The Washington Commanders finally got their QB by trading for Carson Wentz. That sparked a series of moves to help deal with his $28 million cap hit. Players were released, some cheap depth/replacements were signed, but the team mainly worked to re-sign their own players as they look to the draft and post-draft cuts for more bargains.
The new focus in mock drafts has had two vocal camps, draft a WR for Wentz or draft the best secondary player available. There are still a few mock drafters who will stubbornly mock a QB at #11 even though the odds are very slim that Washington goes that way this year. The other options continue to be at least one offensive lineman and one linebacker every week.
ESPN’s Todd McShay dropped his latest mock draft this morning and this one goes two rounds. His last mock came out the day of the Carson Wentz trade and originally had Washington picking QB Kenny Pickett, but was quickly changed to LB Devin Lloyd. McShay goes with the popular position for Washington and gives them Ohio State WR Chris Olave, a player that Ron Rivera has seemingly taken an interest in. Olave is one of 3 WRs mocked to the Commanders this week, but is also the least popular, appearing in only 4 mocks compared to the 20 combined between USC’s Drake London and the other Buckeyes WR Garrett Wilson. McShay follows that up with the other most popular position group, the secondary, by giving them Auburn CB Roger McCreary.
Kyle Hamilton seemed like a Top 10, or even Top 5, lock recently, but his draft stock has taken a hit after the NFL Combine and his Pro Day. He is consistently falling to Washington in most mock drafts, and the most popular prospect, getting picked in 12 mocks. Safety has obviously been a sore spot, and a weakness on the team since Sean Taylor’s murder. Hamilton gets described as the favorite player in the draft by a lot of people, and maybe his draft fall is an overreaction right now, but he is squarely in line to be there for Washington if they want him over a top WR. But a lot can change between now and the actual draft, and teams work on different wavelengths than mock drafters and pundits.
Ahmad “Sauce’ Gardner is on the other end of that hype train, and seems destined to be the top secondary pick in the draft. You might get lucky in a mock draft simulator and have him fall to your pick and happily smash the draft button, but don’t expect that to happen on April 28th for the Commanders. Danny Kelly from the Ringer threw Washington fans a ray of hope by keeping the Sauce in Washington’s sights this week, but that will likely change by next week. Derek Stingley, Jr. is another player that has been linked to Washington throughout the draft process. He is fully recovered from a Lisfranc injury that limited him to 3 games last season, and is set to do drills for teams during LSU’s Pro Day. His injury history will turn some fans and teams away, but the talent is there for a team that will risk a top pick on him.
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State (Draft Profile)
Let’s get new Washington quarterback Carson Wentz a second high-end target beyond Terry McLaurin (who is potentially headed toward free agency next March). Olave is a smooth route runner with soft hands and excellent speed. Pairing him with McLaurin — his former Ohio State teammate — would immediately challenge NFC East defensive backs and open things up for Curtis Samuel out of the slot.
Round 2: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Commanders were in the bottom half of the league in just about every passing category last season, and while Carson Wentz represents an upgrade at quarterback, his pass-catching group could use a boost, too. Terry McLaurin is a free agent in 2023, and we’re witnessing a receiver market that is only getting more and more expensive. Curtis Samuel missed 12 games last year, and Adam Humphries — the only other Washington wide receiver besides McLaurin to have more than 25 catches in 2021 — is unsigned. Olave joining McLaurin, his former Ohio State teammate, gives the Commanders a solid duo outside.
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.
Round 2: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The Commanders acquired Carson Wentz but they should know they need to have a contingency after what happened with him in Indianapolis. This is good value to take a shot on Corral’s combination of athleticism and an aggressive big arm.
Trade to #17 with the Chargers(No compensation listed)
The Commanders offense has been a work in progress, but they certainly have found several developing studs to build around. Now that Wentz is in place to be the 2022 starter, they can give him another weapon on the outside that should open this offense up.
Drake London, WR, USC (Draft Profile)
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.
The run of wide receivers continues as Carson Wentz gets another much-needed weapon to pair with two-time 1,000-yard receiver Terry McLaurin. London and McLaurin immediately give Washington one of the best contested-catch duos in the NFC.
Dare we say Washington has the makings of a promising supporting cast for Carson Wentz? One of the last remaining tasks to help stabilize the passing attack would be to provide a capable No. 2 target to alleviate pressure on Terry McLaurin. Following in the footsteps of another former big-bodied USC receiver in Michael Pittman Jr., Wentz’s go-to target last year with the Colts, London should make life easier for his signal-caller thanks to his penchant for boxing out smaller defensive backs and his surprising fluidity for a player his size (6-4, 219 pounds).
