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Mock Draft Monday | Here's who CBS Sports' Josh Edwards thinks Washington should take with its first three picks

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) and Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner (15) in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. LSU won 32-31 in overtime. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) and Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner (15) in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. LSU won 32-31 in overtime. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

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. After focusing specifically on North Carolina's Drake Maye last week, we're expanding to the first two rounds and looking at who CBS Sports' Josh Edwards has Washington taking at Nos. 2, 36 and 40.

No. 2: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

It's hard to find a player who has seen his draft stock skyrocket more than Jayden Daniels this year.

For the first four years of his career, Daniels' numbers were...fine. In the three seasons he played for Arizona State, Daniels was a dual threat quarterback who had some exciting plays, both as a rusher and passer, but he also made several mistakes.

In 2023, however, almost everything Daniels did created some form of excitement for the Tigers' fanbase. It wasn't just that Daniels had improved; it was also that he had drastically cleaned up his skill set. He led college football with a passer rating of 208 on top of completing 72.2% of his passes for 3,812 yards with 40 touchdowns -- second most behind Bo Nix -- and just four interceptions. 

And that doesn't even mention how he used his legs. Despite having 51 fewer carries than he did in 2022, Daniels had a career-high 1,134 yards with 10 touchdowns. Does he need to protect himself better? Absolutely, but he's an electrifying player who has a skill set that is becoming more commonplace in the NFL. Edwards believes the Commanders should reshape their franchise by taking him at No. 2 overall.

"If Williams is off the board, then the choice comes down to Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye," Edwards wrote. "Could Daniels' capabilities as a runner give him the advantage in that discussion?"

It'll be for the Commanders to decide whether Daniels' legs give him an advantage, but it's certainly a key part of his game. Pro Football Focus gave him the highest run grade for a quarterback (92.4), mostly because his runs often gashed opponents. Of his 65 designed runs, 41 went for at least 10 years. He also had 565 yards after contact, which goes back to him needing to protect himself, but it does show off his toughness.

But Daniels isn't just some sideshow quarterback who only knows how to hurt defenses on the ground. He was also an elite passer in 2023 with top 10 metrics in several categories. Although he was 37th and 56th in completions and attempts, respectively, he was fifth in yards, seventh completion rate and first in yards per attempt.

When it comes to creating explosive plays through the air, there was no one better than Daniels in 2023. He had the best grade on passes of at least 20 yards with 27 big time throws and just one turnover worthy play. And good luck trying to pressure him; he threw 20 touchdowns with no interceptions and a completion rate of 74.4%.

"He lacks ideal size and arm talent, but he's much more capable as a runner and passer than most of the quarterbacks who have moved on to the next level lately," wrote's Lance Zierlein. "Daniels is positioned to become a very good NFL starter in a spread-based passing attack."

And there's certainly more to it than this -- the Commanders are looking at quarterbacks but still have a lot of work to do between now and April -- but Daniels does fit some of the qualifications that head coach Dan Quinn looks for at the position.

"I think you better show accuracy on the deep ball because when those moments for explosive plays are there," Quinn said. "There's a single high coverage, it's a man to man, it's an all-out blitz and you nail those moments, that's where the explosive plays are driven. So, you certainly want to look for a quarterback who can get it out of a bad play."

No. 36: Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington

Washington could re-sign James Smith-Williams or Casey Toohill this offseason, but that still leaves them thin on the outside. The Commanders need an experienced pass-rusher with some upside, which is where Washington's Bralen Trice comes into play. Trice, a team captain, who played 40 games in his career with the Huskies, might not be the most athletic player at his position, but he does play with a high motor and recorded 19 sacks. His size -- 6-foot-4 and 274 pounds -- also comes in handy during run support.

No. 40: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

Taking a cornerback at No. 40 might be a luxury with several young players already at the position and the possibility of re-signing Kendall Fuller, but there's nothing wrong with getting as many talented players as possible to match up with receivers. Missouri's Ennis Rakestraw Jr. was an all-around solid player for the Tigers, recording 35 tackles in each of his last two seasons. He was more successful in coverage in 2022, when he had 12 pass breakups with an interception, but there is something to be said for his competitiveness and willingness to contribute in the run game.

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