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What grades did Washington get on Day 2?

Solid picks or missed opportunities?

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NFL: Washington Commanders-Carson Wentz Press Conference John McCreary-USA TODAY Sports

There is a long tradition of people giving draft picks a grade less than 24 hours after they’ve been made. Some of them are spot on after the players have shown who they are after a few years in the league, and some of them look pretty bad. A lot of graders get stuck on their personal rankings, and will tank a player’s selection because of that. How a player fits with a team, and their needs plays a big part here as well.

The Washington Commanders traded down on day 1 of the draft and picked up 3rd and 4th round picks. They picked Penn State WR Jahan Dotson at #16 and the pick got split reviews. Some graded just the player while others included the picks that were acquired through the trade down.

One of the biggest knocks on Washington’s 2022 draft is that they are taking players earlier than their consensus rankings, and the players are happily relaying that to the media after getting picked. Most people like the players and their fit, but the value is not there, and this will affect grades, and how they are viewed throughout their careers. Obviously if these players come in and make an impact right away their draft position will take a back seat. But Washington’s Day 2 picks are looking like rotational/backup pieces that improve the team’s depth, and set them up to replace current players.

That’s not going to score well in the NFL Draft insta-grading community, and it’s not going to make fans think they know what they’re doing. There were a lot of players that fans wanted the team to take, but as happens every year, they didn’t get their wishlist checked off. This draft has been underwhelming to say the least, and these draft grades reflect that.

How did Washington do on Day 2? What do they need to address on Day 3?

Hogs Haven

Phidarian Mathis (C)

Brian Robinson, Jr. (B)

Draft Kings Nation

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Washington loves Alabama defensive linemen. He should be a solid player, but he’s not a freak of a pass rusher. He’ll be able to move around the line and contribute all over the place. Grade: B

Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama

Robinson brings a physical aspect to the run game that might be needed in Washington, but they do have good depth at the position. This seems like a wasted pick in some regard, but he could take some heat off Carson Wentz when they need short yardage. Grade: B-


Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Phidarian Mathis joins the Alabama crew in Washington. He had 10.5 tackles for loss and 9 sacks in 2021. He has an all-around game and we know how much Ron Rivera and the Commanders defense likes Nick Saban products. Grade: B

Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama

The Commanders add another Alabama player, this one a 1,300-yard rusher. Why did they need another RB? Because he played for the Crimson Tide, of course. Grade: B-

Sporting News

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Mathis is a beefy nose option but also has some inside pass-rush burst. He just will be limited to being a rotational player in their strong front four behind Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne, also Crimson Tide products. Grade: B-

Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama

The Commanders didn’t have a glaring need in the backfield with Antonio Gibson being backup by receiving J.D. McKissic and swingman Jarret Patterson, but choose to get a little stronger in the pure power rushing attack with the bruising Robinson to relief Gibson and help take more pressure off Carson Wentz. Grade: B-

Bleacher Report

Phidarius Mathis, DT, Alabama

Strengths: Stack-and-shed machine, long levers, bull rush, set strong base and anchor

Weaknesses: Poor first-step quickness, only effective in confined spaces

Some programs are known for producing certain types of prospects based on the system they employ and traits they look for in recruits. The Alabama Crimson Tide certainly have a type when it comes to their defensive linemen.

Christian Barmore, Raekwon Davis, Quinnen Williams, Jonathan Allen, Dalvin Tomlinson, A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed were all massive interior defenders who were well-coached in the art of stacking and shedding blocks. The differentiation between those prospects tended to be their ability to collapse the pocket as a pass-rusher.

Phidarian Mathis fits closer to the mold of Tomlinson, Robinson and Reed, who were fantastic against the run, than Allen, Williams and Barmore, who created far more of an impact as interior pass-rushers.

The second-team All-SEC selection is a 313-pound plugger with some pass-rushing capabilities thanks to his long arms and a good bull rush. After tallying 1.5 sacks over his first three years at Alabama combined, he racked up nine during his final season on campus.

Overall, Mathis is far better at locking out blockers, tossing them to the side and working against the run because he has the power to do so. However, he lacks the explosiveness to be a consistent pocket collapser.

