Commanders’ Adam Peters eyeing more than QBs at NFL combine: ‘We’re here for everything’

INDIANAPOLIS — Adam Peters’ charm offensive was on point for the big stage.

On Tuesday, the Washington Commanders’ general manager showed no hints of nerves or discomfort at his first-ever NFL Scouting Combine podium session. It was the same with a scrum moments later inside the Indiana Convention Center with local reporters who made the trip. With his toothy grin and a casual demeanor on steady display, Peters primarily gave a series of respectful non-answers with two possible exceptions.

One occurred in the smaller session. Peters made a point of acknowledging a broad question about identifying talent in the 2024 class.

“Yeah, I really appreciate the non-quarterback question, first of all,” Washington’s front-office leader said. “That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for everything.”

One look at Washington’s roster and projected starting lineup shows the “here for everything” comment is spot on. Regardless, the team’s quarterback problem is genuine, as is the opportunity to address it with the No. 2 overall selection in April’s NFL Draft. As the San Francisco 49ers’ assistant GM in 2022, Peters helped evaluate the quarterback the 49ers selected with the draft’s final choice, who surprisingly turned into their starter, Brock Purdy.

“(The combine) is only just a little bit part of the process,” Peters said, “but (Purdy’s) tape and everything that he did at Iowa State … we thought that he could really fit in well with our scheme. If we thought he was that good, we probably wouldn’t have waited until the last pick.

“But yeah, we liked him that much. And now I got to find a new quarterback.”


Commanders at NFL combine: QB watch, hearing from Adam Peters, addressing team needs

He does, indeed. NFL teams don’t compete without strength across the roster, but the odds of becoming a title contender without a robust quarterback plummet. Washington has lived that unwanted life for much of the past 30 years, most of which were controlled by dismal ownership. Peters, this year’s hot GM candidate, represents the organizational change. Landing a passing prodigy does so even more.

The good news: Peters is flush with draft options with the No. 2 pick. Should USC’s Caleb Williams go first to the Chicago Bears, the debate is likely between North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels. Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is worthy of top-10 consideration for some evaluators and therefore a possibility if Washington trades down for a significant asset haul headlined by picks.

Information gathering began months ago. More occurs this week. Peters and coach Dan Quinn are specifically interested in the medical check prospects undergo at the combine. As for evaluations, forget about watching the game tape (or watching some quarterbacks throw). Meeting the passers for the first time is on this week’s agenda.

“I would say this is a good year if you needed a quarterback,” Peters said. “I’m not saying we need a quarterback, but if you did, I think there are some really good options, and I’m really excited to meet them.”

Neither Williams nor Daniels is expected to participate in passing drills this week. All talent evaluators value any data possible, but “if you’re a top-five pick, you have to make a cost-benefit analysis,” Peters acknowledged.



Commanders could have a Drake Maye-Jayden Daniels decision to make at No. 2

The Commanders have their own value propositions to consider. Bears GM Ryan Poles rebuffed rumors about having solidified plans with 2023 starter Justin Fields and, in turn, drafting a quarterback at No. 1. If Chicago prefers a different path or Williams balks at starting his career in the Windy City, Washington might have the opportunity to trade up for the D.C. native.

“You always want to be involved in (significant discussions) for the top (pick),” Peters said. “Whether you actually pull the trigger or not, that’s a different story.”

Washington’s needs include pass rushers, offensive linemen and cornerbacks. If the front office doesn’t find (or seek) immediate help with the team’s nine draft picks, including six in the top 102, holes can also be filled via free agency. Spending on free agents such as edge rushers Bryce Huff or Dorance Armstrong and guard Jonah Jackson can get expensive quickly, even for a team with roughly $67.7 million of effective salary-cap space, per Over the Cap. Taking a massive swing on a veteran quarterback (Kirk Cousins?) takes the spending to another level.

“You want to build (the roster) responsibly so it’s sustainable,” Peters said. “Spending on a bunch of high-level free agents, that’s probably better in the short term. But are you better in the long term? Maybe, maybe not.”



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Quinn is learning about Washington’s roster but also about the GM’s skills. Following recent meetings with the staff, the coach sees an evaluator capable of not only identifying talent but also finding prospects who fit specific traits or desires. Peters’ “superpower is finding the players that the team needs,” Quinn said. “I’m so lit up to be able to work with him.”

Another form of spending comes in re-signing free agents from Washington’s 2023 squad. Peters said the Commanders will not use the franchise tag on safety Kamren Curl or any player. That’s no surprise. The safety tag would net Curl a 2024 salary of $17.1 million, far exceeding his perceived street value.

Peters also said he has spoken with Curl’s representatives, “and we’ll continue to do that.” Having reviewed Washington players and agents, Quinn appreciated the 2020 seventh-round pick.

“I’ve been super impressed by him over the last two years as a guy who has absolutely gone for it as a tackler, enforcer,” Quinn said.

There were comments from the head coach about gauging linebacker Jamin Davis’ pass-rush chops, safety Quan Martin’s versatility and quarterback Sam Howell’s toughness. More questions about the overall scenario will happen in the days ahead. But with the combine as the backdrop, quarterback inquiries dominated the day.

Peters has several of his own on evaluating the sport’s most critical position.

“With quarterback or any position, it’s people evaluating people,” Peters said. “You’re going to make mistakes, and it’s a matter of if you have a better hit rate. And the more hits you have, whether it’s the first-round pick, the seventh-round pick or anywhere in between, that’s how you build your team.”

(Photo: Stacy Revere / Getty Images)

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