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Five things to know about Javontae Jean-Baptiste

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The Washington Commanders wrapped up Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft by taking Notre Dame defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste with the No. 222 overall pick. Here are five things to know about the final member of the Commanders' draft class.

1. He was one of Bruce Feldman's athletic freaks.

Jean-Baptiste was one of the top defensive ends at the scouting combine earlier this year, posting a top 10 time in the 40-yard dash (4.66) and broad jump (10-foot-7) as well as solid numbers in the vertical jump (34.5 inches).

That probably wasn't a surprise to The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, who has been impressed with Jean-Baptiste's athletic traits since last August.

"The Ohio State transfer, who had 11 TFLs and eight sacks in 45 games with the Buckeyes, should give the Irish D-line depth a big boost," Feldman wrote in his "freaks list" of 2023, ranking Jean-Baptiste 82nd among 101 players.

Feldman was right when he predicted Jean-Baptiste would have a positive influence on the Fighting Irish as a sixth-year player. He was fifth on the team with 49 tackles and first with five sacks -- both career highs. Feldman also pointed out that Jean-Baptiste ran 20.4 mph and did 45 pull-ups during the offseason.

It's one thing to have athleticism; it's another to know how to use it. And Jean-Baptiste knows how to get the most out of his skill set.

2. He's a (video) gamer.

On the field, Jean-Baptiste is a formidable pass-rusher with plenty of room to grow in the professional ranks. Off the field, he's wreaking havoc in Call of Duty.

When he's not chasing quarterback, Jean-Baptiste occupies his time by playing video games and even has his own Twitch stream, going by the handle "HEADSHOTSXJB." Video games have been one of his passions since he was a kid, and according to his Twitch bio, playing them "helped me get away from the outside world."

"I think I get my therapy from what I do in playing football and video games," Jean-Baptiste said in a Q&A with The Columbus Dispatch. "That's why it's funny. I do feel like it's therapeutic because you get to release a lot of anger and have good and happy moments."

Most of Jean-Baptiste's time for the past few months has been spent getting ready for the NFL, but if you want to watch him play Call of Duty: Warzone, you'll have plenty of opportunities over the summer. His next stream is scheduled for May 12 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. every Sunday for the rest of the year.

Here's his **Twitch account** if you want to check out some of his previous videos.

The Washington Commanders were back on the field to continue their offseason workout program. Check out the top photos from Tuesday's action.

3. He likes to ask riddles.

Jean-Baptiste likes to make people think, and he often does that by asking his teammates riddles.

Like video games, riddles have a connection to Jean-Baptiste's childhood. His uncles would occasionally give him a few word puzzles to get his reaction. He picked up the hobby himself when he was at Ohio State looking for ways to connect with his teammates.

"I wasn't doing anything, and I was like, 'You know what? I'm just going to start asking some riddles,'" Jean-Baptiste said. "And people in the community started loving it."

Here are some examples:

  • If you're running a race and you pass the person in second place, what place are you in?
  • What starts with an "e," ends with an "e" and has one letter in it?
  • What gets bigger the more you take away from it?

We'll have to wait and see whether Jean-Baptiste has more brain teasers up his sleeve.

4. Mel Kiper Jr. thinks he has potential.

ESPN's Mel Kiper watches more film and does more research on college prospects than almost anyone, so his opinions carry plenty of weight.

Kiper was honest about Jean-Baptiste when asked about the Notre Dame prospect on May 4. He was a Day 3 pass-rusher who has potential because of his physical traits. He's not a finished product, but he has length and saw an uptick in his production at Notre Dame.

Kiper believes the Commanders were smart to take a flyer on him.

"He's got the length. Love the length of Javontae Jean-Baptiste," Kiper said on ESPN's First Draft. "4.66 (second 40-yard dash), 34.5" vertical (jump) and I saw some explosion, I saw some natural pass-rush ability. The ability to locate the ball against the run."

The good news is that Jean-Baptiste doesn't need to rush his development. He's got plenty of experienced pass-rushers in front of him, including Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler Jr. and Efe Obada. As a seventh-round pick, his job should be to learn as much as possible and try to make the initial 53-man roster.

It sounds like Kiper believes both are possible for Jean-Baptiste.

"I like length and I like the ability to get after the quarterback, that natural ability you can coach up and you can keep improving on that we saw this year from Javontae Jean-Baptiste. So, I think there's a kid Day 3, I'll take him."

5. He was hoping Washington would draft him.

Draft prospects meet with every NFL team, and while they're all thankful to get picked at all, most have an internal list of teams they hope to be part of at the next level.

Washington was one of those teams for Jean-Baptiste. Asked if he expected Washington to draft him, he said, "I was hoping so and they got me, so I'm happy."

Jean-Baptiste feels that he will fit well with the Commanders' new coaching staff and defensive philosophy. Defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. wants a "run and hit" scheme and will demand players to play sideline-to-sideline.

Jean-Baptiste's role will be small during his rookie year but feels that he's capable of doing whatever the coaches ask of him.

"Just after our conversations, after my visit with them, man, I felt that everything went well. Getting to know the coaches, from [Head] coach [Dan] Quinn, GM and all, man. When I left the Commanders visit, I was like, man, I said 'I could see myself coming here.'"

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