To maximize the effectiveness of new QB Carson Wentz, the Commanders must find more reliable receivers. London’s presence on the outside should free up two-time 1,000-yard pass-catcher Terry McLaurin.
Round 2: Jaquan Brisker, S, PSU
Round 4: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
The Commodores (Commandos?) are going all in on Carson Wentz — what could go wrong with that!?! — and need a secondary receiving option.
Pro Football Network(Fragoza)
Washington is riding the Carson Wentz train into 2022 — one that has gone off the rails with two different franchises. It’s an ill-advised decision, but one Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew have tied their careers to. As a result, they aim to support their investment by drafting USC’s Drake London. Wentz loves his big-bodied receivers, and London is likely the best one overall he will play with.
Now that the Commanders have quarterback Carson Wentz, they need to get him another pass-catching option other than wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
With his production (88-1,084-7 receiving in eight games last year) and size (6’4″ and 219 pounds), Drake London has the potential to be a Mike Williams-esque downfield dominator on the perimeter.
The Contested Catch King of this year’s receiver class, London is a 6-foot-4 marvel of ball skills whose complementary finesse in the finer areas of the receiving craft make him a worthy WR1 candidate. Washington absolutely CANNOT afford to dunk on Carson Wentz by drafting a QB here. London and Terry McLaurin would give Wentz a formidable 1-2 punch, with Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown still in the fold as explosive complementary playmakers.
New York Post(Serby)
Nomad Carson Wentz will need all the help he can get, in this case a 6-foot-5, 210-pound target to play Robin to Terry McLaurin’s Batman. A former four-star basketball recruit who makes the contested catches and is progressing nicely from the ankle injury that cost him the last eight games of the season.
Pro Football Network(Cummings)
Wilson is my top choice for the Commanders if he’s there. If he’s not, then I like Drake London. I’m a fan of Chris Olave as well, but London is higher on my board. London gets billed as a mere contested-catch threat at 6’4″, 219 pounds. But he’s so much more than that. He has the agility and explosiveness to separate, and he’s a bull after the catch. Do you need an X? Here he is.
Round 2: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
There have been rumblings that Nakobe Dean isn’t viewed as highly by the NFL as he is by the media. I’m part of the media, so I must confess: I am still very high on Dean. I wouldn’t take him in Round 1 if I’m Washington. But if he’s still there in Round 2, you run to the podium and get the dynamic MIKE linebacker you’ve been looking for.
Pro Football Network(Beasley)
The Commanders clearly believe Carson Wentz is better than any quarterback they could take at 11, so now they’re going to give him every opportunity to succeed. Pairing Drake London with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel is a great start.
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
For the Win(D’Andrea)
Washington could opt to add Stingley here — it would mark the sixth-straight year in which the team has used a first round pick on a defensive player. Instead, we’ll focus on the other side of the ball. Terry McLaurin is headed for free agency in 2023. While the team is likely to either extend him before then or lock him into the same version of franchise tag limbo to which it subjected Kirk Cousins and Brandon Scherff, the Commanders badly need a capable WR2 to run alongside him and, eventually, take over.
Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown, added last season, failed to pan out. Instead, Washington can turn back to the Buckeyes and land another difference maker. Wilson is a marvel both before and after the catch, capable of creating the kind of separation that turns simple routes into massive gains.
Perhaps this becomes the trade-up spot for Pickett, if another team is willing to pay the price. A year ago, the Bears moved from 20 (where the Steelers currently reside, FYI) at the cost of a 2021 fifth-round pick, plus first- and fourth-rounders in 2022.
But if they stay here, the Commanders could use more playmakers if Carson Wentz is going to have any chance to succeed. A WR top three of Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown and Wilson would offer some big-play splash.
Wilson would give Terry McLaurin a legitimate running mate at receiver and the two can bond over their time at Ohio State.
Pro Football Network(Miller)
Washington would have loved to see Hamilton fall one more spot, but they received no such luck. However, drafting a receiver to take some pressure off Terry McLaurin and try to help Carson Wentz survive is a great consolation prize.
Garrett Wilson still needs to add a bit of nuance to his game as a route runner, but his tape is smooth and explosive. While he only jumped 36 inches, he’s neared cornerbacks’ shoulder pads as he elevated for passes.
The Commanders traded for Carson Wentz. Is he the long-term solution? I can’t answer that. However, they need to get Terry McLaurin some help on the outside.
There aren’t too many glaring holes on this roster, so adding another explosive pass-catcher to pair with Terry McLaurin could end up being the best use of this pick. It’s a loaded receiver class with plenty of strong candidates here, but Wilson’s well-rounded skill set, polished route-running skills and big-play ability give him the nod.
