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Pre-Free Agency NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Washington has a lot of options after the Carson Wentz trade

Mock drafts before free agency starts!

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Arizona at USC Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Washington Commanders offseason was always focused on upgrading the QB position from last year’s backup-turned-starter Taylor Heinicke. They finally found their quarterback when they traded for Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz. This was met with a pretty negative first reaction from Washington fans, and the NFL world. Washington had swung for the fences with a trade package including 3 first round picks for Russell Wilson, but were rejected. Now they must build around Wentz who is guaranteed to be here for...at least one year.

The focus of all the mock draft roundups I put together leading up to the Wentz trade was obviously on the QB position, and Washington’s options with the #11 overall pick in this year’s draft. There were usually at least 5 different QBs mocked to the Commanders on any given week. I’ve included the roundup I was working on, and then shelved, when the news broke last Wednesday that Washington was swapping 2nds this year along with sending a 2022 3rd, and a 2023 3rd that could convert to a 2nd if Wentz plays 70% of the snaps this season. And the Colts also threw in a 7th round pick this year as a thank you for taking on Wentz’s full contract which included a $28 million cap hit this year.

The Wentz trade has eliminated almost all talk of selecting a QB with the 11th pick this year, but we still have two mock drafts that are betting on Wentz to fail with his 3rd team in 3 years. Hope for Kenny Pickett and Sam Howell lives on for at least one more week.

A much bigger portion of the mock draft community is betting that the Commanders will take a swing at the WR position to pair someone up with Terry McLaurin(and I guess Curtis Samuel) to give Wentz a better chance to succeed in recently extended OC Scott Turner’s offense. There is a lot of talent at WR, but there are still 4 different WRs being mocked to Washington. One of them comes via a trade down with the Steelers which would be a great way to recoup some of the picks given up for Wentz. We also have one offensive lineman going to Washington to help bolster a line that is losing Brandon Scherff, and has several players returning from injury.

On the defensive side of the ball we are again given a limited amount of options. CB Derek Stingley Jr. has shown up consistently throughout this process, but his name is a little more popular after QB was taken off the Commanders board as a major need. Walter Football brings the dream of getting Kyle Hamilton back on the table, but it still seems like a longshot that he falls outside the Top 10.

Mock Drafts after Carson Wentz trade:

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Fox Sports(McIntyre)

Washington reportedly made a deal for Carson Wentz on Wednesday but could also add the most NFL-ready QB in this draft. Pickett will be 24 this summer, and in a mediocre-at-best QB class, he should be able to beat Taylor Heinicke for the starting job.

Sam Howell, QB, UNC

Pro Football Network(Fragoza)

Even though Washington traded for Carson Wentz, he’s unlikely to become the franchise’s long-term future. The Commanders will presumably play themselves out of the QB race next year with him under center. Thus, they turn their attention to Sam Howell. Scott Turner’s RPO/spread-heavy offense will give Howell favorable looks while he learns to read defenses and go through his progressions quickly.

Round 2: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

Drake London, WR, USC

MMQB(Hanson)

With the Commanders’ trading for Carson Wentz, it’s much less likely that they’ll use this pick on Kenny Pickett (as they did in my Mock 1.0) or any other quarterback. Last season, injuries limited tight end Logan Thomas and wide receiver Curtis Samuel to only 294 and 84 offensive snaps, respectively, but Terry McLaurin (1,053 yards) was the Commanders’ only pass catcher to exceed 400 yards.

Previously a member of USC’s basketball team as well, London uses his 6’5” frame and large catch radius to turn contested catches into his advantage. London had 88 catches for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns before his season was cut short by an ankle injury.

Fun side note: Wentz will have three “revenge games” (Philly twice and Indy once) in 2022. Here’s one more option for him to throw the ball to.

Round 2: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

CBS Sports(Edwards)

Carson Wentz has arrived in the nation’s capital, and that means Washington needs to have a strong run game. Unfortunately, I like Antonio Gibson, so the only way to do that would be to upgrade the interior offensive line (who knows if Brandon Scherff is returning), and it is too early for that discussion. Instead, the Commanders add a big body at wide receiver who can go up and win some of those “best of luck in your future endeavors” passes.

