Surprise Draft QB ‘Most Popular’ Fit for Adam Peters, Commanders

Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye have been the most popular quarterbacks tipped to be selected second overall by the Washington Commanders in the 2024 NFL draft, but general manager Adam Peters might prefer J.J. McCarthy.

Commanders GM Adam Peters on process of determining QB future: 'We still  have a lot of work to do'

That’s been the buzz at the league’s annual owners meeting, where NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero revealed, “Everybody’s always trying to figure out, especially at the top of the draft, what the other teams are doing. When I’ve had conversations here, with executives from other teams who know Adam Peters well, know the situation well, the most popular answer for what they do at No. 2 is J.J. McCarthy.”

Pelissero made the surprising revelation starting at the 3:57 mark of the above clip. While it’s just a rumor, not to mention one bearing all the hallmarks of a typical, pre-draft smokescreen, McCarthy entering the mix at such a late stage still rates as a significant development.

This year’s draft begins on Thursday, April 25, so the Commanders’ plans should be coming into focus, despite what Peters may say publicly. He’s been playing his cards close to his chest, but the first-year GM will know the importance of getting his pick right as he attempts to solve problems at football’s most important position stretching back 10 years.

J.J. McCarthy a Polarizing Option and Risk for Adam Peters

Opinion is more than a little split on McCarthy’s credentials as a potential top-five pick. He led Michigan to a national championship, but McCarthy has his detractors.

Among them, Fox Sports’ Nick Wright, who told The Herd w/Colin Cowherd, “at no point was I watching Michigan and like, ‘O man, and they’ve got a top-five pick at quarterback.’”

Wright is fully confident McCarthy is nothing more than a “day two pick,” but not everybody shares that view.

Former New York Jets’ general manager Mike Tannenbaum believes McCarthy is “the right prototype, he has great intangibles. The tape sets the floor, the character sets the ceiling, his ceiling is limitless.”

Tannenbaum rates McCarthy as a “no-brainer” choice at fourth overall, putting him well within the range of the Commanders. The question is would the Commanders reach for such a polarizing prospect two picks earlier or does any interest in McCarthy hint Peters is thinking about a draft-day trade?

Trade Scenarios Have Drawbacks for Adam Peters

Trading back from the No. 2 spot would be a bold move for a GM who’s inherited a 4-11 team with holes all over the roster. Peters and head coach Dan Quinn addressed some of those holes in free agency, brining in key veterans like running back Austin Ekeler, as well as center Tyler Biadasz.

Those signings improve the framework for a rookie quarterback, but most still believe the first-year passer will be Daniels or Maye. Both are considered a good fit for what offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury likes to do at the position.

Trading out of the second pick would only be worth it for a tidy enough haul. Some scenarios have the Commanders fetching just a high second-rounder after swapping first-round selections.

That wouldn’t be enough to justify striking a deal. Unless Peters and Quinn are deadlocked on two quarterbacks and could make a case for taking either with their new pick.

If McCarthy is one of them, his selection would immediately put pressure on the new regime to justify a choice many would consider a reach.

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