April is here. That means the NFL Draft is just a few weeks away!
Since early September 2021, I have been studying collegiate prospects in anticipation for this event. Obviously, what transpired in free agency with Washington trading for quarterback Carson Wentz has significantly changed my focus in the early part of this draft. That being said, many of our other ancillary needs still remain.
2022 Team Needs:
WR - This remains a top team need, and there are two main reasons for that. First, a Terry McLaurin extension should be on the horizon. Anticipating Terry will get at least $20M/AAY, and Curtis Samuel being signed through the 2023 season with an average of $11.5M/AAY, it makes sense to find a legitimate 1b or number 2 wideout to pair opposite McLaurin on a cheap rookie deal. Second, we really had no one step up opposite Terry last season. Samuel, when healthy, may be more of a slot/RB type player (and he has just two years remaining on his contract), and Dyami Brown has yet to show he belongs as a major contributor in this league. Cam Sims was re-signed, but he’s probably best suited in a reserve role.
With a loaded class at the position, wide receiver being a PREMIUM position in the NFL, and the Commanders picking just outside the top 10, this sets up nicely for a top pass catcher to hear his name called at pick 11.
TE - Logan Thomas suffered a knee injury that required surgery late in the 2021 season. He’ll be 31 in July, and has just one year of solid productivity. It’s unknown whether he’ll be ready to start the season, and even if he is able to, a compliment to the position, with flex ability, would be nice for Washington. Ricky Seals-Jones signed a free agent deal with the Giants, and the Commanders are left with two young, developmental players in Sammis Reyes and John Bates.
ILB - Last year, Washington selected Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis at 19th overall. They tried to play the rookie at the MIKE position, but things didn’t click, and a late season switch to OLB was made. The Commanders are left looking for a sideline-to-sideline athletic middle linebacker to anchor the defense.
FS - It seems like decades since Washington has had a true center field safety on the back end of their defense. There are some nice players on the roster who can play strong safety and even buffalo nickel, but there is still a major void to be filled in the middle of the secondary.
IOL - The Commanders lost starting right guard Brandon Scherff in free agency. His departure leaves some big shoes to be filled, however his lack of availability the past few seasons was an issue. The expectation now is that Wes Schweitzer will man that position, but the depth behind he and newly signed Andrew Norwell is lacking.
QB - Before the trade for Carson Wentz, quarterback was at the very top of the list. The staff truly desired a veteran at the position, and now that Wentz is here, he will be given every opportunity to show he’s the guy. If he falters, Rivera and staff could turn to the 2023 draft class to find their quarterback of the future, but for now, all eyes are on Carson and surrounding him with as many offensive weapons as possible.
That being said, a developmental quarterback in the second half of the draft should be a focus of the team. Taylor Heinicke is under contract through 2022, and currently there are no options behind him.
Buffalo Nickel - Buffalo Nickel (or Money Backer), is becoming the new trend in today’s positionless NFL. The team moved on from Landon Collins, who play that hybrid role last year, and is now in search of his replacement. There are some internal candidates who could fill this role, but a true Swiss Army knife at Del Rio’s disposal would give this defense some great matchup flexibility.
Big Board for First Two Rounds:
First Round Grades
Likely not there at pick 11...
Sauce Gardner CB Cinn: 6’3” 190 (4.41 40)
Kyle Hamilton Hybrid Notre Dame: 6’4” 220 (4.59 40)
Realistic picks at 11...
Garrett Wilson WR Ohio St.: 6’0” 183 (4.38 40)
Derek Stingley Jr. CB LSU: 6’0” 190
Treylon Burks WR Arkansas: 6’2” 225 (4.55 40)
Drake London WR USC: 6’4” 219
Trade-back in RD1...
Chris Olave WR Ohio St.: 6’0” 187 (4.39 40)
Jameson Williams WR Alabama: 6’1 1⁄2 179
Devin Lloyd LB Utah: 6’3” 237 (4.66 40)
Nakobe Dean LB Georgia: 5’11” 229
Second Round Grades
Likely not there at pick 47...
Daxton Hill S Michigan: 6’0” 191 (4.38 40)
George Pickens WR Georgia: 6’3” 195 (4.47 40)
Christian Watson WR N Dakota St.: 6’4” 208 (4.36 40)
Zion Johnson G Boston College: 6’3” 312
Lewis Cine S Georgia: 6’2” 199 (4.37 40)
Kenyon Green G Texas A&M: 6’4” 323
Realistic picks at 47...
Quay Walker ILB Georgia: 6’4” 241 (4.52 40)
Jalen Pitre S Baylor: 5’11” 198
Trey McBride TE Colorado St.: 6’4” 246 (4.53 40)
Chad Muma ILB Wyoming: 6’3” 239 (4.63 40)
Jaquan Brisker S Penn State: 6’1” 199 (4.49 40)
Troy Anderson ILB Montana St.: 6’3” 243 (4.42 40)
I know we currently do not have a third round draft pick, but if we were somehow able to acquire one, here would be some potential targets.
Third Round Grades
Greg Dulcich TE UCLA
David Bell WR Perdue
Rasheed Walker OT Penn State
Nick Cross S Maryland
Christian Harris LB Alabama
Jalen Wydermyer TE Texas A&M
John Metchie WR Alabama
Darrian Beavers LB Cinn.
James Cook RB Georgia
Bubba Bolden S Miami
Who should Washington pick at #11?
This poll is closed