The Washington Commanders continue to invest in their defensive line. They also added yet another Alabama product after previously sinking high picks in Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne.

Mathis’ particular inclusion allows him to join his fellow alumni and offset the losses of Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle.

Washington isn’t shy about selecting defensive lineman high in the process. The franchise built its reputation on its talented front. Mathis adds quality depth and will fit right into the rotation. Grade: B

Brian Robinson Jr.

Strengths: Tough runner, plays through contact, better-than-expected receiver

Weaknesses: Marginal athlete with questionable vision

Brian Robinson Jr. bided his time before he became “the man” in Alabama’s backfield. As the lead back, he ran for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns on his way to being named a first-team All-SEC performer.

“Robinson has the kind of size (6’2”, 225 pounds) and play strength to be a true three-down running back in the NFL,” Bleacher Report scout Nate Tice wrote. “But with his lack of true burst and only average ability to make defenders miss in space, he will need to work on his pass-protection abilities to become a consistent contributor outside of special teams.”

The running back plays hard and gives everything he has when he’s on the field. Robinson simply lacks the juice and wiggle to be a true workhorse at the NFL level. He’ll fill a niche role as the downhill power back in the Washington Commanders backfield, which currently features Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. Grade: D

Sprouts Illustrated

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

The Commanders add another interior defender from Alabama to join Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. A powerful, big-bodied interior defender, Mathis has experience playing up and down the Crimson Tide’s defensive line. While he’s more consistent as a run defender and stout at the point of attack, Mathis is a steady and relentless player who recorded nine of his career 10.5 sacks in 2021. Mathis is my 74th-ranked prospect. Grade: B-

Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama

Robinson waited his turn at Alabama and had a productive season when he got his opportunity. He rushed for more than 1,300 yards and added 35 receptions. The Commanders already have a talented back on their roster in Antonio Gibson and could have addressed a different, more pressing need with this pick. Robinson is my 145th-ranked prospect. Grade: C

CBS Sports

Phidarius Mathis, DT, Alabama

More Crimson Tide trench players for Washington. Mathis is a complete DT. Burst, two-gap ability, up-the-field rushing skill. Hand work. Only ding is that he’s an older prospect. He will reestablish the OL and push the pocket. Weren’t there bigger needs though? Grade: B

Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama

One of the more underrated big backs in this class. Feet like he’s 20 pounds lighter. Defenders fall off him. Not a burner type. Vision and contact balance are pluses and he’s deceptively good out of the backfield. Minimal mileage on his legs. Was this the biggest need here? Grade: C+

The Athletic

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Mathis (6-foot-4, 310, 34 5/8-inch arms) started 20 games for Alabama. He had nine sacks and 12 tackles for loss last year. Mathis lined up in multiple spots and should be scheme-versatile. He projects as a disruptive player against the run and could have some pass-rush upside.

The knocks on Mathis are that he’s already 24 years old, and he’s among the worst athletes at defensive tackle in this year’s class. I don’t love that combination. Grade: C

Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama

Robinson carried 545 times for 2,704 yards (5.0 YPC) and 29 touchdowns during his five seasons at Alabama. He also caught 52 balls for 446 yards.

Robinson is a physical, downhill back. He didn’t carry the load until 2021 and figures to be a complementary back in Washington. Grade: B-

Pro Football Network

Round 2, Pick 47: Phidarian Mathis

DT, Alabama

Grade: C-

Round 3, Pick 98: Brian Robinson Jr.

RB, Alabama

Grade: B-

Few teams needed to own the first couple days of the 2022 NFL Draft more than the Washington Commanders, fresh off of an organizational rebrand and trade for a new quarterback. There’s a lot on the line for the Commanders heading into this next season, so every pick counts.

Having said that, the Commanders’ haul through the first three rounds was fairly underwhelming. They traded back for Penn State WR Jahan Dotson – a solid add but perhaps a light reach with his lighter frame and inexperience against press. Then, they drafted two Alabama players on Day 2: DT Phidarian Mathis and RB Brian Robinson Jr. Mathis in particular was a notable reach – a product of Washington’s persistent infatuation with Alabama prospects. Dotson and Robinson are decent picks, but Washington left some to be desired here.

Day 1 and 2 Grade: C (C+)

Day 1 grade: B

Analysis: The Commanders regained the third-round pick sent to Indianapolis for Carson Wentz by trading down in the first round with the Saints. In the second round, they selected an active, strong interior defender in Mathis, but I think he would have been better value as a third-round pick. Robinson has power and a kick in the open field, which Washington could use if Antonio Gibson can’t be the workhorse back.

Yahoo Sports

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Mathis is a blue-collar tough guy who can take the grinder snaps on the interior, and his high-level experience should allow him to contribute readily early in his career. As far as upside, we don’t see much. What you see is what you get, and he’s not a consistent penetrator. Grade: C

Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama

A tough a determined runner who turned into a workhorse for Nick Saban after waiting his time as a time-share back, Robinson brings a physical element to the Washington run game. But he’s only a first- and second-down threat. Grade: C+

Walter Football

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

I’m not crazy about this pick, as it offers medium value and no filled need. The Redskins had to find defensive line depth at some point because they lost Matt Ioannidis, but they could’ve have addressed the position later. They have major problems in the secondary that weren’t filled. Phidarian Mathis has nice upside, and he’s yet another Alabama player, but this is just meh. Grade: C

Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama

Yet another Alabama player to the Redskins, albeit on the offensive side of the ball this time. I like Brian Robinson in this range, but I’m not sure why the Redskins picked another running back because they happen to be very deep at the position. Grade: C+

Breakdown: The theme for Washington’s draft seems to be taking players earlier than they were expected to go. They started it with Jahan Dotson on Thursday night. Mathis has good size and could be insurance in case DaRon Payne leaves in free agency. Robinson was productive in his only season as Alabama’s bellcow running back. But he lacks elite athletic tools, which could limit his ceiling in the NFL. Grade: C+

Draft Wire

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Jahan Dotson at No. 16 overall was puzzling enough, but it least they filled a position of need. Washington adds more talent to their strongest position unit, but ignores the areas where they actually need starting-caliber talent. Mathis is a solid player, but he won’t get on the field much right away. Grade: D

Brian Robinson, Jr., RB, Alabama

Robinson Jr. flew under the radar for some reason, despite being a dominant runner at Alabama. He’s not the athlete Najee’ Harris is, but he’s a complete back who can run defenders over, pass protect, and catch the ball out of the backfield. Washington had bigger needs, but the player and the range is right. Grade: B

Pro Football Focus

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Pick Grade: Below Average

Washington adds another Alabama product to its defensive line with interior defensive lineman Phidarion Mathis. This, however, is a pretty steep reach, as he was selected nearly 50 picks sooner than the PFF draft board would suggest. Mathis is long, violent and strong but not particularly agile or explosive, hindering his ceiling at the next level. He does have a high floor considering his NFL-ready technique but just don’t expect game-wrecking ability, as evidenced by his solid 78.5 PFF grade in 2021.

Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama

Pick Grade: Below Average

Brian Robinson Jr. was just the 146th-ranked player on PFF’s draft board but still offers a skillset Washington doesn’t have a whole lot of in their backfield: physicality. He can be an immediate impact player as a short-yardage back behind starter Antonio Gibson.


Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound defensive tackle, Phidariian Mathis is going to add a lot of power to Washington’s defensive interior. Alabama’s coaching staff refined his technique, giving him a shot to see the field plenty as a rookie. He can play multiple positions and was beloved by the Crimson Tide’s coaching staff. Grade: B

Fantasy Pros

Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Phidarian Mathis has operated the interior defensive line for the Crimson Tide for the past four seasons, capping off his Alabama career with a career-high seven sacks.

However, don’t expect Mathis to carry over his pass-rushing numbers from his final season. His poor testing numbers - 4th percentile vertical jump, 6th percentile 20-yard shuttle - don’t inspire confidence Mathis will be a difference-maker against the pass.

He’s a seasoned interior tackle that can line up all over the defensive line and mainly contribute to stopping the run. Draft Grade: C+