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NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Mel Kiper goes 2 rounds and gives Washington some big upgrades

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Boston College v Notre Dame Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders continue their quiet free agency after trading for Carson Wentz. That move knocked most of the 1st round QB picks off the radar, but a few people who have little-to-no faith in Wentz insist that Ron Rivera is fully participating in lying season and wants a Plan B for his 1-year experiment at QB. This week’s only 1st round signal caller is Matt Corral, but we also have a Sam Howell appearance in the 2nd round.

Mel Kiper, Jr. dropped his latest mock this morning, and that will obviously get everyone’s attention since the Hair is a living legend. And to make this week’s mocks even better, he gave us a 2nd round. Kyle Hamilton continues to be one of the most popular picks for the Washington Commanders at #11, and that’s who Kiper goes with here. Hamilton goes to Washington at #11 in 10 mock drafts this week, and it seems more likely he could fall out of the top 10 as the draft gets closer.

Kiper recognizes Washington’s two biggest needs(and most often mocked positions this year) are in the secondary and at wide receiver. He fills that second need with Georgia WR George Pickens who might not be available at #47 when the real draft starts Day 2 on April 29th. Pickens tore his ACL last spring but returned later last season. He is a big receiver that could be what Washington needs opposite Terry McLaurin, and hopefully with a healthy Curtis Samuel playing multiple spots this year.

If Washington decides to go wide receiver in the first round instead of secondary they will have a lot of solid choices, and those options are on display this week. Garrett Wilson has seen a surge in popularity as the #11 overall pick, but Drake London continues to be mocked there as well. Chris Olave and Jameson Williams, who tore his ACL three months ago, also gets some nods this week.

Safety

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame(Draft Profile)

E$PN+(Kiper)

Hamilton has been dinged a little bit because of his 40 time, which was a 4.59 at the combine and a little slower at his pro day. He’s a fantastic player, but he doesn’t have rare physical tools, which means he could fall out of the top 10. I would want him on my team. At 6-foot-4, he could play multiple positions, from center fielder to box linebacker. He would make plays for a Washington defense that disappointed in 2021.

Round 2: George Pickens, WR, Georgia

I love this for Washington, which could get a 6-foot-3 outside receiver with No. 1 traits. He tore his ACL last spring and returned late in the 2021 season, making an impact down the stretch. It’s no guarantee he lasts until Round 2 — teams could think long-term and be patient with him — but the Commanders should try to pair him with Terry McLaurin.

The Athletic(Brugler)

Hamilton is universally liked across the league, but not every franchise is going to be on board with drafting a unique 6-foot-4, 220-pound safety with a top pick, which is why it shouldn’t be surprising if he falls out of the top 10. I think the Commanders want a receiver here to help score more points, but I also think it will be tough for Ron Rivera to pass on a talent like Hamilton.

Round 2: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

Round 4: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State

NFL.com(Schrager)

Hamilton is a Ron Rivera-type player: Smart, competitive and a leader. He immediately boosts the Commanders’ defense and is that dude behind their loaded front. Hamilton’s 40 time has gotten a lot of press, but he’s a true captain of a defense, and the film reveals his intelligence. Hamilton’s awesome instincts far outweigh his speed in the dash.

Fantasy Pros(Freedman)

Now that the Commanders have quarterback Carson Wentz, they could try to get him another pass-catching option to play alongside wide receiver Terry McLaurin, but with Garrett Wilson and Drake London already off the board the Commanders might pivot.

Hamilton has a wide range of landing spots: He could go as high as No. 3 to the Texans or as low as No. 18 to the Eagles. Given the position he plays, No. 11 feels a little high, but the Commanders have a significant need at safety, and Hamilton has a Derwin James-esque skill set: He can play deep, at linebacker, in the slot against wide receivers and tight ends, and on the edge as a situational rusher.

Walter Football(Campbell)

The Commies cut Landon Collins and could use a safety upgrade. Landing Hamilton outside of the top 10 is a solid value for Washington.

The 6-foot-4, 216-pound Hamilton is a dynamic playmaker and difference maker. He has phenomenal size, speed, and ball skills. Hamilton’s size and speed make him a highly impactful run defender who flies downhill and is capable of being the eighth man in the box.

Some pro sources think Hamilton should move to linebacker in the NFL because Hamilton is straight line and does not have safety instincts. They feel because he misses some tackles in space and isn’t great in man-to-man coverage, and that could be covered at linebacker. He is also taller than teams want in safeties.

