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Mock Draft Monday | Field Yates gives Commanders offensive firepower, protection

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It's a new year in a new era for the Washington Commanders, and they have a chance to start the Dan Quinn-Adam Peters regime off by taking one of the best players in college football.

The Commanders hold the No. 2 overall pick following a 4-13 finish to the 2023 season. After jumping out to a 2-0 start, the Commanders won only two games for the rest of the year and wrapped the season up with an eight-game losing streak, the longest in the league and the longest for the franchise since the 2013 season. But with them picking so high, the team will have their choice of whoever they want to name as the first player of Quinn and Peters' efforts to recalibrate the roster through the draft.

Most analysts anticipate that the Commanders will take a quarterback with the pick, and there are a variety of players to choose from if that is the path the team takes. However, they are still a ways away from making that decision, and there are several factors to consider. They could stay at No. 2, or they could trade the pick to move up or down, depending on whether the deal makes sense for them. They could also address other needs on the roster, whether it's offensive line, receiver or pass-rusher. 

In anticipation for that selection, will highlight one mock draft from a draft expert each week to delve into how that player would fit with Washington. Next up, ESPN's Field Yates has the Commanders going all offense with their first three picks and even getting some more capital in next year's draft.

No. 2: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

We can now add Fields to the throng of experts tying the Commanders to the LSU playmaker.

The Commanders have been connected to three quarterbacks by analysts. Daniels is the most common, but Drake Maye and JJ McCarthy have had their names put in the same sentence as the Commanders as we inch closer to Draft Day.

Each player has their owns strengths as well as their own problems. Daniels is the most exciting to watch and can create plays with his legs, but he struggles with throwing down the middle of the field and must learn to protect himself. Maye does throw down the middle of the field and makes explosive plays, but his footwork and feel for pressure needs to improve. McCarthy might make the most pro style throws, but he still needs more time to develop consistency.

For the Commanders, it all comes down to how Peters, Quinn and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury want to structure their offense, and that's not something even they have a full grasp on yet. Still, Fields went with who he thinks is the second-best player on the board.

"Daniels was the best player in college football last season, winning the Heisman Trophy, and he blends rare mobility with excellent pocket passing," Fields wrote. "He averaged more rushing yards per carry (8.4) than any other FBS player in 2023 and led the nation in QBR (95.6)."

We have already done a deep dive on Daniels in a previous Mock Draft Monday. Click HERE to learn more about the Heisman Trophy winner.

No. 40: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

You might be thinking that the Commanders' first pick of the second round is supposed to come earlier than this, and you would be right. However, Fields has projected a trade with the Raiders that would give Washington the No. 44 overall pick in the draft in addition to a 2025 third-round pick.

FSU's Keon Coleman's combine numbers don't jump off the screen like others in his class. His 4.61 40-yard dash, 10-foot-7 broad jump and 38-inch vertical are solid but not exceptional. There is one thing Washington's current bunch of receivers don't have in abundance: size.

Let's say that Washington does draft Coleman at some point. At 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds, he would be taller and bigger than all the receivers on roster who got significant playing time in 2023. Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are quick and agile players with reliable hands, but size is not a skill they can learn.

Coleman, and All-ACC, All-Purpose and Special Teams player last year, knows how to maximize his athletic traits to make contest grabs over defensive backs. He caught 50 passes in 2023, including 10 contested receptions, to record 658 yards and 11 touchdowns. His drop grade of 91.9 is fourth best among all FBS receivers, according to Pro Football Focus.

"His ability to win in contested-catch situations would go a long way in the red zone," Field wrote.

No. 44: Patrick Paul, T, Houston

Most analysts are in love with Patrick Paul's physical traits. He's a hulking 331 pounds with a 6-foo-7 ½ frame and performed well at the combine with a 5.13 40, a 29-inch vertical and 30 bench press reps. He's also considered technically raw, despite starting 44 games, all of which were at left tackle.

Paul might not be available by the time the Commanders pick again at 44, but he might be too hard to pass up if he's still hanging around.

"Paul is massive at 6-foot-7 and 332 pounds with 36-inch arms, making him a challenge to get around in pass protection. Also: He'd get to play with his older brother, Chris, a guard for Washington," Fields wrote.

Paul would certainly be a long-term answer at the position if Washington were to draft him in the second round, but how much time he would get in his rookie year is murky at best. Peters said at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, that he would be fine with Cornelius Lucas or Trent Scott starting at left tackle this year. What's more, Paul's development will take time that will likely extend into the season.

It's a future investment on the Commanders' part, but if it hits, they'll have locked down a critical position that has plagued them for years.

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