Washington Commanders Post-Free Agency Mock Draft
Washington trades down to the latter portion of the fourth round and gain fifth, sixth, and seventh round picks in the process. Washington didn’t have a fifth round pick in this draft after maneuvering in the 2021 draft to select long snapper Camaron Cheeseman. With this trade, the Commanders are able to regain a fifth rounder and two additional selections.
John Ridgeway, Defensive Tackle, Arkansas – 6-5, 320
For four years, John Ridgeway toiled in relative obscurity for the Redbirds of Illinois State and transferred to Arkansas as a redshirt senior. He has the unique distinction of playing two seasons in just one calendar year. The pandemic forced Illinois State to postpone its 2020 season to the winter and spring of 2021. A few weeks later, Ridgeway transferred to Arkansas and played for the Razorbacks last fall.
This “Redbird Razorback” was a starter on the offensive and defensive lines in high school and garnered all-state honors. He was also the state champion wrestler in the highest weight category in his senior season. Ridgeway took these athletic skills to Illinois State (just a few miles from his home) and became an FCS All-American in his first season. He continued to put up solid numbers at ISU and took those skills to Fayetteville. He started eleven games for Arkansas and became a dependable force in the middle for one of the better defenses in the SEC. Ridgeway should be able to carve out a good career in the NFL as a backup and part time starter. With the recent release of Matt Ioannidis, Ridgeway should be able to take on the same duties from day one.
Other Possible Selections
- Tyler Allgeier, Running Back, BYU
- Sterling Weatherford, Strong Safety/Linebacker/ST, Miami, OH
- Thayer Munford, Offensive Guard, Ohio State
- Jake Ferguson, Tight End, Wisconsin
- Chris Paul, Offensive Guard, Tulsa
The Washington Commanders are able to snag a fifth round selection after a trade in the previous round and find themselves with some solid prospects thus far, but they want more. The paucity of prospects after the fourth round typically challenges front offices to find players that have slipped for various reasons. They are forced to find hidden gems, players with potential, or some with unsavory characteristics in the final rounds. It’s not easy and the challenges are difficult. The Commanders choose to add a rising prospect and a model citizen.
Kerby Joseph, Free Safety, Illinois – 6-1, 200
A few years ago, the Washington Commanders chose to build their defense line into one of the best in the NFL. The strategy centered on early round selections for several years and it has been successful. The time has come to continue a similar trend for the defensive secondary – albeit, in the later rounds. Last year, the front office used a fifth rounder on free safety Darrick Forrest. The previous year, it was strong safety Kam Curl in the seventh round.
After re-signing Bobby McCain to a new two-year deal shortly after the opening of free agency, it is time to continue a strategy of stacking the safety corps. Kerby Joseph is the latest prospect that could fill the role of depth at the free safety position and help to mitigate the loss of Deshazor Everett. Joseph would need to make his mark on special teams and he possesses the physical tools and traits that are needed to do so.
Joseph burst onto the college football scene in 2021 after a stellar campaign and earning first team All-Big Ten honors. PFF rated him as a second team All-American. However, Joseph’s first three years for the Illini were anything but stellar and there was nothing to suggest that he would have a breakout season in 2021. This is not a buyer beware label that we are giving this emerging talent, but scouts and analysts seem to be taking a cautiously optimistic view of Joseph.
Can Kerby Joseph carve out a career in the NFL? Don’t bet against it. For now, he can best be labeled as a solid developmental free safety prospect and should have plenty of success at the next level.
Other Possible Selections
- Otito Ogbonnia, Defensive Tackle, UCLA
- Jelani Woods, Tight End, Virginia
- Jack Sanborn, Middle Linebacker, Wisconsin
- Eric Ezukanma, Wide Receiver, Texas Tech
- Tycen Anderson, Strong Safety/Buffalo Nickel/Linebacker, Toledo