The NFL Draft is less than a week away. In six days from now, we’ll know what the Washington Commanders did with their first-round pick.
For some fans, it’ll mark a profound sigh of relief given all the different rumors that have surfaced during the pre-draft process. Others, however, will be chewing their finger nails until the card is submitted and Roger Goodell reveals the pick.
What’s made the build-up so nerve-wracking for fans is that the team’s foremost decision-makers haven’t revealed their hand. During the last few weeks and months, the Commanders have met with (private or otherwise) a cavalcade of prospects whom they could justify drafting with the No. 11 overall pick.
In a vacuum, it seems like Chris Olave, Kyle Hamilton, Garrett Wilson and Drake London are the most probable picks for Washington. It’s truly anyone’s guess, but Ron Rivera might have cleared some of the dust in a recent interview.
While breaking down the draft with former Washington tight end Logan Paulsen, Rivera showed a clear affection for two touted receivers.
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera raved about two potential first-round picks during a recent interview.
The kicker? Both receivers went to the same school.
"“Little bit of a hint. but the Ohio State receivers, you watch those guys against DBs and you go, ‘Wow. This guy’s sticking with this guy or this guy’s sticking with this guy. That’s impressive.’ So those are some of the things I try to do,” Rivera said."
This could obviously mean nothing and Rivera clearly knows better than to spoil Washington’s draft plans just days before the event so don’t go photoshopping Wilson and Olave’s into the Commanders’ new uniform set.
It’s not insignificant, however. After all, Rivera was asked to describe one of his favorite procedures in regard to grading prospects. The third-year head coach noted he pays close attention to when two college stars go up against each other. In this case, a first-round receiver versus a first-round cornerback.
The fact Rivera referenced Wilson and Olave’s ability to win those matchups for the Buckeyes speaks volumes. Rivera could have mentioned Kyle Hamilton squaring up another touted Big Ten receiver or running back.
Rivera could have mentioned Drake London doing his best Randy Moss impression against one of Pac-12’s best CBs. He could have mentioned Jameson Williams leaving a LSU or Auburn cornerback in the dust on a go route. But he didn’t.
Also consider Rivera’s presence at Ohio State’s pro day and the Commanders hosted both receivers on pre-draft visits to Ashburn. At the pro day, Rivera was spotted getting in a private conversation with Olave and Wilson marked one of the club’s final visits before Wednesday’s deadline. Both of those are big deals.
Taking all of this into account, it’s hard not to view Wilson and Olave (if they’re available) as the favorites to get picked No. 11 by Washington.
Or is Rivera just creating a pre-draft smokescreen?