The State of the Commanders:
Washington has a new name, look, and quarterback this season. 2021 went off the rails less than a half into the season when QB Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered what would ultimately become a season-ending hip injury, leading to the Taylor Heinicke experience.
While entertaining, finding a quarterback has still been at the top of the to-do list, and after missing out on Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson, the Commanders hope Carson Wentz can fill the void, at least for one season.
The rest of the team is largely intact, but building a more explosive offense and returning to the defensive excellence of 2020 are the keys to success moving forward.
Wilson has the speed, route running, and ballcarrying traits that excite teams, and if he can work on attacking the ball when it’s in the air and improving his ability along the sideline, he will be a strong starter very early in his NFL career.
Wilson would bring a different level of explosively athletic dynamism next to fellow Buckeye alums Curtis Samuel and especially Terry McLaurin, who desperately needs someone to help take some pressure and attention off of him.
Stingley has the man coverage, athleticism, and ball skills to be an NFL defense’s No. 1 cornerback, but his injury history and dip in on-field production since his freshman year are concerns that need to be vetted.
Possibly a best player available scenario with William Jackson and Kendall Fuller already under contract on the outside, if Ron Rivera & Co. can tap back into Stingley’s elite natural abilities, he could be a steal at this point.
London lacks explosive speed and quickness, but his hands, size, basketball-level athleticism, and natural feel for the receiver position should make him an impact player in the NFL at multiple levels of the field.
Teams often talk about building a basketball lineup in their receiving corps. With Curtis Samuel as the gadget weapon out of the slot and Terry McLaurin as the speedy technician, London would be the perfect contested catch, big-bodied complement.
Hamilton is a versatile safety who impacts all three levels of the field and is a rangy playmaker with the cover skills, speed, and athleticism to be an elite-level defender against both the run and pass.
Rumblings of a minor slide from Hamilton after an average Pro Day performance could be ideal for the Commanders. With the departure of Landon Collins and Hamilton’s versatility, he’d easily fit into Washington’s base nickel three-safety rotations.
Pitre is a super twitched-up athlete with very good instincts for when to attack and a skill set that will have him making plays all over the field, but limited deep cover skills likely limit him to exclusively playing near the LOS.
Pitre’s collegiate usage in the slot and box would make for a perfect transition into the Commanders’ “Buffalo Nickel” underneath safety role. His instinctual playmaking would fit very nicely behind Washington’s front four.
Pickens is a big-bodied, big-play threat whose hands, tracking ability and competitiveness will make him a consistent contributor, especially once he learns an NFL route tree and if he becomes more dynamic after the catch.
If the Commanders don’t go receiver in the 1st round, doing so with their only remaining top 100 pick here would be crucial. Pickens’ injury-shortened 2021 could lead to him still being available, and he’d be the long-bodied, athletic high-pointer Washington is lacking.
Hall is a long, quick 3-technique who wins at the snap with a devastating swim move and plus strength, though he needs refinement as a pass rusher in order to be a three-down player.
Washington may look to be proactive on the defensive front with multiple key members approaching free agency soon. Hall would fit well as an athletic one-gapper with pass rush upside, set to possibly take on a larger role in Year 2.
Walker isn’t the most dynamic running back, and his passing game skills will need to be improved if he wants to see an every-down workload, but his vision as a ballcarrier is excellent and should allow him to be a quality starter right away.
Washington has curiously brought in all of the top RBs in this draft for visits. Walker would be the purest running back on the roster, however, with his vision and interior playmaking, allowing for Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic to rotate and see diverse usage in Scott Turner’s offense.
To learn more about the Commanders and their needs, visit their team page on our NFL Draft website here.