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Five takeaways from Adam Peters and Lance Newmark's pre-draft press conference

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Washington Commanders general manager Adam Peters and assistant general manager Lance Newmark addressed the media ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft. Here are five takeaways from their press conference.

1. They're staying at No. 2.

The Commanders have remained tight-lipped regarding what they will do with the No. 2 overall pick, and they're unsurprisingly staying that way a week before the draft begins. We did get one thing (basically) confirmed during the Thursday press conference: they're not moving back from the spot.

"We feel great about staying at No.2," Peters said. "I don't see a whole lot of scenarios where we trade down."

That might not come as much of a shock for anyone who has paid attention to Washington for the past few months. It does, however, ensure that the Commanders have their eyes on taking a player who they believe will change their franchise after it posted its seventh straight non-winning season.

The Commanders haven't specifically said they're looking at a quarterback, but all their actions have pointed to that reality. They recently hosted four of the top quarterbacks at their facility and attended Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels' pro days.

The work is not done, though. There's still seven days for Peters, Newmark and the rest of the organization to conclude on which player's name the commissioner will call when they're on the clock.

"We're really close," Peters said. "There's still a few more things in the process that we need to do."

2. They get the significance of their number of picks in the top 100.

As important as the No. 2 overall pick will be for the organization, the Commanders can take eight more players in this year's draft, including six in the top 100. Peters and Newmark understand the importance of that.

"That's a big deal," Peters said. "That's a lot that we can do with that. It can really help us."

The Commanders have already put considerable effort into overhauling the roster. They signed 27 players in free agency, addressing needs at linebacker, offensive line and defensive end, all three of which were pain points for the team last season.

There's still plenty of work to be done, but Newmark believes what they did in free agency gives them more flexibility in the draft.

"It really allowed us to blend need and talent," Newmark said. "The quality of the the top of the round, just the real high-quality level of the picks, especially those top six, really allow us to make a dramatic impact on our roster."

Take a look at the top photos of the Washington Commanders going through Phase 2 of their offseason workout program.

3. They learned a lot from bringing prospects together.

As most people know by now, the Commanders hosted four of the top quarterbacks, as well as several other prospects, at their facility and treated them to Top Golf. It provided the team with an opportunity to see how all the prospects -- not just the quarterbacks -- interacted together in a casual setting.

Peters has done this in the past, but it was a first for Newmark, who was impressed with how things unfolded.

"I thought it was a really cool dynamic guys came together, how magnetic certain individual were versus others," Newmark said. "I really thought it was a great experience because you see how guys are in a group, and then you spend time with guys individually."

Once the presser was over, Peters stuck around for a minute and was asked which player did the best. He chuckled but didn't give anything away.

4. We know some general traits they're looking for in a QB.

You're not going to hear much from Peters or Newmark in terms of what they're looking for in a quarterback, assuming they do take one with the No. 2 overall pick (it looks like they will). However, we do know that whoever they want at quarterback is going to be a good leader.

"People can lead in different ways," Peters said. "The way you lead is...being yourself and leading in your own way. That's by doing things the right way, coming in early, staying late, challenging your teammates, but in the right way because you've earned their trust."

The fact that a quarterback can lead is more important than how he leads. All the quarterbacks in this year's class have different approaches to leadership. Some are more vocal; others lead by example. No matter how they do it, the important thing is that they can take charge of the offense and lift up their teammates.

Newmark added a couple more traits to that: work ethic and a "tremendous inner belief in themselves."

"I think the more you're around a person, the more you feel that and see that in them," Newmark said. "That core belief in themselves has always been something that...I've seen translate to success."

5. They appreciate the pressure.

The Commanders have a rare chance to change their roster in a monumental way with the No. 2 overall pick. Regardless of who it is, that player will shape the team's future for at least the next four seasons and possibly more if things go well. Here comes the obvious statement: it's important for Peters and Newmark to get that right.

And they know it.

"There is a lot of pressure," Peters said. "It's a great responsibility, and we take this very seriously. That's why we've been working tirelessly on this and turning over every stone. We want to do this not just for this organization, but for this region, this fan base and for the men, the coaching staff and the players on the field."

Washington has been a revolving door at the quarterback for position for the past six years. Veterans like Alex Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick as well as younger players like Taylor Heinicke and Sam Howell have come and gone over the years, playing a role in the average at best performance of the team in that time span.

Washington has a chance to end that in a week. They can take a quarterback they believe is going to put them on a path towards winning a championship. How seriously they take it doesn't guarantee success, but they at least understand the gravity of that possibility and want to get it right.

"That's what we signed up for," Peters said.

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