right arrow

Commanders NFL mock draft 3.0: Assessing Washington’s post-free company priorities

There are causes I proceed buying and selling down within the first spherical when serving because the decision-maker for the Washington Commanders.

Buying additional picks is a standalone-worthy purpose, particularly for a crew that has restricted salary-cap area. However that requires a commerce associate. Final yr’s commerce down from 11 to 16 was 4 potential starters/rotation gamers — broad receiver Jahan Dotson, working again Brian Robinson, quarterback Sam Howell and tight finish Cole Turner —  which suggests not having to persuade coach Ron Rivera of the advantages of transferring down.

There aren’t any actual debates about Washington’s wants, both, even after including a number of free brokers. The puzzle from my perch is what’s possible on the board — and never on the board — for Washington at No. 16.


Commanders roster reset: QB pecking order, new-look offensive line and CB assist nonetheless wanted

Let’s first keep away from confusion by noting which gamers different groups will gobble up early. The Commanders seem set at quarterback with Howell and Jacoby Brissett. Even when Washington have been prepared to pick a first-round prospect, C.J. Stroud and Bryce Younger are the possible high two picks, with Anthony Richardson and Will Levis sometimes projected within the high 10.

Different gamers we will confidently recommend gained’t be round by 16 embrace: edge defenders Will Anderson and Tyree Wilson; cornerback Christian Gonzalez; and offensive linemen Peter Skoronski and Paris Johnson. Cornerback Devon Witherspoon and offensive sort out Broderick Jones are this shut to becoming a member of this group however may slip sufficient to tease Washington followers. The projections for Jalen Carter are inconclusive given his off-field considerations, however there isn’t a purpose for Washington to contemplate a defensive sort out.

Now what? The path to finest participant accessible may embrace an edge rusher (Lukas Van Ness, Nolan Smith, Myles Murphy) or broad receiver (Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston). Neither place is smart for Washington’s roster in 2023.

(Sidebar: If Chase Younger’s fifth-year choice isn’t picked up, the highest 5 defensive ends on the depth chart will likely be 2024 free brokers. Including a move rusher just like the bodily sturdy Van Ness on a rookie deal would mix properly with large contracts for Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, and it’s affordable to think about Younger or Montez Sweat, or each, exiting after this season. Pondering this feels wild, but a great instance of “finest participant accessible” and a future want maybe trumping speedy considerations. Have to marinate on this, together with whether or not buying and selling Younger or Sweat could be the follow-up maneuver …)

Washington is about with frontline working backs until one thing quirky occurs with 2024 free agent Antonio Gibson. Nonetheless, elite prospect Bijan Robinson could possibly be accessible at 16, given the leaguewide devaluing of working backs.

Taking a linebacker — a weak spot, however one Washington has invested little in past 2021 first-round decide Jamin Davis — could be a attain based mostly on consensus rankings. Mocks hardly ever present a linebacker within the high 25-32, not to mention close to 16.

Similar for security. The one talked about most frequently within the first spherical, Alabama’s Brian Department, seemingly slid after a slowish 40 time on the mix. The Commanders often deployed three safeties prior to now two seasons. Releasing Bobby McCain opened a path for 2022 fourth-round decide Percy Butler to enter.

That leaves three positions: cornerback, offensive line and tight finish. Nook is among the deeper positions on this class. Washington, on this setup, may need Joey Porter Jr. accessible, however the press, man-heavy nook doesn’t really feel like the perfect match for Jack Del Rio’s protection. Deonte Banks, Emmanuel Forbes and Cam Smith are candidates within the first-/second-round vary.

Maybe three to 5 different offensive linemen may hear their names known as within the first spherical. Taking any of them at 16 could be thought of reaching in some quarters. Counterpoint: The Commanders’ line lacks a lot upside, and assistance is required even after signing two O-linemen in free company.


Andrew Wylie affords Commanders’ offensive line extra expertise, versatility, familiarity

Tight finish is the straightforward name. Washington may need its selection of any tight finish, together with Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer. Nonetheless, crew officers have talked up Logan Thomas having a shot at returning to pre-knee surgical procedure kind and the potential provided by Armani Rogers and Cole Turner. That is one other spot the place expertise exists on days 2 and three.

The place does that go away us? With a pressure headache and pangs of uncertainty. High quality expertise will likely be there at 16. However the gamers may play the unsuitable positions. We may mock out the preliminary 15 picks to make Witherspoon or Jones drop. However the level is that if they’re not there, taking a lower-graded participant for want doesn’t maximize slot worth.

Sufficient rambling. Time for picks by all seven rounds. Warning: We’re taking part in this straight. No trades. Been there, accomplished that. First, a mini 1-15 mock.

