Verse excelled following his jump from FCS-level Albany to Florida State, but he has an opportunity to boost his draft stock even further after his return to Tallahassee. He has an explosive first step and finished his first season as a Seminole with 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks. The Commanders declined to exercise the fifth-year option for Chase Young.
Maye is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and has a massive arm. Not only did he throw 38 touchdown passes last season, but he also ran for seven scores and almost 700 yards. Washington might be comfortable with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett at the moment, but the former is a fifth-round pick with one career start, and the latter is a 30-year-old veteran backup on a one-year deal. I understand the Commanders passing on quarterback down the board at No. 16 in 2023, but if they have a chance to get someone like Maye next April, it could change things for the franchise. Washington was outside the top 20 in nearly every passing metric last season.
Only a redshirt sophomore (plus he skipped his senior year of high school), Ewers is still very young in several areas. But he has the top-shelf arm talent to make wow plays look routine. If the mental development catches up to his physical skills, Ewers will be an easy top-10 pick.
Washington's decision not to pick up the fifth-year option on former 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young makes addressing the pass rush clearly a top priority for the Commanders. Verse, who joined FSU last year after two dominating seasons at Albany, surprised many by opting to return for 2023 after earning first-team All-ACC honors in 2022 with 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks despite missing three games due to injury.
The Washington Commanders did not address the quarterback position in the 2023 draft and look poised to let Sam Howell show whether or not he can be a starting NFL quarterback. If he struggles, expect them to make a move for a quarterback in the '24 draft. Michael Penix Jr. has a ton of experience with 30 starts under his belt between Indiana and Washington. The lefty has been productive with 8,838 passing yards and 60 TDs.
Fashanu was a projected first-rounder in the 2023 NFL Draft but opted to return to get his master's degree. Not only does he excel in the classroom, but he also excels in pass protection. His 84.7 pass-blocking grade was sixth among Power Five tackles, and he didn't surrender a sack and only allowed one hit on 281 pass-blocking snaps.
If Nix continues to play like he did in 2022 he'll have forced his way into Day 1 consideration. The Commanders mostly sat out the 2023 quarterback market, instead opting for a year of Jacoby Brissett and whatever Sam Howell brings to the table behind center. Nix could provide an upgrade to that depth chart — or fade into Day 3 if he regresses this fall.
A franchise about to open a much-awaited new era would be wise to keep an eye on the top quarterbacks in the draft, as 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell and journeyman Jacoby Brissett don't provide much reason to believe they can elevate an offense. This projection might seem high for a player who only recently reasserted his starting status, but Ewers boasts rare arm talent to thread tight-window throws.