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Ken’s Final Washington Commanders 2023 Mock Draft: Trades and Surprises

A final seven round mock round draft takes a look at prospects who could contribute to the Commanders

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Tennessee at Missouri Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Draft is at our front doorstep. Months of analysis, prospect profiles, and mock drafts are coming to a dramatic climax with the selection and addition of actual players to the rosters of teams across the league. The Washington Commanders front office has their draft board finalized and it is time to add more players to the 2023 roster.

In today’s mock draft, we will feature two trades and there could be some surprises as well. Team needs heading into the draft include offensive line, cornerback, and overall depth. Let’s get started.

In-Draft Trade: The Washington Commanders are offered a trade with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings send their 2023 third-round and fifth-round selections and move to the 16th overall position and they select Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker. Washington now has the 23rd overall pick in the first round. This is the chart that is considered for these trades.

Round One, Pick #23

Darnell Wright, Tennessee

Offensive Tackle | 6’5”, 330 lbs

In recent weeks, many in the NFL media and various football analysts have been saying that right tackle is just as important as left tackle now. It’s not fully true, but the two positions are almost as equally important to an offense than ever before. Tennessee right tackle Darnell Wright is a plug-and-play lineman who will have an immediate impact.

Via Wright’s profile:

Darnell Wright from Huntington High School was rated a 5-star recruit by ESPN and handed a 5-star grade by 247 Sports. Following high school, Wright opted to join Tennessee after receiving offers from Alabama, Georgia, and LSU.

In 2022 as a senior Wright saw action in 12 games and played a total of 829 snaps for the Volunteers. He allowed a solid 5 QB hurries, 2 QB hits, and no sacks while playing at right tackle.

Tape/games to watch:

Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Alabama

Round Two, Pick #47

Sam LaPorta, Iowa

Tight End | 6’4”, 249 lbs

New Assistant HC/OC Eric Bieniemy has several solid skill players waiting for him at Commanders Park, but more are needed. Tight end may not seem like a true concern for Washington, but there are still some question marks at the position and Sam LaPorta could quickly fill many of those needs.

Via his profile:

For the past two seasons, LaPorta led the Hawkeyes in receiving yards with nearly double the production of the No. 2 target. For an offense that has struggled to create big plays and consistently keep the chains moving, LaPorta was a trusted target that provided the unit with a bright spot. The Hawkeyes deploy LaPorta as a traditional in-line player, but he also receives opportunities to work from the slot. LaPorta is a sound route-runner that is crisp through his breaks with experience running routes to all levels of the field.

Tape/games to watch:

Minnesota, Rutgers, Purdue

Round Three, Pick #87 (via trade)

Jartavius Martin, Illinois

Cornerback/Free Safety | 5’11”, 195 lbs

The Commanders need a quality starter at the slot/nickel cornerback position and Jartavius Martin would be an absolute stud in that role.

Via his profile:

Versatile cornerback/safety prospect with the size and physical talent to play nickel back or align as a deep safety. A buttery smooth hip swivel allows him to glide and transition effectively from his pedal, but he has just average route recognition to stay connected to clever route runners. Martin’s speed and explosiveness at the NFL Scouting Combine was eye-catching, but he needs to play consistently to that speed on the field. A team will need to decide where to play him, but he has the potential to become an early contributor and a starter further down the road.

Tape/games to watch:

Minnesota, Indiana, Northwestern

Round Three, Pick #97 (Compensatory)

Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh

Running Back | 5’10”, 215

Speaking of offensive weapons for Bieniemy, Israel Abanikanda would be a great draft selection at this juncture. Adding a complementary running back is something that the front office in Ashburn has hinted at this offseason. A running back room consisting of Brian Robinson, Antonio Gibson, Abanikanda, and Jonathan Williams would clearly be one of the best in the NFL.

Via his profile:

A zone-scheme runner with early down size, Abanikanda can be a bit inconsistent with his reads and tempo early in the run. However, he has plant-and-go agility and is able to snap off cuts at tight angles to elude short-area traffic when needed. He has terrific top-end speed to gash a poorly fitted run front, but he needs to run with better discipline and downhill decisiveness to stay ahead of NFL speed. Abanikanda isn’t much of a third down option, but he does have the size and talent to compete for a RB2/3 slot early on with a chance to move up the depth chart in time.