Round 2: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
Pro Football Focus(Gayle)
The Commanders’ offense needs more firepower beyond Terry McLaurin, Cam Sims, Dyami Brown and Curtis Samuel to have success with Carson Wentz now under center. Wilson is a dynamic pass-catcher who can complement McLaurin immediately as the No. 2 option. His feet are a bit erratic in his routes and releases, but he can clean that up at the next level.
What can’t be coached is his innate separation ability and suddenness with and without the ball in his hands. He is currently DraftKings’ favorite (+115) to be the first receiver off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft.
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.
Prime Time Sports Talk(Gaffney)
Why have just two Ohio State wideouts when you can simply have three? The Commanders had a presence at the Ohio State pro day recently, which leads you to believe they like both of their receivers. Pairing Wilson up with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel has the potential to be big time for Washington. His elite route running and speed should translate well as he makes the jump to the NFL.
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
NBC Sports Philly(Hermann)
Getting Cross at 11 feels like value for Washington. They made the splashy move for Carson Wentz, and if the Commanders want to keep their QB from turning the ball over left and right they need to keep the pocket clean. Cross excels in pass protection and should start Week 1.
The Sports Bank
At 6’5″ 270, he might need to pack on a few more pounds of muscle, but even if he doesn’t, the right NFL team will pick him up and get him on the program. This is an amazing value pick right here.
Sam Howell, QB, UNC
Pro Football Network(Mellor)
The Washington Commanders traded for — and ate the contract of — Carson Wentz. At this stage of his career, however, Wentz should be seen as nothing more than a bridge quarterback. Sam Howell is the best vertical passer in this class, routinely hitting deep shots with accuracy despite what some would call a down year last season. Howell proved doubters wrong at the Senior Bowl and only made his case better throughout the entire offseason process. He’ll be ready to play sooner than later, but Wentz is a good stopgap.
Round 2: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Poor quarterback play held Washington from being able to take a step forward in 2021. Their offense trotted out the league’s seventh-worst offense per PFF. As the newly-named Commanders, they needed to upgrade the position.
Veteran quarterback Carson Wentz is far from perfect — but he’s still an upgrade from what Washington was thrusting under center in 2021. Just keep in mind that the Commanders can get out of Wentz’s contract in 2023 so they are still in the market to draft a signal-caller in the upcoming draft.
They do exactly that by selecting Kenny Pickett — and his small hands — as their future franchise quarterback.
Pickett finished third in PFF passing grade from a clean pocket (94.3) and first in his class in adjusted completion percentage (79%). His overall experience and breakout season make him the most NFL-ready quarterback in this class.
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Whether or not Carson Wentz actually helps the team, the Washington Commanders no longer have to worry about a quarterback (at least for this year).
From there, the defense needs fixes after falling apart last season. Washington went from being the league’s second-best defense in 2020 to 22nd last season. Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton is arguably the best defensive player in the class despite his positional value.
“Hamilton is a rare individual with the size of a linebacker (6’4”, 220 lbs) and the skill set of a defensive back,” Giddings said. “Although he ran on the slower end at his pro day with a 4.70-second effort, he is still an elite athlete that can be used in many different ways.
“The consensus All-American presents the movement ability to match up against tight ends in the pass game, as well as the size and physicality to play in the box. He adds the flexibility to play both free and strong safety. As such, Hamilton will instantly give the Commanders defense a boost.”
Three years ago, Washington signed Landon Collins to a market-shattering free-agent deal. The veteran safety/linebacker is no longer with the team. Instead, the Commanders can draft Hamilton and get the player they wanted all along.
Hamilton is one of the top overall prospects and Washington is able to nab him at No. 11 overall. There are more critical needs for the Commanders but no one is going to complain if the safety ends up being an All-Pro talent. The franchise has invested significant assets into the defense. Five of the last six first round picks have been used on the defense.
Hamilton just might be the best player in the draft, but he also plays safety. I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before. Jamal Adams was the last safety to be picked in the top 5, and he barely made it to a second contract before being traded. Derwin James, perhaps the most popular Hamilton allegory, fell to 17th overall before being scooped up by the Chargers. (Granted, James’ fall was medical related.) So, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Hamilton hits the double digits. For a Washington team that has rid itself of the Landon Collins albatross, it’s a jackpot – even if it means they miss out on a receiver to pair with Terry McLaurin.
A few weeks ago, Hamilton seemed like a top-five lock. However, between the moves made in free agency and his slow 40-time, Hamilton could slide on draft night. While that is far from a lock, the Commanders will run the card up to the podium if Hamilton is still on the board when they go on the clock.
