The NFL Draft is officially one week away and the Washington Commanders are hopefully narrowing down their options for the No. 11 pick.
Given the front office reached on Jamin Davis in the first round last year, there’s increased pressure to nail the pick this time around. Like always, there’s a ton of discourse amongst fans about what the team should do.
The way we see it, the only way Washington could fumble the bag in Round 1 is if they go offensive linemen or linebacker. A cornerback would certainly irk some folks given it’s not a glaring need, but nobody would dream of turning their nose up at one of Sauce Gardner, Derek Stingley or Trent McDuffie … right?
Regardless, the closer we get to draft night the more it feels like a receiver or Kyle Hamilton, who’s dropped out of the top 10 in nearly every recent mock draft, will be the Commanders’ pick. In a vacuum, we’d be fine with either outcome.
If you asked the fan base, though, more than 7 out of 10 fans would advocate for Hamilton over the best available receiver.
It’s not a surprising result given numerous analysts have mocked the Notre Dame safety to Washington, but we can’t help but feel like he wouldn’t be the smartest selection for the team. Here’s a few reasons why.
Why the Commanders should second guess drafting Kyle Hamilton with the No. 11 overall pick.
The last thing we want folks to think is that we don’t rate Hamilton, who could seemingly fill the Buffalo nickel role in a pinch as a rookie. As we sit here today, the Commanders have yet to appoint a replacement for Landon Collins, so drafting a versatile prospect to fill the void makes perfect sense, right?
When you paint it like that, yes, it makes sense. But what if I told you if Collins’ replacement could be found in Round 2 or beyond?
While Hamilton is said to be the best box safety in this year’s class, the likes of Daxton Hill (Michigan), Lewis Cine (Georgia), Jaquan Brisker (Penn State), Jalen Pitre (Baylor), Nick Cross (Maryland) and Kerby Joseph (Iliniois) all boast the requisite versatility to fill multiple roles in the defensive backfield.
We just have reservations about drafting a player in Hamilton whom Pro Football Focus said qualifies as a “borderline linebacker prospect at the next level” due to his blend of size, length and physicality. Given the glut of other intriguing safety prospects, we’d much rather the team go receiver in Round 1.
That brings us to our next point. At pick No, 11, the Commanders will have their choice of receivers. In a worse-case scenario, three of Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Drake London and Chris Olave should be available.
Say the Commanders take Hamilton in the first round. That puts added pressure to find a receiver in the second round. At that point in the draft, it’s very possible Jahan Dotson, George Pickens, Christian Watson and Skyy Moore — the consensus next tier of WRs — are all off the board by the time it’s Washington’s turn to pick.
All of a sudden you’re talking about John Metchie III, David Bell (maybe), Justyn Ross, Khalil Shakir, Alec Pierce and Jalen Tolbert as the best-of-the-rest.
While any one of those prospects could become studs, wouldn’t you rather have the sure thing in Wilson, London, Olave or Williams under team control for three seasons with the position’s value skyrocketing this offseason?
That’s our vantage point.
Again, we’d be perfectly happy with Hamilton. We just don’t believe it’s the smartest pick for this version of the Commanders. Not only does Terry McLaurin still lack a proper running mate (and a long-term contract), but a handful of other safeties capable of playing the Buffalo nickel position could fall to pick No. 47.
I just don’t rate the second and third tier of WRs in this year’s draft highly enough to justify passing on one of the surefire studs in the first round. The last thing we want is the Commanders to get caught with their pants down at a position that’s been a weakness for as long as we can remember.
After all, hasn’t the franchise invested enough first-round picks on defensive players in recent years?