The NFL’s legal tampering period kicks off at noon today, and there will be a flurry off deals to kick off the 2023 free agency period. Teams have already started re-signing their own players, including Washington who locked up their franchise tagged DT Daron Payne with a 4-year, $90 million contract. The NFL also saw a massive trade last week, with the Carolina Panthers giving up multiple high draft picks and WR D.J. Moore to move up from #9 to #1. The Bears trade down has caused some changes to mock drafts, but free agency will bring a lot more changes as teams address their needs with veterans.
This week’s mock draft roundup has an even split between the offense and the defense with 6 players on each side of the ball. The focus remains on cornerbacks for defense, and the offensive line(especially tackles) for the offense. We have our first appearance of a running back as a first round pick for the Commanders. There is also one trade down that Ben Standig proposes that would add a lot of picks, still grab a top target, but drop Washington to the end of the 1st round.
Washington Commanders 2023 Draft Picks
1st Round: #16
2nd Round: #47
3rd Round: #97 (compensatory pick)
4th Round: #118
5th Round: #150
6th Round: #193
#215 (compensatory pick)
7th Round: #233
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
NFL Mock Draft(Weiss)
The Washington Commanders are making a real commitment to Sam Howell this offseason, this after seeing him start one NFL game this past season. Howell did a tremendous job in that start, beating the Dallas Cowboys, so maybe they have found something in the former North Carolina Tar Heel.
With Howell assuming QB1 duties for 2023, the Commanders have to do a good job this offseason of building around him. Going with Broderick Jones in the first round is a good way to do that, as he is an elite offensive tackle prospect, and fills a major void up front along this Washington offensive line.
2nd Round: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Last season, the NFC East was well-represented in the NFC Playoffs, as three of the four teams that play in that division made the postseason. Unfortunately for the Washington Commanders, they were the odd man out, something head coach Ron Rivera would like to forget going into this offseason.
Rivera has gotten a jump on the offseason, naming Sam Howell as the starter for 2023, and our mock shows that he plans to put a moat around him along the offensive line. With Broderick Jones heading to DC in the first round, John Michael Schmitz is the second-round selection, two young offensive linemen that will anchor the revamping of the line in front of Howell.
Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
There’s been a run on QBs, pass rushers and offensive linemen over the first half of this mock draft and with plenty of cornerbacks still on the board — and a need in Washington — the Commanders go ... offensive lineman. Thing is, Wright had Day 3 grades coming into the 2022 season but was dominant for the Vols, capping it all off with a strong Senior Bowl week. He’s a first-round talent all day long and don’t be surprised if he’s RT1 and maybe one of the first offensive linemen off the board — this is a deep group at the top.
Paris Johnson, Jr., OT, Ohio State
The Commanders have plenty of needs, but addressing an aging offensive line has got to be pretty high on the list. Johnson brings incredible length and light feet to Washington’s offensive line, plus the added benefit of starting experience at both guard and tackle.
Washington has multiple needs along the offensive line, but this pick would allow the Commanders to move Sam Cosmi to guard and plug Johnson into an early starting role.
Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
The Draft Network(Fowler)
A man the size of your local state park, the Commanders will have a new face under center—again—this fall, and keeping him upright remains paramount. Dawand Jones has a ton of experience in pass pro in his time with the high-flying Buckeyes offense, and Washington is expected to sling it around in 2023. He has a top-30 visit scheduled with Washington in the coming weeks.
O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
Projected trade: Nos. 31, 63, 134, 217 and 2024 fourth to Washington for Nos. 16 and 150
Last year, the Commanders’ first-round trade down netted wideout Jahan Dotson, running back Brian Robinson and potential 2023 starting quarterback Sam Howell. With cornerbacks Gonzalez and Witherspoon and three offensive tackles off the board at 16, Washington goes for a repeat with a more considerable drop. The OL revamping is coming, and the Commanders have options here with the massive but raw Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones or a mauling interior lineman in Torrence.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
If the Washington Commanders’ offense is going to work with Sam Howell, they need a star at running back. Quite simply, Brian Robinson Jr (3.9 ypc) and Antonio Gibson aren’t anything close to that. Bijan Robinson is a three-down weapon that many in the NFL view as an elite talent. Eric Bieniemy can easily build his offense around Robinson.
Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Witherspoon is rising fast, despite not working out at the combine. He allowed 3.2 yards per target last season, second-best in the nation, and picked off three passes. I love his physicality, and Washington really needs someone who can make plays on the outside. Opponent QBs had a 70.0 QBR on throws outside the numbers last season, 23rd in the NFL, and the Commanders didn’t reach double-digit interceptions (nine). Pair Witherspoon with Kendall Fuller, and you have an improvement.
