness a bit slow at times. Love this pick for Washington after Daniels in Round 1."

McCaffrey: B+

Analysis: "Older wideout with obvious NFL bloodlines. Juice galore and can separate because of his jagged movements in the route. Salesmanship is there at times too. Not a YAC freak but will make cuts without losing speed with the ball in his hands. Length and physicality hurt him. Good hands in traffic. Nice weapon here."

Charles McDonald (Yahoo Sports)

Newton: A

Analysis: "Love this pick for the Commanders. Newton has had some struggles with a foot injury over the past few months, but he's as talented as they come for interior pressure players. He's got a wide repertoire of pass-rush moves and if his foot is good to go, he and Jonathan Allen will wreck heads for Dan Quinn's defense."

Sainstril: A

Analysis: "The Commanders grabbed a stud prospect to play in the slot for them. Sainristil is a competitive force who's not afraid to come downhill and hit people in the mouth. He's got pretty solid chops in man coverage too. Nice pickup."

Sinnot: B-

Analysis: "Sinnott is a quality tight end prospect that should round out a solid skill group for Jayden Daniels in his first year. It's not the sexiest pick, but it's a pick that will help the Commanders on offense."

Coleman: C

Analysis: "This is a bit early for Coleman, but hard to get too mad at taking an offensive lineman with good movement skills in the third round. The Commanders at least got some developable depth here."

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