The Washington Commanders have made their first trade in the 2023 NFL Draft. They sent their 5th round pick(#150) and their 6th round comp pick(#215) to the Buffalo Bills for pick #137. They selected Clemson edge rusher KJ Henry. Washington is reportedly declining the 5th-year option for Chase Young, and the other DEs on the roster are all set to hit free agency after this season. Washington was expected to pick up an edge rusher in the draft, and it looks like they identified their guy, and moved up to get him.
The Commanders' newest edge rusher, K.J. Henry, used NIL money to help cover the medical expenses for his father's kidney transplant last year. Pretty incredible story.https://t.co/ooiKkN9Rks— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) April 29, 2023
KJ Henry was drafted with pick 137 of round 5 in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 8.38 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 265 out of 1634 DE from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/LwSA7k8E32 pic.twitter.com/EqeGjqzaBR— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 29, 2023
Highly athletic edge defender with good size. Henry has upfield burst, but he tends to be a face-up rusher and will need to improve his hand usage for more effective corner turns. He can be dynamic when twisting and blitzing as a moveable piece around the defensive front and he does a nice job of setting up a buttery smooth inside rush that is often too quick for tackles. He can dart and disrupt as a one-gapper with his hand in the ground but has more trouble than expected in setting firm edges as a run defender. Henry’s strengths and weaknesses are well-defined, with the upside to become a starter.
Community-oriented team captain with high personal character.
Disruptive snap quickness as run defender.
Plus pursuit burst to tighten the outside run lane.
Ankle flexion allows for tight turns.
Reaches in and targets throwing hand around the rush arc.
Capable of transitioning speed to power in his rush.
Stays low and smooth for electric inside rush counter.
Reads quarterback and frequently bats down the pass.
Upper body stays too square for tackles to punch.
Needs to develop go-to moves to grease outside rush edge.
Ineffective hand fighting at the top of the rush.
Could struggle with NFL edge-setting duties.
Ducks head into first contact.
Can be jostled off his base at point of attack.
Washington Commanders 2023 Draft Picks
1st Round: #16 - Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
2nd Round: #47 - Jartavius Martin, DB, Illinois
3rd Round: #97 (compensatory pick) - Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas
4th Round: #118 - Braeden Daniels, G/T, Utah
5th Round #137 - KJ Henry, EDGE, Clemson
5th Round: #150 Traded to the Bills
6th Round: #193
#215 (compensatory pick) Traded to the Bills
7th Round: #233