Hamilton recorded 31 tackles, three interceptions and three passes defended in 2021. He missed the last five games of the year due to a knee injury suffered while tackling USC’s Drake London. Hamilton totaled 56 tackles, an interception and six passes broken up in 2020. He put together an excellent freshman season for Notre Dame, showing good ball skills with four interceptions and six passes broken up to go along with 41 tackles.

Round 2: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Washington’s pass coverage in 2021 lived up to “the Commodes” nick name that some Redskins alumni have been calling the team privately. The organization could use multiple cornerback upgrades.

In 2021, Elam recorded 29 tackles, five passes broken up and an interception. He played well in 2020, recording 39 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes broken up. The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder was fantastic as a freshman, flashing serious ball skills even though he had a part-time role. Elam has good height and length with quickness. He could stand to fill out his frame, but considering he was only a true junior, he has the time to do it. With his skill set and upside, Elam could explode.

The Draft Network(Marino)

Kyle Hamilton is a defensive chess piece that the likes of Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio would be wise to pick if he gets to No. 11. His ability to trigger downhill and fill from deep alignments, coverage instincts, and ball skills offer the makings of a high-impact defensive playmaker that can serve in a variety of roles. Washington’s defense disappointed in 2021 and Hamilton can help get the unit on track with a healthy Chase Young set to return and growth from Jamin Davis at linebacker in his second season.

The Ringer(Kelly)

The Commanders’ trade for Carson Wentz indicates they believe they can compete for the playoffs in 2022, so they look to bolster an already talented defense by stopping Hamilton’s fall here. Hamilton is a joker-piece defender who can line up all over the formation, giving defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio plenty of schematic options.

CBS Sports(Wilson)

Hamilton ran in the 4.5s at the combine and was timed in the 4.7s at his pro day. This shouldn’t see him slip on draft boards because he plays much faster, but if he finds his way out of the top 10, Washington could pounce here. Bobby McCain and Kamren Curl led the team in snaps at the safety position in ‘21 but that shouldn’t prevent the Commanders from targeting Hamilton if he’s available here.

Round 2: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

Pro Football Network(Wilson)

After cutting Landon Collins, the Commanders need help. Hamilton is the kind of big, rangy center fielder they need.

Excerpt from Kyle Hamilton’s NFL Scouting Report: Hamilton has uncommon size for the safety position. At 6’4″ and 219 pounds, he is a physical specimen. There are linebackers playing the game that don’t possess the same size as the Notre Dame safety. In addition to his size, Hamilton has elite length. Both his height and length make him a difficult proposition to throw against.

With that coverage radius, he can get his hands up to snag the ball out of the air. He can also use his long levers to reach around opposition receivers to disrupt the ball, knocking it away from their grasp. Hamilton is extremely disruptive at the catch point.

Athlon Sports(Fischer)

QB remains an option in D.C. even after the Carson Wentz trade but Hamilton falling into the franchise’s lap is not something that typically happens. Few have his ability to find the ball and attack it, while concerns about his speed are overblown for a team that badly needs a top-tier safety.

TWSN(Smith)

It would be a travesty if Kyle Hamilton is taken outside of the top 10, but positional value and poor testing may kill his stock. Ron Rivera and company won’t hesitate to take a top-five prospect in the draft if he falls in their lap. After releasing Landon Collins, Hamilton would immediately fill that need and then some.

Cornerbacks

Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU

NFL Draft Bible(Patraw)

Even when his punch misses, he is balanced enough to recover. Patience prevents him from biting on jabs and foot fire. Stingley’s eyes are glued to the hips of receivers in man coverage, allowing him to react rapidly. Great mental alertness helps him anticipate picks and jump screens.

Round 2: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

DraftTek

While drama continues to swirl around the most controversial franchise in the NFL-and possibly all of sports-the Commanders still will draft players in late April. It’s my understanding that the team would love to trade down and recover draft picks lost in the Carson Wentz trade. However, Washington is in a great spot at pick 11 as, chances are, a blue-chip player will fall to them.

As Ben Standig wrote in The Athletic, 6 players are near locks to go in the top ten in Hutchinson, Thibideaux, Ekwonu, Neal, Walker, and Gardner. It’s then likely that at least 1 more offensive tackle, a quarterback, and a receiver are taken, leaving just two picks before the Commanders make their first selection of their historic re-brand. In essence, a player like Kyle Hamilton, Garrett Wilson, Drake London, or Derek Stingley Jr. will be available at 11 if a lucrative trade-down offer isn’t on the table.

