The Chiefs have won the Super Bowl, Washington has added a new offensive coordinator, and the NFL Combine starts in just about a week. This point in February is a great time to get more familiar with the talent that will be available in April’s draft.
Washington goes into the 2023 draft with a ton of uncertainty swirling around the future of the franchise’s ownership and management, but has some fairly solid components in place, in terms of the team itself.
This is the second of my 2023 pre-draft mocks, conducted using the Pro Football Network mock draft simulator. The first one can be found here.
As per usual, I was looking to trade back if the right opportunity arose. Chicago offered picks #53, #64, and their 2024 first round pick for #16. According to the Rich Hill chart, that’s 305 points being offered up by Washington in exchange for 310 points from the Bears (106 + 80 + ~124 (for a year delayed mid-first round pick). I took it, with the expectation that the Bears will probably be worse than average again in 2023, and that, if Sam Howell doesn’t work out, we’ll need significant draft capital next year.
The Bears took Broderick Jones (OT) at number 16, for those curious.
My first 2023 NFL Draft film room is here. Tennessee RT Darnell Wright and I discussed his journey in Knoxville, progression as a player, preparation, technique, top pass-rushers and a lot more.https://t.co/8JT9JSzOFY— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) February 13, 2023
Round 2, Pick 47 - Darnell Wright (OT)
To be able to trade back this far in the draft and still land on a player of Wright’s caliber at a position of need would be amazing. Wright is described by some as as the best right tackle prospect in the draft.
Lance Zierlein’s draft summary is below:
Right tackle prospect who used his size and power to overcome athletic limitations and spotty technique on the collegiate level. The tape can be a little uneven for Wright with poor block finishes followed up by aggressive pancakes. He played with much better body control and footwork in 2022, though. Wright is capable of staying at right tackle at the next level provided he’s given protection help from time to time. While he was often a positional blocker at Tennessee, he’s a very talented drive blocker when allowed to fire out. There will be inconsistent outings, but Wright should develop into a decent starting tackle with the potential to kick inside if necessary.
Cody Mauch played LT at NDSU but repped at all five OL spots at @seniorbowl, proving he’s only prospect in 2023 draft with legit 5-position versatility.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 17, 2023
Checkout the summersault finish . Big man athlete!
Don’t be shocked when @codytud goes Round 1.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/2pob0d15bi
Round 2, Pick 53 - Cody Mauch (OL) (from Chicago)
While Mauch was a left tackle at North Dakota State, the general sense seems to be that he could very well be a plus starter if moved inside, and heavens’ knows, Washington needs guard/center help. With his versatility across the line, he provides John Matsko another chess piece to move around as he sees fit, and provides the team a potential 2024 starter on the inside (or outside, if things go particularly well).
From Zierlein’s pre-draft review:
Mauch’s two front teeth are missing (they were knocked out during a junior high basketball game) and he wears a big mop of shoulder-length red hair, so you get the sense you are about to watch a hockey player on turf when you turn on the game tape. As expected, Mauch is a rugged player with an attacking demeanor who does his most consistent work as a drive blocker in the run game. Inconsistent footwork in pass protection and below average arm length could foreshadow a move inside to guard, where he is capable of competing for a starting job as a scheme-versatile tough guy.
Rashee Rice is the best run blocking WR in this class by a comfortable margin pic.twitter.com/gi5TkMhwn6— James Foster (@NoFlagsFilm) February 8, 2023
Round 3, Pick 64 - Rashee Rice (WR) (from Chicago)
At this point, wide receiver is absolutely not a position of need for Washington, but when you’re focused on taking the best player available, sometimes that means looking beyond the upcoming season. Curtis Samuel is under contract for one more year, and Rice could be a solid, longer-term replacement. Rice is comped by some as a Brandon Aiyuk type player, which I’d love to see in Bieniemy’s offense.
From the Draft Network’s profile:
Rice is physically impressive, offering a sturdy frame with good height and length. He’s also a dynamic athlete in terms of acceleration and long speed. Rice has terrific balance that shows up at the catch point and after the catch. I’m impressed with how frequently he catches the football and makes that first defender miss to gain meaningful yards after the catch. Rice showcases strong ball skills with the ability to locate and make adjustments to the football. He’s an aggressive blocker that brings the fight when competing to create lanes for his teammates. Rice has proven fully capable of winning both from the slot and out wide.
Kenny McIntosh during his career at Georgia:— PFF College (@PFF_College) February 16, 2023
Zero Drops pic.twitter.com/Fx7AujLt7M
Round 3, Pick 97 - Kenny McIntosh (RB)
Like Rice, McIntosh’s position isn’t one of particular need at this moment, but next year, it will be if Antonio Gibson is allowed to walk in free agency. At Georgia, McIntosh was stacked up behind NFL-caliber talent for most of his career, and didn’t get much mileage on his tires as a result. He’s one of those players who possesses the opportunity to show as more impressive in the pros than he did in college, because he’ll get the opportunity to shine. McIntosh was also an accomplished kick returner in college, averaging 27 yards per return.
From his Pro Football Network draft review:
In the receiving phase, meanwhile, McIntosh has one of the highest ceilings in the 2023 NFL Draft RB group. His brand of explosiveness, agility, and leg churn translates well after the catch, but he’s also a nuanced route runner with a diverse route tree and alignment flexibility, deliberate technique, and high-end ball-tracking ability downfield.
Washington State ILB Daiyan Henley has the speed and ball-skills to be an effective coverage linebacker, thanks to his wide receiver background. Was also a HS QB.— WBG84 (@WBG84) February 12, 2023
Henley runs stride-for-stride with the WR in man-coverage and records the game-sealing INT against Idaho. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/bTg7O7VfXz
Round 4, Pick 118 - Daiyan Henley (LB)
From the Draft Network:
Henley is fast to flow to the football with strong rally skills in the open field with a dynamic first step. That twitch is potent and allows him to step down into a gap when mugged up onto linemen, giving him a crease to penetrate. He’s a former wide receiver and defensive back so his ball skills when playing in coverage are considered a strength as well—look no further than his interception late to seal a win early in the season. Henley’s disruptive presence and aggression to trigger forward make him an interesting hybrid option—he has length and could feasibly win as a pass rusher off the edge as well, particularly if he’s playing a hybrid role that is tailored to utilize him as a designated rusher. That’s a best-case outcome but any team looking to maximize his value is likely going to have to get creative.
Round 5, Pick 152 - Rezjohn Wright (CB)
From his Draft Network profile:
Wright projects as a Cover 3 cornerback that can play match-man principles. His physical profile and presence in the red zone can deter those patented fade routes and 50/50 contested-catch attempts. The combination of his frame and arm length allows him to match up with detached tight ends. Wright can step as a CB3 or depth piece early on. There is some value in special teams as he finds his footing. He has the potential to become a CB2 at the next level.
I'm a big believer that Jake Haener will have a long NFL career in a Ryan Fitzpatrick/Taylor Heinicke-type arch.— Cory (@realcorykinnan) February 19, 2023
He's got stones, man. Gets his eyes backside, under pressure, and delivers a strike. pic.twitter.com/6T59giCBYl
Round 6, Pick 193 - Jake Haener (QB)
Pass on the QB who comps to Taylor Heinicke? Not in this mock draft. Here’s what else the Draft Network has to say about him:
Overall, if Haener were bigger and stronger we would be talking about a sure-fire top-10 pick, but unfortunately, he is not. With his lack of high-end traits, it’s hard to see Haener ever being a top starter at the next level, but with his natural ability as a passer and the competitive toughness he displays, I would not be shocked to see him develop into a low-level starter who you can win with if you surround him with a good team. I would not bet against this player.
Arizona State DT Nesta Jade Silvera has been so disruptive this week in the interior pic.twitter.com/YeLOeBGidr— Joe DeLeone (@joedeleone) February 2, 2023
Round 6, Pick 215 - Nesta Jade Silvera (IDL)
From the Draft Network:
His abilities as a pass rusher extend to being physically stronger than everyone else. Purely as a penetrator using a bull rush, Silvera can quickly cause havoc in the pass game, but asking him to be a three-down interior lineman would be overreaching his capabilities. He doesn’t display much of an arsenal of pass-rush moves, mostly referring to his bull rush to make his presence known. For teams looking for a run-stuffing and physically-ready interior defensive lineman to throw in on first and second down, Silvera will be just about as good as they come in the middle rounds of the draft.
Former Maryland K Chad Ryland went 4-for-5 in the Senior Bowl on Saturday, knocking through 32, 37, 41 and 42 yard attemptspic.twitter.com/km0IYKNZRm— Inside the Black & Gold (@Insideblackgold) February 5, 2023
Round 7, Pick 235 - Chad Ryland (K)
The University of Maryland product, Ryland, hit 39 of 40 of his extra points in 2022, posting a 97%+ hit rate on XPs over his 5-year college career. He was tied for third in most 50+ yard FGs in 2022 (3), as well. It’s time to give Joey Slye some competition. Cutting Slye, who only hit 86% of his XPs last year, this offseason would save $1.85M.
How would you rate this draft?