Washington Commanders: 3 late-round talents to target in the 2024 draft

The Washington Commanders have a new front office and coaching staff, as well as the second overall draft pick. That all combines to make the 2024 draft one of the most intriguing for the franchise in a long time. The late-rounds can make just as big of an impact, though. Here are three players they should consider later in the draft.

Washington Commanders Introduce Dan Quinn As New Head Coach During Press Conference
Washington Commanders Introduce Dan Quinn As New Head Coach During Press Conference / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages
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Billy Shaeffer (LB/EDGE) - Lafayette

Remember when I said I followed Holy Cross this year? My brother is a coach at Lafayette College, so I'm very familiar with the Patriot League.

Speaking of Lafayette, they have an absolute dude on their defense.

Billy Shaeffer spent the season putting fear into opposing quarterbacks. In his final season, he set career-highs in tackles (83), tackles for loss (21.5), sacks (10), and forced fumbles (5). Meanwhile, his five pass deflections were one off of his career-best.

Two things Washington's defense could desperately use are pass rush and playmaking. They were the seventh-worst team in the NFL when it came to sacks (39).

It gets even worse when you consider their sack leader (Montez Sweat with 6.5) and Chase Young (third on the team with five sacks) were traded midway through the season.

Washington was also the seventh-worst team in the NFL at taking the ball away. They only forced 18 turnovers. Shaeffer's ability to strip the ball would create some much-needed havoc.

The Commanders have needed some linebacker/edge help for quite some time now. For a while, the talking point of the defense was that the stacked line would solve all their problems.

The issue is it didn't do that. Washington's defense struggled, and the defensive line was far from the dominant force it was meant to be. Meanwhile, they keep shuffling in new (underwhelming) free agents at linebacker.

Obviously, a late-round pick isn't a guarantee to fix all your problems at the position. Shaeffer's experience leading a defense makes him an interesting case.

A finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year) in 2023, Billy Shaeffer clearly has the talent to turn some heads with his high-motor in the NFL.

For years, Washington boasted a defensive line that featured all first-round picks. That didn't work out well for them in 2023. Now, go try to find a difference-maker late in the draft. Shaeffer is waiting.