For the Win(D’Andrea)

Washington no longer needs a quarterback after trading for Carson Wentz (who can be released in 2023 with no dead salary cap money left behind, so … Washington kinda needs a quarterback). The Commanders could opt to draft Utah’s Devin Lloyd here to pair with Jamin Davis as their linebacker duo of the future. Instead, let’s get Wentz a little extra help by boosting his receiving corps.

Washington has a solid 1-2 punch with Terry McLaurin and tight end Logan Thomas atop its receiving tree. Things get dicey after that; Curtis Samuel was injured throughout the 2021 season and rookie Dyami Brown barely made an impact. Adding London would provide immediate production from a player who torched the Pac-12 for 1,084 receiving yards and 88 receptions in only eight games last fall.

London is as smooth as margarine when it comes to route running and measures out at 6’4 and just about 220 pounds. He’s tough to shadow and a chore to bring down after the catch. More importantly, he adds another viable red zone presence in the passing game; McLaurin only has nine touchdown catches the past two years and Thomas has never had more than six in a season.

DraftID(Harris)

Washington made waves this week when they made the shocking trade to bring in Carson Wentz. By keeping the 11th pick, they can give this high-powered offense another piece. London is a true do-it-all WR that will compliment Terry Mclaurin.

Round 2: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

Pro Football Focus(Sikkema)

Washington sending two third round picks to Indianapolis for Carson Wentz likely means quarterback is off the board here. What shouldn’t be is a dominant “X” receiver who can complement Terry McLaurin and the rest of the skill position group.

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Prime Time Sports Talk(Fanelli)

TRADE: Pittsburgh Steelers receive pick 11. Washington Commanders receive picks 20, 52, 2023 third-round pick.

After trading back, the Commanders work on adding some weapons for Wentz. Terry McLaurin is a star, but Curtis Samuel was a massive bust last season. Furthermore, McLaurin finished with 77 receptions last season, while J.D. McKissic finished second on the team with 43. If Wentz is going to succeed in Washington, he will need more than just one weapon to lean on.

Draft Dive(Trevisani)

A quarterback here was almost a slam dunk, but now Washington should be looking elsewhere after acquiring Carson Wentz. Olave has a strong chance to be the first receiver to come off the board. What is perhaps most impressive about Olave is his scheme-proof versatility.

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

CBS Sports(Wilson)

We’re not gonna lie — trading for Carson Wentz was underwhelming. But what’s done is done; Terry McLaurin is one of the best young players in the league but he’s also in the final year of his rookie deal. And while Curtis Samuel is entering Year 2, he didn’t exactly set the world on fire in ‘21. Wilson, meanwhile, is one of the the most dynamic players in college football and his game in many ways reminds us of Odell Beckham Jr.

Round 2: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

DraftWire(Easterling)

After trading for Carson Wentz, the Commanders are likely to spend this pick making sure he has as much help as possible. Wilson is an explosive, big-play receiver who would pair with Terry McLaurin to give Wentz plenty of firepower.

Round 2: Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky

Pro Football Network(Mellor)

Carson Wentz will have a plethora of targets to get the ball to with the Washington Commanders. After trading for Wentz, the Commanders grab another Ohio State WR as Garrett Wilson joins Terry McLaurin and Co. in the receiving corps. Wilson blazed during the Combine and has no attribute that could be considered anything short of far-above-average.

Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Tankathon

Trevor Penning, T, Northern Iowa, Jr.

