Washington Commanders Draft: A Brief History of the No. 2 Overall Pick


ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Commanders hold the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft and are expected to take a quarterback with the pick.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, as it were, it’s not the first time the Commanders have held the No. 2 overall pick, and it won’t even be the first time they take a quarterback there in the last 15 years.

Here’s a brief history of the No. 2 overall pick, it’s relationship with Washington, and the NFL in general.

The last time the Washington Commanders selected a quarterback No. 2 they took quarterback Robert Griffin III.


In the 2012 NFL Draft Washington took quarterback Robert Griffin III, a Heisman Trophy winner, and thrust the franchise into the fast lane toward becoming playoff contenders.

Many today will joke about the pick, and granted it didn’t end well, but for a period of time ‘RGIII’ set the NFL world on fire winning the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, making the Pro Bowl in his first season, and winning nine games right out of the gates.

Unfortunately, as a starter, RGIII didn’t win nine more games in six more seasons of play and his bright future was derailed by injuries and damning coaching decisions.

But that wasn’t even the last time the Commanders spent the No. 2 overall pick.


That honor goes to the 2020 NFL Draft and another rookie of the year, this time defensively, when Washington drafted Chase Young out of Ohio State to build their first round wall.

With Montez Sweat on the other end and first round picks Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen in the middle, the Commanders should have had the most feared defensive front in the land. Alas, it did not come to be.

After an award-winning first season, lack of production and perceived lack of effort, and injuries derailed Young’s run with the franchise and he was shipped to the San Francisco 49ers for a compensatory third round pick in 2024 – No. 100.

That’s quite the devaluation of a No. 2 overall pick.


In total, Washington has picked No. 2 five times in NFL Draft history.

The first time it selected a quarterback was in 1961 when Norm Snead was selected out of Wake Forest. The Buffalo Bills also selected him, but they did it in the 5th round (33rd overall) of the AFL Draft.

Snead played for three seasons with Washington and made it to two Pro Bowls during that time, but never led the team to a winning record.

That leaves linebacker LaVar Arrington as the most successful on-field No. 2 pick in franchise history.

Coming out of Penn State in 2000 Arrington started 11 games as a rookie, made the Pro Bowl three years straight from 2001-2003, and is currently top 10 in franchise history in solo tackles (324), and top 13 in sacks (22.5).

Arrington spent six seasons in Washington and one more with the New York Giants in 2006.

NFL at No. 2

The most recent quarterback taken No. 2 overall was C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State who went to the Houston Texans who not only won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award but won nine games as a starting rookie, threw for over 4,000 yards, won the AFC South Division Championship, and played in two playoff games in his first season.

Hard to have a much better rookie season than Stroud did.

Fellow No. 2 overall quarterback Zach Wilson didn’t have as good a time coming out of BYU to the New York Jets in 2021 and three years later he’s since been traded to the Denver Broncos.

What will come of the Commanders’ No. 2 selection this year? Only time will tell, but we’re pretty sure it’ll be a quarterback looking to replicate Stroud’s success, not the failures of others before him.

Stick with CommanderGameday for more coverage of the Washington Commanders throughout the NFL Draft

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