Here, miraculously, the top corner in the draft, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is available, and I can tell you with certainty Ron Rivera would have his guys sprinting to the Commissioner. Gardner is considered a top-ten lock, but Washington fans will remember when Jonathan Allen fell to 17 after being considered a top-3 lock. Anything can happen in just three short weeks!

Round 2: Sam Howell, QB, UNC

Ron Rivera has made it clear that Washington will not draft a quarterback at 11 after landing Carson Wentz in a trade this offseason. While I don’t believe it’s the team’s top option, if a quarterback they like falls to them at 47, that might absolutely be a pick they would make.

In a perfect world, the Commanders would love to trade down, add picks, and add a ‘Buffalo Nickel’ (think K. Hamilton, J. Pitre, J, Brisker), a WR, and an inside LB. If Sam Howell fits the profile of a quarterback OC Scott Turner wants in his system, you can never take too many swings at the quarterback position.

Linebacker

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah (Draft Profile)

CBS Sports(Fornelli)

Lloyd is the kind of linebacker that is becoming more and more important to have in the NFL. He can play on early and passing downs, and he has more than straight-line speed. He needs to improve his tackling technique, but given his frame and strength, I’m not worried about his ability to do so.

Defensive End

Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

Pro Football Network(Mellor)

The run on edge defenders to start the draft forces the hand of the Washington Commanders at No. 11. Yet, they grab Jermaine Johnson II, a top-five player on the PFN Consensus Big Board. Johnson dominated in 2021 and won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in his first season at Florida State. His motor is intense, and his pass-rushing skills are top-tier.

Wide Receivers

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

NFL.com(Reuter)

Whether it’s the lean, speedy Wilson or the tall, agile Drake London, Commanders lead receiver Terry McLaurin applauds the addition of anyone who can free him up downfield. Don’t think he’d mind having another former Buckeye as a running mate.

Round 2: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Round 4: Chasen Hines, OL, LSU

CBS Sports(Brinson)

There’s a clear need at the position, a strong desire to make Carson Wentz look good and a major OSU connection at the position group with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.

Barstool Sports(Fitzgerald)

Plugging in an electrifying playmaker like Wilson with fellow ex-Buckeyes Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel could do wonders for new Commanders QB Carson Wentz. If Wilson is what he’s expected to be, Wentz will have never had that type of talent at receiver in his entire career. It may also trigger a quick turnaround in Washington, where the team could truly challenge for the NFC East title.

Pro Football Network(Cummings)

In my opinion, the Washington Commanders made the wrong choice by trading multiple early-round picks for Carson Wentz. Time will ultimately tell, but the only way for the Commanders to potentially make this wrong move right is to give Wentz weapons. At No. 11 overall, Garrett Wilson is the best weapon on the board. His teammate Chris Olave is more refined at this point, but Wilson has visibly higher upside with his explosiveness, twitch, run-after-catch ability, and instincts.

Round 2: Kenneth Walker, RB, Michigan State

I wouldn’t do this if I were the Commanders, but it seems like they’re interested in adding a running back early. They’re hosting both Hall and Kenneth Walker III on visits. Walker, at the very least, is a much more natural runner than Antonio Gibson. He has the vision and instincts Gibson lacks at times.

Pro Football Focus(Treash)

Wilson is coming off back-to-back 80.0-plus PFF grades and makes his mark as a top-notch route-runner. He pairs that with top-notch body control and an innate ability to shake guys in the open field.

The physical aspect of the 6-foot, 183-pound receiver’s game is a concern, but it shouldn’t be enough to prevent him from sliding further than 11th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. His game should allow him to have immediate success when in the slot or given a cushion on the outside.

Round 2: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Cine was one of the best safeties in college football last year, turning in an 82.4 PFF grade for the season that ranked eighth in the Power Five. He then blew up the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine with a performance that featured a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and an 11-foot-1 broad jump.

To no surprise, Cine became one of the best tacklers in the country at Georgia, with just 11 misses on 159 career attempts. He was primarily a deep safety in college, but he can be more versatile in the NFL.

Pro Football Focus(Linsey)

Why do the Commanders select Wilson?