Round 2: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
Myself and many others are big fans of Kyle Hamilton and feel he is one of the best players in the draft. That being said, safeties tend to fall in the draft as most teams just don’t value the position that high. Expect Hamilton to fall out of the top ten and have then have a team snatch him up and get a cornerstone piece to their defense. In this case that’s the Commanders who could really use a high end player at the safety position that can also be one of their team leaders.
Full Press Coverage(Holecek)
Arguably the draft’s best overall player, Kyle Hamilton tumbles a bit, due to the NFL’s view on positional value. Derwin James felt the same fate in his respective draft year while playing the same position. Hamilton provides a rare combination of size, length, instincts and ball skills. Moreover, he can play single-high coverage, in the box, or in split zones. Washington just cut Landon Collins. While not a carbon copy, Hamilton could play a similar role and help give the Commanders a possible bounce back season for their young defense.
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.
I had the Redskins selecting Kenny Pickett here in a 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: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
The Redskins will need to give Carson Wentz a receiver to throw to besides Terry McLaurin.
Wan’Dale Robinson has game-breaking speed.
The Draft Network(Weissman)
The slide for my No. 1 overall player finally ends. Hamilton didn’t run as well as he might have hoped at the combine but that shouldn’t matter if you watched his tape. He is a rare player who offers the size, length, and athleticism to do just about anything you could ask of a safety. He can play single-high where he displays excellent range, instincts, and ball skills. He can play down in the box where he shows strength to take on blocks and outstanding tackling ability. He would give the Commanders another blue-chip player on a defense that’s looking to return to form after a down 2021.
Pro Football Focus(Eager/Brown)
Hamilton’s freefall ends here. Once the favorite to go second overall, his draft position prop is now 8.5 with a -135 the price to bet over.
He is a playmaker on the back end who can give them a player who can drop down to help in the run game. His 40 time disappointed, but he will still go in the first round. I would go receiver here, but I could see Hamilton being the pick.
My favorite player in the draft. I know worries emerged when he posted slower-than-anticipated 40 times at the NFL Scouting Combine and Notre Dame’s pro day, but Hamilton’s easily fast enough on tape. His range, length, ball skills and tackling would pair nicely with current Commanders safety Kamren Curl. I also expect Washington to strongly consider a QB, even after the acquisition of Carson Wentz.
Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU
PFF charted Stingley’s LSU career completion percentage allowed at 41.1. That kind of sticky coverage would be a huge boon to a Commanders defense that just allowed a 100.8 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks in 2021. Pairing Stingley with Kendall Fuller, who was the bright spot of this secondary last season, creates the most value.
As a five-star talent with the tools to play as a shutdown corner on the island, Stingley could take the Commanders’ defense to the next level if he locks in and performs to his potential.
Let’s go ahead and assume that, rightly or wrongly, the Carson Wentz trade rules out a quarterback for the Commanders. Cornerback may not be their most pressing need, but a potential top-five talent like Stingley falling this far may be too appealing to pass up.
Few players that the Commanders can pick at #11 could reasonably be expected to start on Day 1. An inside LB (Devin lloyd, Nakobe Dean), a WR (most of the top WRs are still available) and CB, where the a player with Derek Stingley’s talent will find it’s way onto the field somewhere, without the expectation the he needs to be and island as a rookie.
Round 2: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
There’s no questioning Stingley’s talent, but teams have concerns about his durability and effort. When he’s locked in, though, he’s locked onto receivers. If you’re Washington, he’s the kind of talent that you don’t mind taking a shot on here.
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
There’s no such thing as having too many good corners. Gardner joins William Jackson III and Kendall Fuller in the Commanders’ secondary, giving Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio plenty of options for how to deploy his playmakers.
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah (Draft Profile)
Washington has needs at wideout and along the offensive line, but Lloyd is a special talent who would pair nicely alongside ‘21 first-rounder, Jamin Davis. We were impressed by him during the ‘21 season and nothing changed at the combine. He’s the prototypical off-ball linebacker in today’s NFL (pay no attention to his 4.7-something 40 times — he plays immeasurably faster), and it’s like he was built in a lab. This may seem high but, well, it’s not.
The newly-christened Commanders were thought to be a contender to draft a quarterback, but the trade for Carson Wentz makes the possibility less likely. However, they could have interest in Devin Lloyd as their defensive signal caller after trotting out a string of stop-gap veterans recently. Drafting a first-round linebacker two years in a row probably isn’t ideal resource allocation, but Washington has shown that they will double down on defensive talent in consecutive drafts.
Who should the Commanders draft at #11?
This poll is closed
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Drake London, WR, USC
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Sam Howell, QB, UNC
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah