Free agency has been all the rage for the past week, and understandably so. The NFL offseason is a never-ending news cycle, which is one of the many reasons why it sits atop the popularity pecking order in terms of American sports.
While free agency is still in full-swing, the NFL Draft is quietly creeping closer. As of this writing, draft night is just over a month away. For the Washington Commanders, that means the window is closing on what to do with the No. 11 overall pick.
Will they send shockwaves around the NFL and draft a quarterback even after trading for Carson Wentz and Ron Rivera expressed confidence in the 29-year-old as the long-term answer under center? Maybe a receiver? A defensive back?
Nobody knows, and that’s part of the intrigue.
What we do know, though, is that the Commanders will be well-represented at the respective pro days of this year’s top QB prospects. On Monday, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett will get the ball rolling and reports indicate Washington will have seven reps present to watch the coveted 23-year-old.
According to Ben Standig of The Athletic, the list includes Scott Turner, Jack Del Rio, Marty Hurney, Ken Zampese and Tim Gribble.
The Commanders will be well-represented at the pro days of this year’s top quarterback prospects this week.
Unlike Pickett’s NFL Combine, the former Panthers’ pro day got off to a positive start. If you remember, Pickett became subject to criticism after his hands measured in as one of the smallest in recent memory. At his pro day, though, Pickett’s hand size checked in bigger than what they did in Indianapolis.
It appears those pre-Combine hand exercises worked (albeit a couple weeks too late) because Pickett’s grew from 8.5 inches to 8 and 5/8 inches. A whole 1/8 inches bigger than what his Combine measurement produced. Still historically small in comparison to the ideal size for NFL QBs, but bigger nonetheless.
Additionally, the Commanders will have reps present at Malik Willis’ pro day, which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22. Given how much Rivera raved about Willis at the Combine, you can expect seven (if not more) reps in attendance.
If Willis is still on the board by the 11th pick, his upside might be too enticing for Washington to pass up. If he isn’t, the front office could pivot to Pickett or maybe even holding off until the second-round to draft a QB.
That brings us to the next group of QBs in the 2022 class.
Per JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, the Commanders will make a concerted effort to have representation for Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder, whose showcases fall on Wednesday (March 23) and Thursday (March 24), respectively.
With so much travel required in what is a ridiculously condensed scheduled, the Commanders might have to split up their traveling party to get to Corral and Ridder. While it’s clutch that Ole Miss and Cincinnati’s pro days fall on different days, traveling around the country for four straight days is a tall ask.
We’re hopeful they’re able to make it work, but make no mistake: Pickett and Willis are the big takeaways here. Based on Washington’s expected representation for Pitt and Liberty, they likely haven’t ruled out drafting a QB in Round 1.