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Ron Rivera apparently feels pretty good about the upcoming draft. In a recent press conference, he said:
We feel very comfortable going into the draft. I think a lot of things that we did in free agency really helped us out. I thought Martin and the personnel group really came to us with a lot of positive players to look at; we were able to choose several guys that we feel very strongly about. We took a couple of starters from other teams and put them on our roster. We feel like we did a couple of good things.
If you look at what Martin and the personnel department has done, they have gone out and they have scouted, put a bunch of names out in front of us — obviously, gave all the coaches their assignments, the coordinators their assignments, gave me mine — and we went to work.
Scouts came in last week, did their readings and stacked the board. Right now, coaches, we haven’t seen the board. We are going through our readings. Then, what will happen is Martin and the group will come in, they’ll re-stack it and then we will come in with the coordinators and we’ll sit down and go through it with them and move some pieces around, talking about where we see guys fitting for us — where we think they’ll be — and we will play with that all week.
General Manager Martin Mayhew, in the same press conference, talked about trading to move up or down in the draft.
Yeah, frequently trade up are situations where you see a player who you think should have been gone, and then you move up and try to try to get that player. The player fits you; it’s an aggressive move to go up, I think because you’re giving up typically draft choice. There are other opportunities to pick other players [that you lose] to go and get that player, so you have to have consensus on a guy. You have to have a very, very strong opinion of a guy...to move up, and that’s pretty much across the board — where coach myself, all the scouts — everybody’s on the same page and we all believe it’s worth giving up another player to get that guy.
I think from my history [and] my perspective, trading back has worked better for me most of the time. When you’re trading back, you’re acquiring more picks, and it’s been my experience that just having more volume and having more picks gives you more opportunities to hit, especially if you’re scouting well in those mid late rounds. That’s what happened for us last year. You know, we moved back, we picked up a number of players we feel really good about, and those guys all have really bright futures with us right now. If we had gone up — I think we started with five or six picks to start the draft — so if we had gone up and given up picks, it had been slim pickings for us, so it varies a lot. You have to be really strong, I think, in opinions in terms of moving up. I really prefer to move back most of the time.
The head coach mirrored the GM’s comments about the value of trading back in the ‘22 draft:
The truth of the matter is, the only time we get stressed is when we get to our pick. For the most part, we just sit here and just wait and see what happens. And like I said, five picks from when we [are on the clock] is when we start talking about what our clump of guys are, and who they can be for us, and who we feel fits best for us. We just continue to watch and wait, and hopefully the guy that we want the most is still looking at us.
We were fortunate last year [when] we [traded back]. Martin made a great deal for us, got us a few more picks, and the guy that we liked the most was sitting right there, and we were able to get Jahan [Dotson]. Again, not a lot of people knew that’s the direction we were going. A big part of it was we didn’t bring him in for the 30 visit. But that’s the truth. I mean, you know, we were very fortunate. And again, as Martin said, a lot of it was, we created a better opportunity for us by being able to [trade back].
Mayhew expanded on the process of trading up or down in general terms:
It depends on where you are, and it depends on the demand for your pick. Obviously if you have an early pick, there are probably more teams calling, trying to move up. Where we are right now, I will probably project up several spots in case we want to move up, [then] we understand the value. We don’t want to give up a whole bunch of picks, so I know how far we can go up. But then I’ll probably talk to everybody from 16 to 31 and gauge their interest in coming up.
That’s part of our preparation for next week — I will be calling other teams and talking to them and feeling...out who wants to move up, who wants to move back, and they’ll be calling me as well.
Ron reiterated that having a quarterback on a rookie contract is allowing the decision-makers to roster build ‘for the first time’, and he is already talking about plans that stretch out to 2024:
Myself, Martin, Marty, Rob and Eric — we’ve talked about what our plan was, and what we’ve been looking for since we finished the season in January. We got together and talked about, okay, this is our plan, this is what we want to do. We put together a 2023 projection and 2024 projection that we presented at one point, and we’ve stuck to that. That’s pretty much what we’ve wanted to do.
We got into a position in free agency — and as I said earlier, you know — we were able to roster build off of a rookie contract. And because of that, we felt we were able to do the things we wanted to do. We signed three starters, guys that we feel very good about. We signed a quarterback to come in and help compete and at the same time help develop a quarterback for us. And then we signed some more good quality players that are going to continue to add to the depth of who we are as a football team. And we were able to sign some of our own — let’s not forget that we were able to take care of Daron Payne as well. So there were a lot of things that we were able to do — but again — a lot of it was because, when the season was over, we got together, we did our evaluations, and then we mapped out what our 2023-2024 projections are going forward.
Somehow, we ended up with three poll questions this week. That wasn’t intentional. There’s really no reason to answer the 3rd question about Dan Snyder again; we all know that result already.
The first question, which you should answer, asks about your confidence that Washington’s decision-makers will do a good job in managing the draft this week.
The second question, which I also hope you will answer, invites you to identify the greatest concern, if any, that you have with the Commanders decision makers.
Feel free to register your vote on Dan Snyder again if the spirit moves you, though I don’t plan to re-publish those results.
As is often true, some readers will feel that the poll should allow for prioritization or that obvious answers were not included in the poll. That’s what the comments are for — add all the nuance you’d like by detailing your thoughts in the comments section; I rely heavily on those comments when I write the results article, which will be published in the coming few days.