Tape/games to watch:

Duke, Virginia. Virginia Tech

Round Four, Pick #118

Marte Mapu, Sacramento State

Linebacker/Hybrid Safety | 6’2.5”, 221 lbs

It’s no secret that the Commanders are looking for a hybrid linebacker/safety as a depth option in the draft and a primary backup to Kamren Curl. Marte Mapu offers that option and so much more – even at middle linebacker.

Via his profile:

Long, rangy, and physical are all the key adjectives to describe Mapu’s game. Serving a plethora of roles for the Sacramento State Hornets, Mapu’s physical traits were used to their fullest extent, lining up primarily as a nickel safety but also consistently making appearances as a stack backer, force player, and even as a single high safety. His athleticism quickly jumps out on film, pairing elite closing speed with innate lower-body fluidity that allows him to be extremely effective in both the pass and run game.

Tape/games to watch:

California-Davis, Colorado State, Montana

In-Draft Trade: The Commanders trade their acquired fifth-round pick from Minnesota and their sixth-round pick to Jacksonville and move up to the latter part of round four.

Round Four, Pick #127

Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan

Center | 6’3”, 310

Olu Oluwatimi checks off one major box for Washington – he played in the Senior Bowl and the Rivera regime places a huge premium on that collegiate all-star game. After transferring to Michigan for his final year of eligibility, the former Virginia standout won the Outland and Rimington trophies in 2022.

Via his profile:

Oluwatimi is a four-year starter and a well-experienced offensive lineman. He plays with high football intelligence and an understanding of angles. Oluwatimi is truly the QB of Michigan’s offensive line. He does a good job of adjusting protections and communicating changes with his fellow lineman. His alertness and spatial awareness help to identify potential blitzing defenders and communicate which defender is his responsibility.

Tape/games to watch:

Purdue, Rutgers, Indiana

Round Five, Pick #150

A.T. Perry, Wake Forest

Wide Receiver | 6’3.5”, 198

You talked us into it – another offensive weapon for Eric Bieniemy! The Commanders are able to find a highly underrated wide receiver in this round and he could have something of an impact in his first season. At the very least, A.T. Perry can be an excellent depth option in the rotation.

Via his profile:

Hugely productive and decorated prospect who has combined for nearly 2400 yds in the last two years and adding 26TDs.

Has the strong hands any NFL wide receiver coach and quarterback would covet. Tracks the deep ball over either shoulder and brings in passes fluidly without breaking stride downfield.

As a senior in 2022 he played 12 games and had 70 catches for 984 yards for an average of 14.1 yards per catch, 11 TDs, and a QB rating when targeted of 108.6.

Tape/games to watch:

Missouri, Florida State, Army

Round Six, Pick #215 (Compensatory)

Tyson Bagent, Shepherd University

Quarterback | 6’3”, 213

The Commanders are very likely to draft a developmental quarterback and the Commanders have been taking a look at a couple of Shepherd’s players like running back Ronnie Brown and offensive tackle Joey Fisher. Don’t be surprised if that was an information-gathering mission for Bagent.

Via his profile:

Highly decorated and highly confident Division II quarterback with adequate NFL size but mechanical issues that need to be cleaned up. Bagent’s footwork can become erratic under pressure and his delivery is reminiscent of a shortstop’s throw to first base at times. He plays with a good feel for his offensive design and a willingness to attack all intermediate pockets of the field regardless of cover scheme. However, the decision-making and arm strength might not be good enough to beat the window-shopping defensive backs of the NFL.

Tape/games to watch:

None, but here is a video to watch and enjoy.

Round Seven, Pick #233

YaYa Diaby, Louisville

Defensive End/Edge | 6’3”, 265

It came as a shock when Commanders’ defensive end/linebacker Shaka Toney was suspended for the entire 2023 season for gambling on 2022 NFL games. His future with the organization is to be determined, but the Burgundy and Gold need another edge rusher for depth and YaYa Diaby could possibly provide such help.

Via his profile:

Diaby’s best reps as a player come when he can use his arm length combined with natural upper body strength to win as a pass rusher. Diaby is a speed-to-power pass rusher whose go-to move is a long-arm that he uses to knock offensive linemen into the pocket to get to the quarterback. Diaby shows to have strong, heavy hands that when he shoots them, the impact is noticeable and it instantly affects the offensive lineman.

Tape/games to watch:

Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Virginia.

The 2022 draft was wild with so many trades and the 2023 draft could bring even more chaos. See you as we go along.