4 draft pick re-dos that could’ve changed Commanders’ entire recent history
By Jerry Trotta
3. Cooper Kupp over Ryan Anderson (2017)
The Commanders hit a home run with their first-round pick in 2017 by drafting defensive tackle Jonathan Allen out of Alabama. You may know him. He’s since established himself as a face of the franchise, is fresh off his first Pro Bowl nod and inked a four-year, $72 million extension last offseason.
With their second-round pick, Washington double dipped in the Alabama pool in the form of outside linebacker Ryan Anderson. To say that strategy blew up in their face would be an understatement, as Anderson made just four starts over his four seasons in Ashburn and never played more than 50% of the snaps.
A cavalcade of prospects who’ve since become respectable NFL players were taken after Anderson, including Alvin Kamara, Taylor Moton, Dion Dawkins, Chidobe Awuzie and Dalvin Tomlinson.
While Kamara is the biggest name there and the 2017 Washington squad’s leading rusher was Samaje Perine with 603 yards, running backs don’t impact winning enough. That leads us to Cooper Kupp, who was taken 20 picks after Anderson.
In fairness to Washington, 30 other teams deserve flak for passing on Kupp, who won the elusive receiving triple crown in 2021 with 145 receptions, 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. To put those numbers into perspective, the next-closest receivers had 22 fewer catches and 331 fewer yards than Kupp.
Yes, Kupp has had the luxury of catching passes from two No. 1 overall picks in Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford, whereas Washington has cycled through countless subpar QBs, but we’re not about to diminish Kupp’s excellence.
The bottom line is Anderson was a bust and Washington could’ve drafted any one of Kamara, Moton, Dawkins and Awuzie. The fact a superstar in Kupp was still on the board, though, makes the pick look so much worse.