Witherspoon, continuing the agility and size combination theme for corners at the Combine, positioned himself to be a top-half pick with Cam Smith and Kelee Ringo slipping on boards in relation. The Commanders need to lock into the best corner available after their disaster on the back end with William Jackson Jr., Kendall Fuller and others last season.
A perfect match of need and value, Witherspoon might slip after missing out on the combine and pro day workouts due to injury, but his film is the best of any corner in this draft.
Round 2: John Michael Schmitz, OL, Minnesota
Round 3: DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
NBC Sports Boston(Schrock)
Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Lacking any truly established entities at the position outside of Kendall Fuller, Washington would be wise to take advantage of a loaded cornerback class at some point in the early going of the draft. Porter sizes up as a frustrating matchup for opposing receivers given his physicality and playmaking prowess.
Porter didn’t have the best 40 time (4.46), and his 35-inch vertical wasn’t outstanding, but he is still fierce, intelligent, tall and long. His 81-inch wingspan measures in the 97th percentile among corners, according to Mockdraftable, and his 10-inch hands come in handy when making plays on the ball. I love him. He truly is his father if his father played corner. What’s not to like?
The offensive tackle run is essentially over so Washington addresses another primary position of need. Joey Porter Jr. significantly upgrades the outlook at that position for the Commanders.
The 33rd Team
Last season, the Washington Commanders picked wide receiver Jahan Dotson in the first round, and this year they look to fix the corner position with Joey Porter Jr.
San Diego U~T(Brown)
The Commanders miss out on the top QB prospects, so GM Martin Mayhew addresses the biggest need on the other side of the ball. The son of former All-Pro linebacker Joey Porter checks the size (6-2, 193) and physicality boxes. Plus, Junior’s athleticism and talent pops when you watch him, but he’ll need to refine his technique and develop more consistency to pay off his potential.
Round 2: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
Pro Football Network(Mellor)
Washington grabs the third cornerback of the first 16 picks, with Cam Smith from South Carolina available here. Smith is a large cornerback with great burst to the football and plenty of versatility in his game. The Commanders’ defense is one of the best in the NFL, and securing a need at cornerback will help in the short and long term.
Round 2: Adetomiwa Adebawore, EDGE, Northwestern
Flying at the Combine, Adetomiwa Adebawore far exceeded expectations in his pre-draft process. Adebawore proved his get-off on tape isn’t a product of anything else but his athleticism and gave pause to some of his reps that seemed too good to be true from his time at Northwestern.
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
For the Win(D’Andrea)
Several great cornerback prospects remain on the board, but none who raised their stock in Indianapolis as much as Forbes. The Bulldog defensive back crushed the 40 with a 4.35 second time. He’ll need to prove to teams he can maintain that as he adds bulk, because his 166 pound frame is almost certainly going to be a problem on Sundays.
Weight concern aside, Forbes is fluid and capable of punishing passers for testing him. He had 14 interceptions and 18 passes defensed in three years at Mississippi State. His resume and speed are both top-of-class traits. He’s just gotta put on some weight to stick with the league’s bigger wideouts.
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
For a franchise that is desperate for some good news, my top CB dropping to Washington’s pick would certainly qualify. Christian Gonzalez tore up the NFL Combine, posting-among other great numbers-a 4.38 40-yard dash and a 41.5” vertical jump. For a cornerback to come in at 6’1.5, 197 lbs to test like he did is quite rare, and I doubt a player with his length makes it this far. However, as we’ve seen with this team in the past half-decade, crazy things happen, as this fan base has seen top-5 locks fall to them in the back half of the round in Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat.
Gonzalez left Colorado (following his coach) as a smooth, refined corner, but there were questions about his ball skills. After posting 4 INTs and 7 PBUs as an Oregon Duck in 2022, those concerns were certainly qualmed. Gonzalez would add even more length to the outside for this top-five defensive unit, and Jack Del Rio will be able to play plenty of press-man on the outside with the combination of the rookie and third-year CB Benjamin St-Juste. CB Kendall Fuller would likely slide into the slot, and those three along with safeties (hopefully re-signed) S Kam Curl and up-and-coming Darrick Forrest combine to create quite a secondary.
Look for the Commanders to also consider an offensive lineman at this spot, but the value of Gonzalez is too good to pass up. Regardless of who wears Burgundy & Gold in the fall, only one thing truly matters; a new owner in Washington.
Round 2: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
Round 3: Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan
Washington is very thin at cornerback, with Kendall Fuller being the only one of note. Even then, Fuller could become a cap casualty, leaving the Commanders in an even worse spot at the position. There are plenty of corners available to pick from, but Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez seems like the best of the bunch. Gonzalez put on a show at the Combine, and his game tape is great as well.
Brian Branch, S, Alabama
Which position should the Washington Commanders select in the 1st round?
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