Terry McLaurin is the only Washington wide receiver to clear 500 receiving yards in a single season since he was drafted back in 2019. That’s far from ideal. The receiving corps might not be in as bad of shape as that would suggest, as a healthy Curtis Samuel should provide a nice spark and Dyami Brown could offer more in his second season than he did as a rookie. Nonetheless, it’s still a position that the Commanders could stand to invest premium resources in.

Wilson is the top wide receiver prospect on Grinding the Mocks’ expected draft position tool while coming in one spot behind London at 12th overall on PFF’s big board. The 6-foot Ohio State product is a high-end route runner who has sub-4.4 second speed and excellent body control. With London off the board already, he’s the most likely choice if Washington decides to take a wide receiver in the first round.

Is it the right decision?

It’s easy to get behind this pick given the reasons outlined above. The biggest decision that the Commanders will have to make if this is how the draft pans out is whether Kyle Hamilton makes more sense as a target than Wilson. The Kamren Curl and Bobby McCain safety tandem currently in place is serviceable, but Hamilton would add a different element to the group.

The Draft Network(Sanchez)

The Commanders made what some people would call an offseason splash by trading for now-journeyman quarterback Carson Wentz. I personally believe that with the status of the NFC East this wasn’t a bad pick up and places the Commanders right in contention to compete for the division. Drafting another receiver like Garrett Wilson would only help Wentz and hopefully give him the arsenal of weapons he needs to lead this team to the playoffs.

NFL Mocks(Edmond)

This is becoming an increasingly popular match and it does make sense. The Commanders need to give Carson Wentz the best situation to succeed and adding weapons in the passing game is a need. Not to mention that Washington likes Ohio State receivers (see Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel).

The issue for Washington is that beyond those two former Buckeyes, there are few reliable options to target with a pass and even Samuel isn’t great. With the way this draft is falling, the Commanders can easily grab the first wide receiver off the board at 11 and it’s looking like that will be Garrett Wilson.

Wilson has speed, catch radius and reliable hands that make him a perfect candidate to add to this offense. His route running needs some work, but with so much speed on this offense defenses will just struggle to keep up.

NFL Mock Draft(Weiss)

The Washington Commanders will try and do what the Indianapolis Colts could not do last season, and that is win with Carson Wentz as their quarterback. It will be interesting to see how Wentz does in his new surroundings, as it seems that he is nothing like the quarterback who was a near MVP contender a few years ago.

Washington will be a fresh start for him, and with pick No. 11, they get him an elite weapon on the outside to team with Terry McLaurin. That weapon is Garrett Wilson, who I believe will be the first wideout off the board due to the injury to Jameson Williams.

San Diego Union~Tribune(Brown)

The Commanders dealt for Carson Wentz so I doubt they will invest this pick in the position. Wilson’s ability to threaten a defense at every level would pair nicely with Terry McLaurin, who has recently entered into contract extension talks with the team.

Round 2: Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky

Drake London, WR, USC (Draft Profile)

NFL.com(Zierlein)

London gives Carson Wentz a big (6-5, 210) possession target to throw to while also taking some defensive attention away from Terry McLaurin.

NFL.com(Lewis)

Terry McLaurin is one of my favorite receivers in the league. I love his leadership and play-making ability, but the Commanders need more options for newly acquired QB Carson Wentz. London checks in as the sim’s best player available. The big-bodied wideout with contested-catch and red-zone ability provides Washington with a great complement to McLaurin — and he fits in with Wentz’ off-schedule (and sometimes-risky) play at quarterback.

ESPN(Reid)

With Carson Wentz in the picture now, the Commanders would be wise to set him up with as many prime targets as possible. Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel are on the roster, and London is a 6-foot-4 X receiver who complements both of their skill sets.

He is a big, physical target and underrated route runner, and he reminds me a lot of former Clemson wideout Mike Williams, who was taken in Round 1 by the Chargers in 2017.

Round 2: Sam Howell, QB, UNC

The Commanders could look to give themselves a security blanket in case Carson Wentz doesn’t play well. Howell would be a welcome addition to a team searching for a long-term answer under center.

MMQB(Hanson)

Injuries limited tight end Logan Thomas and wide receiver Curtis Samuel to only 294 and 84 offensive snaps, respectively, as Terry McLaurin (1,053 yards) was the only Commanders pass catcher to exceed 400 yards last season. London uses his 6’5” frame and large catch radius to turn contested catches into his advantage. The former basketball player had 88 catches for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in only eight games before his season was cut short by an ankle injury.

