There’s something to be said that the majority of the Washington Commanders‘ core was identified in the NFL Draft.
Between Terry McLaurin, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Chase Young and Antonio Gibson, Washington’s front office and scouting department have done a great job adding talent via the draft, which is easier said than done.
Additionally, a number of team’s starters — including Cole Holcomb, Montez Sweat, Kamren Curl, Chase Roullier and Sam Cosmi — were all drafted by Washington. Heck, even Kendall Fuller, who admittedly left in free agency and later re-signed, was selected in the third round back in 2016.
With that said, we all know the draft is a crap shoot. For every home run selection, there’s a bust or dud who had massive hype coming out of college and failed to live up to those expectations for whatever reason.
Like every team, the Commanders have had their fair share of draft miscues over the years. From Dwayne Haskins, Bryce Love and Su’a Cravens, some of the club’s selections are no longer in the league.
So, with the 2022 Draft supplanting free agency as the most-discussed offseason storyline, let’s highlight four draft pick re-dos that could’ve changed Washington’s entire recent history.
Please don’t take this exercise too seriously. We understand hindsight is 2020 and you can’t change history. We’re merely taking a stroll down memory lane to see what could have been. Without further ado …
4 draft pick re-dos the Commanders wish they could make
4. Michael Thomas over Josh Doctson (2016)
While the 2016 draft has produced a slew of superstars, the first-round returns were wildly inconsistent. For every Jalen Ramsey, you had a Vernon Hargreaves and Eli Apple. For every Leonard Floyd, you had a Darron Lee and for every Joey Bosa there was a Shaq Lawson.
From Washington’s perspective, they got sucked into drafting a receiver — TCU’s Josh Doctson — with the No. 22 overall pick. The former Horned Frog is one of the poster children of what was a hugely disappointing 2016 WR class that featured fellow first-round busts Corey Coleman and Laquon Treadwell.
In terms of identifying a like-for-like replacement for Doctson, who never topped 45 catches or 535 receiving yards over his three years in Ashburn, Saints phenom Michael Thomas, taken No. 47 overall, springs to mind.
There’s also the underrated Tyler Boyd, who’s been overshadowed by Ja’Marr Chase in Cincinnati, but Thomas has to take the cake.
While a lingering ankle issue cost the Saints phenom the entirety of last season and all but seven games of the 2020 campaign, we’re still talking about one of the most dominant possession receivers the NFL has to offer.
From 2016 to 2019, the two-time All-Pro averaged a ridiculous 126 receptions for 1,458 yard and 7.6 touchdowns.
Simply put, Thomas would’ve carried a Washington receiving corps that was led by a rotation of Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson and DeSean Jackson from 2015-2019 before Terry McLaurin arrived in 2019. Instead, the front office viewed Doctson as the ultimate elixir.
Oh, to be able to go back in time.