The NFL season is over, and the offseason, I mean draft season is here. The NFL Combine starts in less than a week. Free Agency begins on March 16th and the draft will finally happen in Las Vegas April 27-30. Washington needs a QB, and Ron Rivera has made it pretty clear they will be adding a veteran QB, and maybe a another one in the draft. Taylor Heinicke sounds like his spot on the roster is safe, but definitely not the starting spot he got after Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Week 1 injury.
We kick off this week’s roundup with a look at some veteran QB trades, and what it will cost the Commanders. Russell Wilson comes home to start, and will cost Washington their first two picks this year and their 1st round pick next year in the first mock. The next one will also give the Seahawks Washington’s 3rd round pick next year and QB Taylor Heinicke. This one seems unlikely, but this is going to be a strange offseason for QB trade ideas so buckle up. The final veteran QB being traded to Washington is Derek Carr. This mock doesn’t give trade details, but notes Carr will likely look for a big time payday if he gets paid, and Washington will trade this year’s 1st and more to get him.
If Washington can’t land one of the top QBs on their list, they can always turn to the draft. We haven’t entered the part of the offseason where the Commanders trade up for one of this year’s QBs, but that should start very soon. Matt Corral, Malik Willis, Sam Howell, and Kenny Pickett continue to be the 4 names that are linked to Washington in the first round this year.
We are down to one offensive lineman for Washington in this week’s roundup, and that still seems like too many this year. Ahmad Gardner was one of two defensive players mocked to the Commanders in our last roundup. Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton replaces Georgia LB Nakobe Dean. It doesn’t seem like a possibility right now that Hamilton falls out of the top 10, but it would make the war room debates a little more interesting this year if he did.
Trade for Russell Wilson
11. Seattle Seahawks (via Washington): Sam Howell, QB, UNC
Big Board Rank: 20
Commanders send 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick for QB Russell Wilson
Seahawks Dead Money: $26M
Commanders Inherited Contract: Two years, $51M
If the rumors mount to results and Seattle does pull the trigger on a Russell Wilson trade, Washington is a realistic landing spot for his services. The Commanders shouldn’t consider themselves in rebuild mode with a roster chock full of talent at multiple premium positions. That’s not to say they fit into the tried trope that is “being a quarterback away,” but they’re closer than a lot of other quarterback-needy teams and should view a trade for Wilson as the shorter path to a Super Bowl than drafting a rookie signal-caller at No. 11 overall.
On the other hand, Seattle essentially enters rebuild mode with Wilson off to the nation’s capital. While Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf both stand out as top-end talents at the wide receiver position, the Seahawks enter the offseason with offensive line, pass-rushing and secondary units that all arguably rank outside the top 20 in the NFL right now. Their focus shifts to hitting on picks and identifying their quarterback of the future, starting with a swing of the bat on PFF’s QB1.
Howell watched his top receivers and top running backs go onto the NFL while he stayed back at Chapel Hill, and he still managed to earn a 90.0 PFF grade in 2021. The drop-off in talent with his supporting cast took a baseball bat to UNC’s chances in the ACC, but Howell still showed out as one of college football’s top signal-callers. He has a rocket arm with plus mobility for the position, enough for Seattle to pull the trigger on his talents at No. 11 overall.
2nd round(via Washington): CB Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
Seattle Seahawks receive picks 11, 42, 2023 first and third-round picks, Taylor Heinicke. Washington Commanders receive Russell Wilson.
11) Seattle Seahawks (via Washington Commanders) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Trading Wilson isn’t ideal, however, the talks have occurred for two years now meaning there could be fire to this smokey situation. On the flip side, Willis can run a similar offense as Wilson, except he will be a bigger threat with his legs. He’s still getting better with post-snap diagnosis, but in his second and third year, he should see a jump. He’s the most talented quarterback in this draft, and also has the widest range of outcomes making him worth the 11th selection.
2nd Round(via Washington): Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
Trade for Derek Carr
11. Las Vegas Raiders (projected trade with Commanders): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Washington Commanders need a new quarterback STAT. This defense is ready-made for a playoff run.
The Commanders have an absolute stud WR1 with Terry McLaurin. If they can swing a trade for Derek Carr, I think this team is going to seriously be in business.
The going rate for Carr would be — at least — a first-round pick in 2022 and probably quite a bit more. Not to mention, Carr is going to be asking for $40 million per year on his next contract.
Although this kind of acquisition might give off some Alex Smith vibes, Carr has proven he can not only endure in difficult circumstances in the AFC West, but he has been a difference-maker in some key wins against the Chiefs and Chargers.
