Assuming the Bears take Caleb Williams first, who should the Washington Commanders take with the second pick of the 2024 NFL Draft? LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels and North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye are the most likely options for the Commanders at No. 2

It seems all but assured that the Chicago Bears will select USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. After that, the Washington Commanders are on the clock and things get more uncertain.

With Josh Harris as the owner of the franchise, Adam Peters as the general manager and Dan Quinn as the head coach, it’s a brand new era for the Washington Commanders. So, what should those men look to do with the second pick of the upcoming NFL Draft? That’s the question we’re looking to answer here.

While the majority of the responses centered around two men, the only guideline in place was to assume that Williams will go No. 1 to the Bears. After that, it was a blank canvas. Here’s how seven of us filled that canvas.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels? North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye? Someone, or something entirely different?

What should the Commanders do with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Michael Grant

Outside of Caleb Williams, I don’t have a strong feeling about the rest of this quarterback class. It seems like they all have question marks. Traditionally, there is usually only one QB in the first round who has a shot to be great.

That said, if I’m going to take a chance, I would lean to Jayden Daniels who had 55 career starts in college.

His experience and athleticism make him less risky.

Chris Novak

I think it’s clear that the Commanders need a new franchise quarterback. The last time they arguably had one who could come close to that standard was when they rostered both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. A new era for the franchise should begin with a new quarterback.

As far as… who that QB is? I’ll lean Drake Maye. I’ve had him as my personal QB2 the entire way so I don’t see any reason to lean off that. I’d consider Jayden Daniels also, and it’s not that he’s a bad pick. But everyone has their preferences, and I like what Maye brings to the table. I think his skillset will translate well at the next level and he can be the guy for the Commanders going forward.

Robert O’Neill

I think that Washington’s best option would be to take Drake Maye with the second pick. I’ve thought he was the second best quarterback in the draft all throughout the process, and that hasn’t changed.

Maye is younger than Jayden Daniels and had better college passing stats while having less talent around him. Even with Daniels being a better rusher, Maye proved adequate in that regard too, rushing for 1,100 yards and 26 touchdowns in his time at North Carolina.

I think the gap between the two players is narrow, but Maye is the better call here.

Reice Shipley

It’s no secret that the Commanders will be going with a quarterback at No. 2 here. So it really comes down to what quarterback you see as the second best in the class behind Caleb Williams.

For me, Jayden Daniels represents a true dual-threat quarterback who looks quite refined as a passer for someone who also rushed for over 1,000 yards this past season.

Not only does he open up Washington’s rushing game with his athletic ability, but his ability to throw on the run allows for Commanders new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury to get creative with his play calling, something he was also able to do with Kyler Murray in Arizona.

I wouldn’t be mad at Washington going with Drake Maye here either, but in my opinion, Daniels just gives defenses a bit more to worry about.

Matt Clapp

This is an easy answer for me, and entering the offseason, I thought it would be a rather consensus opinion on QB2: Drake Maye.

Heck, as a Chicago Bears fan, the Caleb Williams vs Drake Maye debate was a big discussion in the fan base’s universe just a few months ago, and while very much realizing that Williams is an elite prospect.

Maye has a physical — both in body and talents — skillset that doesn’t come around often for quarterback prospects. You have to aim high at the quarterback position in this era and find someone that you can see having the potential to go to toe with Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, C.J. Stroud, etc. Otherwise, it’s ultimately a dead end. Maye offers such traits.

It’s easy to see the Herbert, Allen-esque potential (not a direct comp, just saying in terms of comparable traits and a ceiling). I believe in Maye’s upside much more than Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, and company. So, I think it’s a swing that Washington has to take. If it’s not Maye, I’d honestly rather trade down for a haul than stay at No. 2.

Michael Dixon

If I had access to a time machine, my answer would be to keep Sam Howell, draft Marvin Harrison Jr. and re-evaluate the quarterback position after the 2024 season. But without that time machine, we have to play the hand we’ve dealt. That means drafting a quarterback — which means drafting Jayden Daniels.

We can look at his mobility and the fact that he ran for 1,134 yards in 2023. But he also completed 72.2% of his passes for 3,812 yards with 40 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Sure, he threw picks against both Florida State and Alabama, LSU’s best two opponents in 2023. But he also threw for 346 yards against the Seminoles and ran for 163 against the Tide. Any draft pick is a risk. But a guy who plays like that against the best college competition is a risk worth taking in the NFL.

Sam Neumann

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

The persistent rumors linking Jayden Daniels to the Washington Commanders suggest that this might be the direction Dan Quinn’s team is leaning toward. However, opting for Daniels over Drake Maye could be a risky gamble. Historical data suggests that the likelihood of either Maye or Daniels emerging as a top-20 quarterback in this league is slim. Despite this, with a new ownership, a fresh head coach, and a general manager at the helm, the Commanders appear ready to gamble on a quarterback.

While Maye and Daniels boast intriguing potential, their rawness makes them unlikely starters on Day 1. Ideally, the Commanders could groom a rookie, but their situation, with a pressing need to improve their offensive line and a fanbase eager for success, might demand a quicker solution. Even in a true training camp competition, the high draft pick invested in Maye or Daniels would likely hand them the starting job over veterans like Marcus Mariota or Jake Fromm despite their lack of polish.

But is that really Washington’s goal? Here’s where I’ll make a strawman argument, and I may lose a few people.

I think the Commanders should put the pick up for sale. And they should get a king’s ransom from a quarterback-desperate team. If the Minnesota Vikings want to trade you both picks this year (Nos. 11 and 23) and a first or second next year, you take them up on it. Moving back from No. 2 to No. 11 may not be ideal, but a scenario exists where Washington could acquire three first-round picks for No. 2 and a conditional 2025 draft pick. So, let’s say that happens.

If I sit as the Commanders at No. 11, I take my left tackle of the future. Let’s be honest: the Commanders currently have Cornelius Lucas penciled in as their starting left tackle. The 32-year-old signed a one-year, four-million deal to re-up with Washington this offseason. That’s a pressing need.

Give me Penn State’s Olu Fashanu.

And then, at No. 23, the Commanders need to upgrade their secondary; taking Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry would make sense.

From then on, I would trade back into the first round and take Michael Penix, Jr. He’s Day 1 ready. And if it doesn’t work out, guess what?  You have two firsts next year. Yes, there’s always next year, and punting on a quarterback may not be a great argument, but it is for a talent-deprived roster that needs to get better everywhere rather than taking a project quarterback.