CBS Sports(Edwards)

With Hamilton off the board, it should be a relatively easy decision for the Commanders. They have a solid tandem with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel but adding London would give them more size on the perimeter. If Carson Wentz is going to find success, they need to load him up with outlets to spread opposing defenses thin.

CBS Sports(Kerr)

The Commanders have Terry McLaurin as their No. 1 wide receiver, but he and quarterback Carson Wentz could use a little help. In comes London, a physical receiver who can win at the point of attack and is the type of red zone threat Wentz likes to throw to. London led the nation with 19 contested catches last year, which will help Washington move the ball downfield — which eluded the team last season.

Walter Football

The Redskins traded for Carson Wentz, so how can they not provide their new quarterback with some new receiving talent? All they have is Terry McLaurin at the position. They’ll be setting Wentz up for failure if they don’t give him another dynamic weapon.

Drake London has mismatch size, and he could be the first receiver off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has drawn comparisons to Mike Evans.

Round 2: Jayln Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama

The Redskins had major problems at cornerback last year, so they could address the position early in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Jayln Armour-Davis is a 6-1 cornerback with a good skill set.

Game Haus(DiTullio)

The Commanders were able to make some additions to their offensive line. They can add to their wide receiver room to make the offense more dynamic. London excels at winning jump balls.

Draft Wire(Easterling)

Carson Wentz is gonna need all the help he can get, and while he already has one of the league’s better pass-catchers in Terry McLaurin, adding another here would be ideal. London’s big frame and physical playing style would pair well with McLaurin’s skill set, giving Wentz a dominant red-zone threat.

College Football News(Fiutak)

The Commanders would love for Ahmad Gardner or Kyle Hamilton to drop here, and they’ll have to give some thought to CB Derek Stingley, but finding receiving help is a desperate need.

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State (Draft Profile)

Hogs Haven(Roman)

This pick came down to Chris Olave and Kyle Hamilton for me. I am a huge Kyle Hamilton fan due to his versatility and all-around game. I would probably go with him but it seems Ron Rivera and the organization are huge fans of Olave. I really like Olave as well. He’s the best route runner in this class and can start from day one. I think he can be an 800-1,000 yard receiver as a rookie. He’s a great deep threat for Carson Wentz but can also make a play for you underneath. Pairing Olave with fellow Buckeye alumni Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel would be a tremendously strong trio.

Sporting News(Iyer)

The Commanders need to give Carson Wentz and Terry McLaurin some help at wideout and getting a true speedy No. 1 outside would be a great decision for Scott Turner’s offense. Olave has a little more all-around appeal for his explosiveness than former teammates Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams.

Touchdown Wire(Manning)

Derek Stingley Jr. was considered here, but the Commanders badly need to give Terry McLaurin some help. Adding Olave – McLaurin’s former college teammate – would give the Commanders another speedy wideout who does everything well. Head coach Ron Rivera was at Ohio State’s pro day and Washington will use one of its 30 pre-draft visits with Olave.

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Fox Sports(McIntyre)

If you’re going to give Carson Wentz a chance, at least get him a receiver to join Terry McLaurin. Williams scored 15 touchdowns last season, and 11 of them were of 30-plus yards, flashing Will Fuller-like big play ability. Williams was a state hurdles champion in high school but wasn’t able to break through at Ohio State before he became an All-American at Alabama.

Offensive Line

Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

DraftID(Hicks)

Washington has a solid OL but lost their best piece in free agency. Ekwonu is too much value for the least flashy organization in the NFL to ignore.

Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

SBNation(Dator)

Cross is an excellent offensive tackle who will give the Commanders the best chance to win in 2022. I don’t think this Carson Wentz experiment will work, but this isn’t a place to reach for a QB. They’ll let this play out for a year or so, and then hope to find a real passer for the long term.

Quarterback

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

CBS Sports(Trapasso)

Corral isn’t quite ready to play, and the Commanders traded draft capital for Carson Wentz. But this selection is Wentz insurance at the game’s most vital position.

Round 2: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

Poll

Who would you draft at #11?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
    (451 votes)
  • 3%
    Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU
    (49 votes)
  • 15%
    Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
    (185 votes)
  • 2%
    Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
    (35 votes)
  • 0%
    Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
    (1 vote)
  • 12%
    Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
    (151 votes)
  • 10%
    Drake London, WR, USC
    (131 votes)
  • 7%
    Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
    (94 votes)
  • 3%
    Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
    (44 votes)
  • 3%
    Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
    (45 votes)
  • 0%
    Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
    (33 votes)
1226 votes total Vote Now