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Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew answer questions about the Washington Commanders 2023 draft

Rivera and Mayhew talk about the draft

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

2023 draft class:

Rivera: “I think the priority kind of showed itself a little bit where you saw we went with the two defensive backs and then the two offensive linemen. Pretty much just kind of sticking to that. That was one of the things that we wanted to continue with in terms of the depth. At cornerback I think we filled a need that we were looking for a playmaker and I think Emmanuel does that for us. With Quan, we got a guy that has the ability to come in and play buffalo nickel as well as free safety and again, adds more depth. On the offensive line, getting Ricky Stromberg and then following that up today with, with Braeden, that was good for us. Again, we continue to add some more depth and guys that have played a lot of football and hopefully that’ll transition into them being the kind of pros that we hope for. And then we finished off with some guys that we felt that would add some more depth to some of the positions we’re looking at.”

Filling needs:

Mayhew: “I think we filled a lot of needs in free agency and today. I think we keep looking, we keep trying to get better. The draft is not a finish line. We’re not done. It’s April, it’s a lot of time before the season starts and we’re gonna keep trying to make our roster better.”

KJ Henry:

Chris Rodriguez Jr:

“Feel very good about what we have with AG [Antonio Gibson] and we continue see the growth and development with B-Rob [Brian Robinson]. I mean, those are two young guys that we like a lot. Adding a physical player in Christopher is a guy that, talking to Eric and what Eric wants to do and how he wants to use him, in Eric’s mind, this is a guy that will fit what he wants. And so we’re pretty excited about being able to pick him. We had a higher grade on him too as well. So we thought we got a lot of value here.”

Braeden Daniels:

Rivera: “Well, I think there’s a guy that comes in that’s gonna have some depth for us on the offensive line position, flex at guard and tackle and playing both tackles as well. We feel good about having what we did there. KJ Henry is a dynamic outside edge player. It’s interesting because the guy that played on the other side, a lot of people watched that guy. I think KJ was overlooked. I really do. The tape that you watch and you repeatedly watch, he’s there making plays and so he’s a guy that we wanted to add. Running back, got another big physical guy, with some of the things that Eric wants to do. This is a guy that Eric was very high on. He’s a guy that Eric thinks will most certainly have a role for us on the offensive side. Andre Jones is just an explosive player. We’ve gotta find a role for him and, and in talking with Jack and seeing, how positive our defensive coaches were about his potential as a play maker. So this is gonna be about a role and a fit as far as how we use him.”

Rivera: “Well, he’ll compete in it. Both Chris [Paul] and Saahdiq [Charles] are gonna get a great opportunity to show us what they’re capable of. Would Braden have an opportunity? Yeah, but you know, we’re gonna see where he fits as far as tackle is concerned. And then we’ll take a look at the guard stuff, but tackle is something that we really like. A lot of athleticism there. Very raw talent. Listening to Travelle, one of the things Travelle felt is that this is a young man, if we can get his footwork straight, we think he has a chance to, to be a contributor.”

Andre Jones:

Mayhew: “Yeah, well for me, the age comes into play obviously, but for a lot of these guys, it is really how much football they’ve played. This guy has a lot of upside, a lot of developmental potential despite his age. So we’re looking forward to working with him. I mean, he’s got a lot of athleticism. He’s got a great first step, he’s got a lot of traits that you want. And he has some tools and our coaches can develop those tools.”


Mayhew: “Yeah, well, I mean, trades were a rollercoaster. I mean, I’m really excited to be able to make that trade. But then we lost out on some really disappointing, I wish I was more aggressive in a couple situations but it was an up and down thing with the trades. We felt confident that was something that we had talked about earlier. Obviously, the, GM in Buffalo has a relationship with our staff. We have tuned into that pretty much really the round before that we talked about that trade. So it worked out. It went pretty smooth. We were really glad to have him.”

Mayhew: “Yeah, we talked to teams throughout the process. We did a lot of talking about trades over the last couple days. There were several that we almost made today and they didn’t come together for various reasons. And sometimes you call a team has a guy already lined up or they’ve got a trade already lined up, so you just start calling, try to make it happen. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. So, it’s a very fluid process and we just missed out on a couple. I’m really happy with the guys that we ended up getting though. And a lot of times the trade you didn’t make is the one youre glad you didn’t make. We end up getting one of these guys that ends up being a real difference maker for us we’ll be glad that we have ‘em.”

If he wishes he traded up or down:

Mayhew: “A little bit of both. There were some both ways, like I said, I’m on the phone as coach can tell you, I’m on the phone, I’m talking, I’m texting, I’m calling people throughout. Sometimes we’re trying to go up, sometimes we we’re open to moving back or trying to move back.”

Draft pick values:

Mayhew: “It’s very muddy. It’s very muddy. Some people are still using Jimmy Johnson. Some people have other trade charts. We have two, we have two different ones that we end up using. When I was in San Francisco, we had two charts there too. So, it is about what feels right. It’s about what feels good to you and what you’re happy with, what you can be happy with and the chart is really more to sort of measure to make sure you’re not overstepping value-wise or under offering and insulting somebody.”

Ricky Stromberg:

Eric Bieniemy’s involvement in his first draft with Washington:

Rivera: “Well, I think it’s funny because, I remember being a coordinator and you always want and sometimes when you don’t get what you want, it’s hard to in terms of, I’d love to have that guy. But you know, and you see him go in front of you and then you just know, oh, because then if your guy goes that we go to the next guy and that next guy just happened to be a defensive guy, well, you lose out.

But he was involved, he was engaged. Every time there was an opportunity to discuss, he’d come in, we’d talk about it and we’d show him, Hey, this is a stack. There he is right there. We’ll see what happens. And sometimes, you know, his guy was there and we are able to get him. We got C Ricky Stromberg and Ricky was a guy that we’re thrilled, just a guy that came in and had a really good visit. In fact, he spent a lot of time, as I said, with Martin, but he else spent a lot of time with EB and EB was very positive about that.

Braeden a guy that we were looking at, a guy that we felt there was a need for especially at tackle. And that was another conversation we had. And then with the running back, he came in, he was emphatic about it. He said, Hey, here’s a guy that we all had good grades on. He’s sticking out like a sore thumb. That’s an opportunity and maybe some people only view him as a first and second down back and initially that’s kind of how we talked about it. But when you listen to him talk about coaching him up to become a potential third down guy, you get excited for Martin’s vision. So that’s one of the things too that he does very well. He explains himself and explains what he’s looking for.”

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