San Diego U~T(Brown)

The Commanders dealt for Carson Wentz so I doubt they will invest this pick in the position. They could lose some significant contributors to its offensive line in free agency, which would knock wide receiver and cornerback down a notch on their list of priorities. Penning finished tied for 10th in the Walter Payton Award voting, an award given to the most outstanding offensive player in Division I FCS. He faced superior competition in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and didn’t flinch while showcasing his athleticism at the combine. Top needs: QB, WR, CB

Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU

CBS Sports(Fornelli)

While opinions on Stingley vary wildly, the overall consensus is that he’s a remarkable talent. However, there are questions about his “desire.” Some teams feel he isn’t physical enough, while others question his decision to shut it down in 2021 following an injury. Some of the concerns are warranted, but there were similar concerns about other LSU players like Leonard Fournette and Ja’Marr Chase, and those picks worked out all right. It’s not Washington’s biggest need, but it could prove a brilliant choice.

Fan Nation(Pun)

The out-of-nowhere acquisition of Carson Wentz opens up the possibilities for this pick, and the Commanders decide to take the defender with the highest potential available. Head coach Ron Rivera will love Stingley’s physicality, athletic ability and penchant for taking away the opposition’s top option.

Round 2: Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA

NFL SpinZone(Gurzi)

Derek Stingley might be getting passed over by Ahmad Gardner who really stood out late in his career but that doesn’t mean he’s not still an elite prospect. The Washington Commanders end up taking him at No. 11 as they look to rebuild their defense.

There was a real chance they were going to use this pick on a quarterback but that changed when they just made a recent trade for Carson Wentz from Indinanapolis. Wentz is now on his third team in as many years so there has to be pause before claiming he’s the franchise quarterback for them but he does at least buy them enough time to avoid a quarterback here.

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Walter Football

I had the Redskins selecting Kenny Pickett here in my previous update, but that is no longer the case in the wake of the Carson Wentz trade. Go here for my NFL Trade Grades.

The Redskins have a big problem in the secondary, so I imagine they’ll look into drafting one of the top defensive backs available. This particular one may have to move to linebacker.

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 Eagles need help at both positions.

Round 2: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

The Redskins will need to give Carson Wentz a receiver to throw to besides Terry McLaurin.

Skyy Moore is a speedy receiver with great run-after-catch ability. He thrived at the combine.

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

E$PN+(McShay)

Well, the Commanders certainly no longer need a quarterback after trading for Carson Wentz. That changes things when it comes to the draft, since I had Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh) heading that way this morning before the deal was reported. The pivot has to be to the defense, which was 27th in yards per play allowed (5.7), 29th in opponent QBR (52.9) and 25th in points against (25.5) last season. Sure, the Commanders used a 2021 first-rounder on Jamin Davis, but his rookie season was up-and-down, and Lloyd’s sideline-to-sideline range and versatility can help Washington in a bunch of areas. Lloyd filled the stat sheet with impact numbers in all facets of the game, registering 96 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions and 7 passes broken up last year.

Mock Drafts before Carson Wentz trade:

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Pro Football Focus(Spielberger)

USA Today(Davis)

Buccaneers.com(Smith)

Pro Football Network(Cummings)

CBS Sports(Benjamin)

Athlon Sports(Fischer)

Fantasy Football Today(Bales)

NFL Spin Zone(Gurzi)

WalterFootball(Campbell)

College Football News(Fiutak)

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Sports Illustrated(Serritella)

Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

Prime Time Sports Talk(Kielar)

Draft Fuel(Corn)

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Touchdown Wire(Schofield)

AtlantaFalcons.com(Bair)

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

CBS Sports(Stackpole)

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

NFL.com(Zierlein)

CBS Sports(Wilson)

Blue Chip Scouting(Collinelli)

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

CBS Sports(Trapasso)

NFL Mocks(Schyvinck)

Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU

Clutch Points(Johrendt)

Poll

Who should Washington draft in the first round?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
    (63 votes)
  • 2%
    Sam Howell, QB, UNC
    (26 votes)
  • 25%
    Drake London, WR, USC
    (248 votes)
  • 7%
    Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
    (71 votes)
  • 16%
    Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
    (158 votes)
  • 3%
    Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
    (36 votes)
  • 4%
    Trevor Penning, T, Northern Iowa, Jr.
    (43 votes)
  • 6%
    Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU
    (63 votes)
  • 25%
    Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
    (246 votes)
954 votes total Vote Now