Commanders Rookie LB Makes Big Impression at Minicamp

The Washington Commanders earned almost universal praise this offseason when they signed free-agent linebackers Frankie Luvu and Bobby Wagner — two of the most underrated players at their position in the NFL who come in as plug-and-play starters.

The Commanders may have unexpectedly added depth to that strength when they drafted Temple linebacker Jordan Magee in the fifth round of the 2024 NFL draft after ESPN’s John Keim singled Magee out as a surprise standout in OTAs and minicamp.

“It’s uncertain how much playing time Magee will receive this season,” Keim wrote. “But the fifth-round pick clearly made a strong first impression — enough to where a position of weakness the past several years can now be considered a strength. The Commanders signed starters Bobby Wagner and Frankie Luvu  in free agency. They already had Jamin Davis, but because of the newcomers they’re trying him as an edge rusher. Magee is part of the reason for the optimism.”

Magee Could Go From Project to Key Contributor

Magee is somewhat undersized for his position at 6-foot-1 and 228 pounds but has elite speed and athleticism — he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds at the 2024 NFL combine.

At Temple, Magee was a three-year starter who led the Owls in tackles his last two seasons on the way to earning All-AAC honors in 2023. Magee showed a knack for making big plays and had 23 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks across 2022 and 2023.

In the NFL, if he can become an ace special teams contributor and competent backup to Luvu and Wagner as a rookie that would be a huge win for the Commanders.

“Magee lacks ideal size but plays with good strength and aggression and is able to bounce off bigger bodies to find his way to tackle tries from challenging angles,” wrote NFL analyst Lance Zierlein in his pre-draft evaluation. “He has a good early trigger, but his sideline-to-sideline range is average. Magee needs to prove he can make plays with better discipline in order to become more than a solid backup with special teams value.”

How Magee Impressed Coaching Staff in OTAs

Magee excelled in coverage through OTAs and minicamp and impressed the Commanders coaching staff by how well he showed he could rush the quarterback — something a closer look at his college production showed he might be able to excel at if given the chance.

“(Magee) doesn’t carry himself like a rookie,” defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. told ESPN. “You would not know that with the way he handles himself, the way he absorbs information. He doesn’t (make) a lot of mistakes.”

After taking quarterback Jayden Daniels at the No. 2 overall pick, the Commanders went heavy on defense in the 2024 NFL draft, using their next two picks on Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton (No. 36 overall) and Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil (No. 50 overall).

Washington closed out the 2024 draft by taking defensive players with their final three picks — Magee and Washington cornerback Dominique Hampton in the fifth round followed by Notre Dame defensive end Javonte Jean-Baptiste in the seventh round.

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