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Commanders Urged to Draft ‘Pocket’ QB to Replace Sam Howell

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The Washington Commanders can select Sam Howell’s replacement second overall in the 2024 NFL draft.

 

Drafting a marquee quarterback is well within the Washington Commanders’ sights, and Drake Maye is a smart choice to replace Sam Howell.

 

The North Carolina product makes sense as a “pure pocket passer with mobility and the full franchise quarterback skill set,” according to CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso.

 

He named Maye as the Commanders ideal choice with the second-overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

 

The Commanders own the pick and are likely to keep it, based on predictions for their Week 18 clash with NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Maye would replace fellow North Carolina alum Howell, who “really flashed at times in Year 2,” but Trapasso noted how a new coaching staff will want to draft a new QB1.

 

Changes on the coaching staff and in the front office feel inevitable, so Maye to Washington is a plausible scenario.

 

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Drake Maye Makes Sense for Commanders

A quarterback with above-average mobility and an elite arm is what the Commanders hoped Howell would become this season.

 

Unfortunately, the 23-year-old regressed as the season wore on, eventually winding up on the bench.

 

Howell’s issues undermined the talented supporting cast around him.

 

The Commanders boast a strong contingent of pass-catchers, including wide receivers Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel, along with tight end Logan Thomas.

 

There’ll be ample weapons at the disposal of the next starting signal-caller.

 

Maye won’t waste them based on how he thrived for the Tar Heels.

 

He threw for 24 touchdowns and ran for nine more in 2023. Many of Maye’s best plays involved him throwing from off his spot, or even with his non-throwing hand, per Pro Football Network’s Ian Valentino.

 

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Maye’s penchant for ad-libbing ought to appeal to Commanders’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He helped refine the NFL’s ultimate freelancer, Patrick Mahomes, for the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

He couldn’t replicate the magic with Howell, but Bieniemy’s a bold play-caller the Commanders should want to keep.

 

Fortunately, Bieniemy still has another year on his contract, although he’s already drawing interest from the Los Angeles Chargers.

 

Pairing Bieniemy with Maye would give a creative coordinator a passer with top-notch arm talent ready to make a fast start to life in the pros.

 

Plays like this touchdown pass thrown against Virginia, highlighted by Ryan McCrary of With the First Pick, showed what Maye is capable of from the pocket.

 

Drafting a franchise-type quarterback is the best way for the Commanders to reset their roster.

 

Commanders Need Rebuild After Sam Howell

The Howell experiment hasn’t worked, and head coach Ron Rivera will almost certainly pay the price.

 

Rivera’s departure will leave the Commanders in need of another rebuild, a process needing a true playmaker at quarterback to get the best start.

 

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Rivera also failed to construct a tough defense, but a star signal-caller can go a long way toward swiftly reversing the fortunes of a losing team. The Houston Texans and C.J. Stroud are a prime example.

 

Hiring another defensive-minded head coach, the way the Texans did with former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, should be the Commanders next step.

 

Supporting the new coach by letting Bieniemy work with Maye will give the Commanders the best chance for a quick turnaround.

 

James Dudko covers the New York Giants, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens for Heavy.com.

 

He has covered the NFL and world soccer since 2011, with bylines at FanSided, Prime Time Sports Talk and Bleacher Report before joining Heavy in 2021.

 

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