Commanders Coach Talks Process of Drafting Franchise Quarterback

Dan Quinn

Getty Washington Commanders head coach Dan Quinn.

New Washington Commanders head coach Dan Quinn has plenty of experience working with franchise quarterbacks. He’s just never had to pick one.

Quinn spoke with “This is Football” host podcast Kevin Clark in an episode released April 2 about working with a long list of franchise quarterbacks — and playing against them — throughout his career as the defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys and as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He also talked about the process the Commanders have gone through with the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL draft on April 25-27, where they’re almost assuredly going to pick a quarterback — likely LSU’s Jayden Daniels or North Carolina’s Drake Maye.

“You know, (the process) has been fun,” Quinn said. “For the last 10-11 years of my career … in Seattle, with Russ (Wilson) in year two or year three, going into Matt (Ryan) in that space in Atlanta, being with Dak (Prescott), so I’ve seen what good looks like at the spot.

“As a defensive coach, for a long time, you look at who the top guys are, quarterback-wise, because you have a sense you’ll probably be going against them … so going through the (evaluation) process from a different point of view where you’re going through all the guys, it’s been good, and one of the best parts of that has been going through that process with Adam (Peters).”

What Commanders Want Out of Franchise Quarterback

The latest PFF mock draft from Brad Spielberger has the Commanders taking Maye. The latest ESPN mock draft from Mel Kiper Jr. has the Commanders taking Daniels.

Quinn made it clear whoever Washington selects to lead its franchise moving forward, no stone will have been left unturned.

“It’s real specific, that way that we would go through (the process),” Quinn said. “f you want to look at receiver you can look at at his targets. You want to look at a quarterback, there’s so many other things than just arm strength and decision making and the ability to get out of trouble. And all of that goes into it so you want to go through every play of every game and even for a couple of years (of games), so it takes time but it’s a really cool experience to go through.”

Dan Quinn Goes From Disruptor to Evaluator

Clark asked Quinn about moving from the role of stopping the best quarterbacks in the NFL as a defensive coordinator to trying to pick a quarterback who he will have to nurture into being one of the best.

“You’ve spent your whole career thinking ‘How do we disrupt this person?’ ” Quinn said. “But seeing those traits come out in different players, knowing it’s not one size fits all … knowing it’s now, how does this person make these decisions and get out of it? What’s a third down look like? What’s a two-minute look like? At the end of the game, when it’s on the line, how that person respond? There’s a lot that goes into it but it’s a really cool process to go through.”

The Commanders haven’t selected a quarterback in the first round since picking Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Haskins, who died in April 2022, lasted less than two seasons in Washington.

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