  1. Panthers: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
  2. Texans: Bryce Younger, QB, Alabama
  3. Cardinals: Will Anderson, DE, Alabama
  4. Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
  5. Seahawks: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
  6. Lions: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
  7. Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
  8. Falcons: Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
  9. Bears: Peter Skoronski, OT/G, Northwestern
  10. Eagles: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
  11. Titans: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
  12. Texans: Nolan Smith, DE, Georgia
  13. Jets: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
  14. Patriots: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
  15. Packers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Spherical 1, No. 16: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

All tight ends can be found, as are Department and Van Ness. Porter isn’t the one cornerback price contemplating right here; ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. despatched Mississippi State’s 6-foot-1, 166-pound Forbes to Washington in his newest mock.

As an alternative, it’s a proper sort out gaining momentum all through the pre-draft course of. The large Wright (6 foot 5, 335 kilos) is the No. 17 prospect of NFL Community’s Daniel Jeremiah, and he shined in 2022 with a transfer to the precise aspect. The Athletic reported that Washington is amongst Wright’s scheduled top-30 visits.

Signing ex-Chief Andrew Wylie to a three-year contract seemingly meant he’ll play proper sort out, with Sam Cosmi shifting to protect. Wylie started his time with Kansas Metropolis at proper guard. Right here, he would transfer again to protect with Cosmi to left guard (although it’s unclear if the coaches see him taking part in there), and 2022 starter Andrew Norwell could be launched.

Upgrading the offensive line aids the quarterbacks, working backs, receivers and Rivera’s peace of thoughts.

Spherical 2, No. 47: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Smith, a prolonged 6-foot-1 defender, usually ranks among the many high seven cornerbacks. Which means a first-round shot, however Porter, Banks and Forbes are sometimes listed first. This path may ship Kendall Fuller inside in three CB units. It could additionally present a alternative if Fuller’s contract isn’t restructured earlier than he enters 2024 free company. Kansas State’s Julius Brents’ spectacular mix testing places him into the second-round combine.

Spherical 3, No. 97 (compensatory): Luke Wypler, C/G, Ohio State

One other huge physique for the trenches. Three veteran heart choices are on the roster, a great factor with the inexperienced poised for motion. Nonetheless, each has battled at the least one vital damage since 2021 and isn’t a long-term reply. Washington should resolve whether or not it can maintain Chase Roullier and/or decrease his $12.4 million cap hit.

Wypler, a two-year starter for the Buckeyes, enters the draft as a technically sound redshirt sophomore. If he may impress the coaches this summer time, the honorable All-Massive Ten choice would have time to develop and maybe play at heart or guard.

Spherical 4, No. 118: Okay.J. Henry, DE, Clemson

Once more, everybody at this place (apart from Shaka Toney) is headed to free company subsequent yr and not using a change of their contract standing. Henry could be an upside selection if the Commanders want a pure pace menace (4.63 40) with spectacular peak (6 foot 4). Michigan man Mike Morris, the 2022 Massive Ten defensive lineman of the yr, would supply energy and suppleness, however his inventory may slide after a dismal mix.

Spherical 5, No. 150: Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn

Right here’s one other identify for the linebacker hodgepodge. Pappoe is a two-time crew captain whose pace (4.39 40) and dimension (6-foot, 225 kilos) mission him, at the least initially, as a passing-down choice. Solely Jamin Davis’ and Cody Barton’s roster spots are secure amongst present LBs.

Spherical 6, No. 193: Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State

I went with the identical sixth-round picks from my mock 2.0 however switched the order. The Commanders launched J.D. McKissic, making a change-of-pace want. Vaughn is a enjoyable mixture of elusivity and power in a 5-foot-5 body. The shortest mix participant ever isn’t any gimmick. Throughout his last two seasons with the Wildcats, Vaughn produced 2,962 dashing yards, 91 receptions and 34 touchdowns.

Spherical 6, No. 215 (compensatory): Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA

Sticking with the three-QB plan. Security in numbers. Jeremiah likes the “ultra-twitched-up” QB with a “reside arm” who threw for at the least 21 landing passes in his three full seasons at UCLA.

Thompson-Robinson ran the fourth-fastest 40 time amongst quarterbacks (4.56) on the mix and tied for first within the 10-yard break up (1.51). He may elevate to the first backup in 2024.

Spherical 7, No. 233: Derius Davis, WR/KR, TCU

Cam Sims signing with the Raiders will increase ex-Chief Marcus Kemp’s possibilities of making the roster, leaving one spot. Dax Milne hardly ever made a obtrusive mistake within the return sport in 2022. He didn’t make splash performs, both (7.8 yards per return). Davis returned 5 punts and one kickoff for touchdowns at TCU. The 5-foot-9 slot receiver added 42 receptions throughout his last season.

(Picture of Darnell Wright: Bryan Lynn / USA Right now)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *