With the Senior Bowl in the books, the Super Bowl a week away, and the Combine peaking over the horizon, it’s just about the perfect time to start thinking seriously about the draft, unless you happen to be a Chiefs or Eagles fan. 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 first of my 2023 pre-draft mocks, conducted using the Pro Football Network mock draft simulator.
As per usual, I was looking to trade back if the right opportunity arose. In this mock, the Lions offered up #18 and #55 for Washington’s #16. Per the Rich Hill trade value chart, that exchange represented 388 pts of value being offered from Detroit for 305 pts of Washington value. You take that trade every time, and I did. (I resisted trades later in the draft because many of these simulators tend to get too trade happy).
Loved how #UGA showcased LT Broderick Jones in space, on screens, toss plays, and more times then not he cleared an alley for his backs.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) January 19, 2023
Currently my OT2, his tools and athleticism are absurd. Would not be surprised if he entered the Top 10 discussion after the combine. pic.twitter.com/TmibG2elQu
Round 1, Pick 18 - Broderick Jones (OT) (from Detroit)
I’d never advocate reaching for “need” in the draft, and thankfully, I didn’t have to here. Jones, who projects as a multi-year starting tackle in the league immediately plugs into the right tackle spot in my idealized scenario. He’s great value here at #18, and there’s decent reason to believe he won’t make it this long in the actual draft.
Here’s one draft profile of Jones:
Jones is an incredible athlete but especially for an offensive lineman. He has been reported to hit 19 mph on the GPS tracker. This athleticism is evident when he is a lead or pulling blocker in space as he hunts down second and third-level defenders. His lateral agility is impressive—Jones can mirror rushers well to protect inside and outside paths to the quarterback. He is athletic enough to use vertical and diagonal sets in pass protection to cut off those explosive steep-angle rushers. This is evident when he has to handle defensive twists and stunts. Jones does a good job making contact with the first defender and passing them to his teammate to engage the second defender.
C John Michael Schmitz, Min— Erik Turner (@ErikJTurner) February 4, 2023
Quick 1st step
Uses torque to combat DL leverage
Consistently works to playside # to Reach DTs
Backside hand strike to help BSG
Stays connected to combo blocks til LB commits
Keeps tight tracks to not allow leakage
Great anchor & anchor recovery tech pic.twitter.com/ziGSGlAPXg
Round 2, Pick 47 - John Michael Schmitz (C)
If Schmitz actually lasts until pick #47, we would be fortunate to grab him here. I explained why in my first draft profile of the offseason.
Nolan Smith lateral mobility pic.twitter.com/yXEHwA353l— Tyler Browning (@DiabeticTyler) January 30, 2023
Round 2, Pick 55 - Nolan Smith (EDGE) (from Detroit)
Washington can’t afford to keep Montez Sweat AND Chase Young around over the course of the next several years, and it’s time to get serious about grooming a replacement for one (or both) of them. Smith was a high value player at this spot in the draft, in a position that will be a “need” in a year or two. Smith is a guy who could benefit tremendously from studying under the team’s existing EDGEs and Ryan Kerrigan.
Nolan Smith is a supreme athlete at outside linebacker, the former five-star prospect has the speed of a corner, combined with the strength of a player 20lbs heavier. His potential is huge, however, he’s never been a consistently dominant player on the field and far too often relies on speed and power to mask a very limited skillset of pass-rushing moves. He’ll need to quickly learn on the job at the next level or risk being found out.
Expect Smith to be over-drafted due to his elite measurables and a likely first-round pick, however, currently, we view him as a second-round talent with some major flaws in his game.
It looks like Patrick Graham likes what he sees from @TexasFootball linebacker DeMarvion Overshown.— Levi Edwards (@theleviedwards) February 2, 2023
The 6’4, 215 pound linebacker compiled six sacks, 15.5 TFL’s and seven pass breakups his last two seasons in Austin. pic.twitter.com/Y59waexYss
Round 3, Pick 97 - DeMarvion Overshown (LB)
A converted safety, Overshown is an incredibly athletic linebacker prospect who would make an excellent, eventual, pairing with Jamin Davis, and, form the foundation of an energetic trio with Davis and Cole Holcomb, should he be re-signed.
From early draft profiles, he sounds like a near ideal match for Del Rio’s defense:
Overall, Overshown’s athletic profile of size and speed will make him one of the most intriguing defensive prospects in this draft. It appears that Overshown’s effectiveness at the next level will be based on teams capitalizing on his versatility and aligning him in positions where he can use his size and athleticism to make plays instead of placing him only in traditional linebacker alignments.
Israel Abanikanda has a three-down toolset that includes soft hands and the ability to catch away from his body. He also doesn’t shy away from contact.— Jeremy (@PopesFFH) January 13, 2023
Keep your eyes on him through the draft process #FantasyFootball pic.twitter.com/XbKxHnT1lt
Round 4, Pick 118 - Israel Abanikanda (RB)
With one year left on his rookie deal, it’s time to start thinking about replacing Antonio Gibson. Abanikanda - or someone else of his caliber - will be available and also be the “best player available” in this area of the draft. Washington should pick that guy up.
Quick but eventful rep from Arkansas WR Jadon Haselwood and Louisville CB Kei'Trel Clark.— Ian Cummings (@IC_Draft) January 30, 2023
Nice hip sink, suddenness, and foot speed on the route break from Haselwood, but Clark does a great job matching and reacting, and plays the ball perfectly.#PFNShrine | @ShrineBowl pic.twitter.com/PdWzYprACa
Round 5, Pick 152 - Kei’Trel Clark (CB)
From Clark’s draft profile:
Overall, Clark is a highly productive defensive back that is versatile when it comes to where he can align. Clark’s limited size will be a question for NFL teams as he could be a mismatch issue against bigger receivers, but the film shows a competitive defensive back that has uncoachable instincts and ball prediction.
Demarco Hellams triggering quickly and laying the boom, dislodging the ball from the receiver. Heck of a rep. pic.twitter.com/eXJWtNOCrZ— Derrick (@Steelers_DB) February 3, 2023
Round 6, Pick 193 - DeMarcco Hellams (S)
From his draft profile:
Hellams’ biggest improvement as a player shows when he is in man coverage at depth. On multiple occasions, Hellams has gotten beat on vertical routes. It appears that Hellams’ transition to opening his hips to turn and run vertically is slightly delayed, resulting in receivers gaining a step on him. It also shows that Hellams may lack the elite foot speed to be able to carry those receivers vertically up the field.
Hellams is a player that has played in multiple alignments, but in the NFL, it appears that his best usage will come with him playing the traditional strong safety role in a zone defense.
Round 6, Pick 216 - Max Duggan (QB)
Duggan led the Horned Frogs to the National Championship game this year, where they were dismantled by the Georgia Bulldogs. That said, Duggan can serve as an interesting developmental prospect on Washington’s roster, either backing up Sam Howell, or serving as QB3 for a year if Taylor Heinicke happens to be brought back.
Malik Vann is a bulldozer of a human being pic.twitter.com/99zVpzcYyd— Barstool Cincinnati (@UCBarstool) November 14, 2020
Round 7, Pick 235 - Malik Vann (DT)
Vann was the best player left on the board at a position where the team could certainly add some depth. The expectation is that any players taken in this range will be special teams contributors and/or developmental prospects.
How would you grade this draft?
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