Each year, just before the actual draft, enterprising individuals from various SBNation blogs take it upon themselves to organize a site-wide full mock draft, with (ideally) writers/posters from each of the team blogs picking on behalf of their team. This year, I will be picking on behalf of the Washington Commanders and tracking progress here. The draft will take place on Discord.
Think of this draft as a series of thought exercises, not simply a rote duplication of what we can expect come late April in Kansas City. It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste. Last year’s exercise can be found here.
3/31 – 8 PM EDT / 5 PM PDT (Round 1)
4/1 – 1pm EDT / 10 AM PDT (Rounds 2-3)
4/2 – 1pm EDT / 10 AM PDT (Rounds 4-7)
This page should be updated in fairly close to real time once the draft begins on 3/31.
Pre-Draft Trade: Washington sends Chase Young to the Texans for pick 33. Rationale: I thought Chase Young was a foolish selection when he was taken at #2 overall, and nothing in the past three years has given me strong reason to re-consider that position. He’s already lost a year and a half to injury, which was one of the chief concerns about investing so deeply in a non-QB pick that high in the draft. Young shouldn’t get his 5th year option here, and this was an attempt to get value while teams are still betting on his potential. I’ve cashed in my chips. The move would save Washington about $5.3M this offseason, which could be used to pursue additional free agents.
Pre-Draft Trade: The SB Nation GM crew is a pretty savvy group, so there aren’t often chances to trade back in the first round. The Saints were looking to move up into the third round, however, and I saw an opportunity to gain some draft value. I sent Washington’s third round comp pick received for Brandon Scherff (#97) to New Orleans for #115 and #121. Per the Rich Hill trade value chart, that was a value capture of around 10 draft points for Washington ((26+23) - 39), equivalent to an extra, mid-5th round pick.
In-Draft Trade: Washington sends 16 and 115 to Jacksonville for 29 and 40.
Round 1, Pick 16 (to Jacksonville)
Round 1, Pick 29 (from Jacksonville) - Brian Branch, S, Alabama
Branch certainly wasn’t a position of immediate need, though he quickly becomes Washington’s starting nickel back in 2023. More importantly, with a significant second contract pending for Kam Curl, Branch gives the team flexibility should they decide to move on from him after this season.
Branch is the best safety available in the draft, with comps to Minkah Fitzpatrick, and could make an ideal Buffalo Nickel in Washington’s defense. From Branch’s draft profile:
Overall, Branch is a versatile defensive back prospect who has the ability to make plus-level plays at every alignment. But teams who draft him are also getting a player who plays with intensity and a passion for the game that can help him become an influential team leader.
Not enough love is being given to #Alabama S Brian Branch.— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) February 28, 2023
He’ll have an immediate impact in Nickel coverage. Physical & excels in both zone and man coverage.
Had an insane Sugar Bowl w/ 12 tackles, 4 TFLs, INT
So versatile and NFL ready
Round 2, Pick 33 (from Houston for Chase Young)
Round 3, Pick 40 (from Jacksonville)
Round 2, Pick 47
Round 3, Pick 97 (to New Orleans)
Round 4, Pick 115 (from New Orleans, to Jacksonville)
Round 4, Pick 118
Round 4, Pick 121 (from New Orleans)
Round 5, Pick 152
Round 6, Pick 193
Round 6, Pick 215
Round 7, Pick 235
I look forward to your thoughts in the comments below:
- Panthers - CJ Stroud (QB)
- Texans - Bryce Young (QB)
- Cardinals - Will Anderson (EDGE)
- Colts - Anthony Richardson (QB)
- Seahawks - Tyree Wilson (IDL)
- Lions - Jalen Carter (DT)
- Raiders - Devon Witherspoon (CB)
- Falcons - Joey Porter Jr (CB)
- Steelers - Christian Gonzalez (CB)
- Eagles - Bijan Robinson (RB)
- Bengals - Paris Johnson (OT)
- Bills - Jaxon Smith-Ngiba (WR)
- Packers - Myle Murphy (EDGE)
- Patriots - Zay Flowers (WR)
- Giants - Deonte Banks (CB)
- Jaguars - Nolan Smith (EDGE)
- Vikings - Will Levis (QB)
- Lions - Dalton Kincaid (TE)
- Buccaneers - Anton Harrison (OT)
- Seahawks - O’Cyrus Torrance (G)
- Dolphins - Forfeited
- Chargers - Michael Mayer (TE)
- Ravens - Jordan Addison (WR)
- Bears - Broderick Jones (OT)
- Saints - Pete Skoronski (G)
- Jets - Quentin Johnson (WR)
- Texans - Steve Avila (G)
- Bills - Darnell Washington (TE)
- Titans - Darnell Wright (OT)
- Commanders - Brian Branch (S)
- Saints - Bryan Bresee (DT)
- Chiefs - Adetomiwa Adebawore (DT)