For Las Vegas, this would pave the way for a hypothetical trade for Jimmy Garoppolo to reunite with Josh McDaniels in the AFC West. Trading for Garoppolo might be a means to a 2023 NFL Draft end, but in this scenario the Raiders get Devin Lloyd, one of the top playmakers on defense in all of college football.
Lloyd is an absolute stud with size, range, athleticism, and instincts. He would be a great fit in the middle of an improving Raiders defense.
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
For those who don’t understand three quarterbacks going in the top 11 this year, we hear you. But there might be a significant need for several teams to find one in April, including Washington, if several veterans don’t switch teams. Corral has a playmaker’s mentality and decent physical traits, and he’s come a long way the past few years, but he’ll need a structured system to thrive.
Taylor Heinicke was good for much of the ‘21 season but you’d have to imagine Washington will think long and hard about a QB, especially if they’re picking this high.
It only takes five picks for the next QB to come off the board in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner loves the quick passing game, which Matt Corral excels at. Washington should be bullish in the veteran QB market as their roster is ready to compete now. But if they are unable to land a star, Corral is a high-upside contingency plan.
Round 2: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
The Commanders have several needs to fill here, but given the way this board has shaken out, their potential picks at quarterback, safety and offensive line all feel like a bit of a reach. This could be a prime spot to trade back and let some thirsty team take a shot at Nakobe Dean or Treylon Burks. But since we’re not making any trades in this mock, let’s give Washington the position where you’re expected to take a leap of faith and snatch up Corral.
The Ole Miss signal caller wasn’t as prolific in 2021 as he was in the COVID-affected 2020 season (333 passing yards per game), but showcased improved efficiency while cutting down on interceptions (from 14 to 5 despite playing three more games in ’21). He’s capable of extending drives with his arm and legs — his 195-yard rushing performance vs. Tennessee led to a road win against the Vols.
Corral is younger than his Day 1 QB cohort and brings plenty of potential to the position. Washington would still likely pair him with a veteran to ease the pressure on his jump from the SEC to NFC East, but ultimately he’d only have to outplay Taylor Heinicke in order to improve the Commanders’ offense.
It’s not a great year to need a quarterback, yet the Commanders are still left with just the third-best passer on the board at this pick. Even so, there’s plenty to like about Corral’s skill set and potential, especially after watching him consistently succeed against SEC defenses.
Round 2: Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
Round 3: Ja’Quan McMillian, CB, East Carolina
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Willis makes a lot of sense for Washington. He is a mobile quarterback with a big arm. The same model worked for Ron Rivera years earlier when Carolina selected Cam Newton. The hope is that the offensive line stays intact with Brandon Scherff returning and that Curtis Samuel gets healthy. If both of those happen, suddenly the Commanders have some options.
Willis won’t have to start in Week 1, but the potential is too good to pass on him here.
Willis has the ability to be a dynamic leader for the Commanders and bring back the classic RGIII pre-injury vibes. With his big arm too, there is a ton of potential for Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and more with Willis at the helm.
Round 2: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
An instant help to pass defense, Hill can make plays.
Round 3: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
Woolen is big, long, and fast to help an ailing Commanders secondary.
Are the Washington Commanders the team that goes after a quarterback via trade? It’s possible, and they could end up with Garoppolo or someone like Derek Carr if he’s made available. For now, though, the team that feels like a quarterback away selects one in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
Malik Willis is the selection here at 11. Willis was a big winner down in Mobile, excelling in the pocket and showing off his skill set, even on a rainy day of practice. The tools are there, from a strong arm, to impressive speed and power as a runner. As he grows into the mental side of the game, he can buy time and make defenders miss while he scrambles to find open guys.
Round 2: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
Poor quarterback play held Washington from being able to take a step forward in 2021. That will no longer be the case. Because as the newly-named Commanders, they draft the future face of their franchise in Malik Willis.
The Liberty signal-caller did wonders to his draft stock after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. His 91.7 PFF passing grade throughout the Senior Bowl practices was the highest of the week.
Willis averaged almost 100 rushing yards per game over the last two seasons, putting him in elite company with some of college football’s best rushers. His ability to add value will his legs will grant him extra time to develop as a passer at the NFL level.
My gut says by the time the draft rolls around, someone will trade up with the intention of grabbing Willis. But, with no trades in this version, he goes to the next team that needs a quarterback and that’s the newly minted Commanders. Willis is raw but his potential is ridiculous and too tempting for Washington to pass on.
Sam Howell, QB, UNC
I have no idea which quarterback comes off the board first in April. But I know I don’t believe in any of them as franchise signal callers. Howell has good all-around talent, but his decision-making and pocket presence need a lot of work. Washington has to find their quarterback of the future, even if Howell still needs some development before he can play.
