Why the Commanders Shouldn’t Trade Up to Select QB Caleb Williams in the 2024 NFL Draft

Everyone is considering it. Is it fair to blame them?

Kliff Kingsbury has been appointed as the new offensive coordinator by the Washington Commanders. He was the passing-game maestro who coached USC’s Calvin Williams in 2023.

Williams was reared in the Washington, D.C., region and is predicted to be the first choice in this year’s NFL draft.

Washington is in a good position to select the 22-year-old with the second overall pick in this year’s draft; however, it may need to trade up into the top spot, which is presently held by the Chicago Bears.

However, that does not imply that it is a good idea. It’s not, and here’s why.

What Would It Take to Trade Up?

There’s no exact precedent, because no team has ever traded up from No. 2 to No. 1 in the NFL draft.

This would also depend on what other teams are willing to trade away to leapfrog the Commanders for Williams. A pick is only worth what someone will pay for it, after all.

According to the draft pick trade value chart, a jump from No. 2 to the top slot should cost Washington a second-round draft pick. The Commanders happen to possess two selections in the top half of Round 2, as well as a pair of third-rounders. So, parting with one of those second-round picks wouldn’t necessarily be a team-wrecker.

That’s unlikely to be the price tag, though, unless the Commanders find themselves competing against nobody. Even then, Chicago would likely have to be uninterested in Williams. If you’re already loaded with draft capital (as the Bears are) and you really love the guy in front of you, are you going to give that up for an extra Day 2 pick?

For a recent example of what the QB tax looks like in primo draft pick swaps, see the San Francisco 49ers’ decision to trade away two future first-round picks as well as a third-rounder to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 for Trey Lance in 2021.

That turned out to be a horrendous deal, and the Carolina Panthers’ decision to deal a second, a future first, a future second and receiver D.J. Moore to leap from No. 9 to No. 1 for Bryce Young last year isn’t looking much better.

The jump wouldn’t be as substantial for Washington in the No. 2 spot, but there’s a good chance it will have to sacrifice multiple Day 2 picks this year and next, if not a future first-rounder, to land the No. 1 overall pick for Williams.

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