Rival Coach Helped Commanders GM Decide on No. 2 Overall Pick

Kyle Shanahan

Getty San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

There were a lot of different people Washington Commanders general manager Adam Peters could have turned to inside the walls of his own team’s facility as he tried to decide on which player to select with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

According to a report from ESPN’s John Keim, part of the decision-making process for Peters included going outside of those walls … and turning to the head coach of a longtime NFC rival.

The Commanders eventually drafted LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels.

“Daniels had advocates outside of Washington as well,” Keim wrote. “Former Arizona State coach Herm Edwards, who recruited Daniels and coached him for three years, told Peters that Daniels ‘was a man; don’t let his youth fool you.; One source said San Francisco receiver Brandon Aiyuk a close friend of Daniels’, sang his pal’s praises to Peters. And San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan, with whom Peters worked for seven years, also gave Daniels a glowing review.”

Peters was hired by the Commanders in Jan. 2024 and worked as vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager for the San Francisco 49ers from 2017 to 2023.

In that stretch, Peters and Shanahan were part of the team that made some of the more befuddling decisions in recent draft history — including choosing not to scout a future Hall of Fame quarterback and selecting one of the biggest busts in recent draft history.

49ers Decided Not to Scout Mahomes, Draft Lance

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter brilliantly relayed on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast, the 49ers decided not to scout quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL draft because they were convinced then-Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins would sign with them as a free agent following the season, which he did not.

In that group of 2017 quarterbacks? Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, who the Kansas City Chiefs selected with the No. 10 overall pick. Mahomes is now a three-time Super Bowl champion, with two of those wins coming against the 49ers.

The 49ers drafted Stanford defensive tackle Solomon Thomas at No. 3 overall in 2017 and traded for New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that fall.

The 49ers soured on Garoppolo after going 6-10 in 2020 and swapped first-round picks with the Miami Dolphins in the 2021 NFL Draft to move up from No. 12 to No. 3. That deal included the 49ers trading away their first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, along with a third-round pick.

With that No. 3 overall pick, the 49ers selected North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, who would start four games over the next two seasons before losing his job to seventh-round pick Brock Purdy.

Lance was eventually traded to the Dallas Cowboys before the 2023 season in exchange for a fourth-round pick.

Will Daniels Be Savior or Another Draft Bust?

Daniels will try to turn around the Commanders’ recent history of picking abject busts at quarterback in the first round.

In 2012, the Commanders selected Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick. RG3 went 14-21 as the starter over four seasons before he was released.

In 2019, the Commanders selected Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick. Haskins, who died in 2022, went 3-10 in two seasons with the Commanders before he was released.

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