FOUR quarterbacks off the board by No. 11, and in a weak QB year! There’s just so much demand for improvement at the position across the league, and Washington is in desperate need of a better man under center.
Very accurate passer who throws to leverage and away from defenders. Howell makes easy throws look easy underneath and has a pretty deep ball with lots of air underneath it to drop it over the shoulder into the bucket.
Reasons For Draft Pick:
Find a franchise quarterback in Washington
Great arm talent
Throwing receivers open
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Taylor Heinicke was been serviceable, but he caps Washington’s offense. Kenny Pickett will be hard to pass up with Willis off the board. Pickett is a leader with good accuracy and ball placement—he can create second-reaction opportunities with his legs. He would have a nice core to lean on with Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown, and Antonio Gibson.
Pickett’s immense experience and well-rounded skillset give him the best shot among the quarterback prospects to start in Year 1. And even if he does not win the starting job during the preseason, there’s a good chance he’ll take over as the starter at some point in 2022 and produce with a solid cast of playmakers around him.
Finally, a quarterback is selected. In search of stability at the position, Washington has started three different quarterbacks in four consecutive seasons and has had a total of 10 different starters over that span. Pickett turns 24 in June and is as pro-ready as any quarterback in this draft class. After throwing 39 touchdowns and 25 interceptions from 2017 to ’20, Pickett threw 42 touchdowns to only seven interceptions last season.
Washington’s defense underperformed in 2021, but if that group can bounce back and reach its potential next year, this team isn’t far off from competing in the NFC East. That’s particularly true if the Commanders can find a good starting quarterback, too―and Pickett is the most game-ready signal-caller in this draft. Pickett would have a soft landing spot with Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and Logan Thomas to throw to on offense.
The Commies need their quarterback of the future. If they don’t find a solution to the quarterback issue, Ron Rivera and the front office won’t last a lot longer.
Pickett caught fire in 2021, ripping up opponents on a weekly basis and boosting his draft grade. He is a dangerous rhythm passer in the short to intermediate part of the field while also showing superb deep-ball accuracy. When plays break down, Pickett has mobility and is a willing, tough runner. Pickett shows excellent accuracy, developed field vision, an ability to work through progressions, can buy time with his feet, and is able to throw vertically with a soft deep ball that is easy to catch. He has definite NFL arm talent. While he generally shows good decision making, there are 2-3 passes per game where he makes poor choices, looking like a risky gunslinger. That issue could likely be worked out of him by a pro staff.
In 2021, Pickett took the Panthers to new heights with their first ACC Championship, and he surpassed Dan Marino as the program’s all-time leader in touchdown passes. Pickett completed 67 percent of his passes in 2021 for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He notched five rushing touchdowns as well.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder has quality size for the NFL and is known to have good character. One negative is Pickett is said to have small hands, which is why he wears gloves, including on his throwing right hand. After seeing some action in 2017, Pickett was the Panthers’ starter from 2018-2020, so he will enter the next level with a lot of starting experience, but he will also be a 24-year-old rookie.
Round 2: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Washington’s pass coverage in 2021 lived up to “the Commodes” nick name that some Redskins alumni have texted me. Clearly, the team needs more help at cornerback.
Booth (6-0, 195) generated some buzz in the scouting community after a 2020 season that saw him produce 35 tackles, three interceptions and four passes broken up. Because Derion Kendrick left the program over the offseason, Booth was the Tigers’ No. 1 corner in 2021. Booth got off to a good start against easy competition, and he remained consistent with his usual production. His skill set could be enough for him to be a potential second-day pick. Booth was solid in 2021, recording 37 tackles, three interceptions and three passes broken up.
Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
The Commanders could lose Brandon Scherff in free agency and Green would be a plug-and-play replacement.
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
A true lockdown cornerback, Ahmad Gardner is the pick for the Washington Commanders. Gardner didn’t allow more than 13 yards in a single game this past season. Even more impressive, he didn’t allow a single passing touchdown in his coverage during three years at Cincinnati. Gardner has that it factor and can be a lockdown option in the nation’s capital for years to come.
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The Redskins were expected to sport one of the top defenses in the NFL in 2021, but that never happened because the secondary was a mess. Their linebacking corps was a total disaster as well.
The very physically gifted Kyle Hamilton showed lots of promise in his freshman year. However, teams question if he’ll play safety or linebacker in the NFL. As it so happens, the Redskins need help at both positions.
What should Washington do with the 11th overall pick?
This poll is closed
Trade for Russell Wilson
Trade for Derek Carr
Draft Matt Corral
Draft Malik Willis
Draft Sam Howell
Draft Kenny Pickett
Draft Kenyon Green
Draft Ahmad Gardner
Draft Kyle Hamilton