The Washington Commanders have a ton at stake in the upcoming draft.
After over-drafting Jamin Davis by a full round (at least) at No. 19 overall and getting mixed results from the rest of their picks last year with John Bates being the only exception, the pressure facing the front office is almost tangible.
With the No. 11 overall pick, the Commanders are in an excellent position to nab a franchise cornerstone-type player.
As presently constructed, Washington is probably a fringe playoff team in a NFC conference that lost a cavalcade of elite talent. With a strong showing in the draft, they could be a dark horse candidate to take home the NFC East crown.
At the very least, we’d be looking at a playoff team. So there’s a lot riding on the success, or lack thereof, of this draft. With that in mind, let’s dive into a potential best- and worse-case scenario for the Commanders on Thursday night.
Best-case scenario for Commanders in 2022 NFL Draft
The best-case scenario for Washington is two-pronged.
The first involves the Commanders staying put at pick No. 11 and taking the highest receiver on their big board, whether it be Garrett Wilson (if he’s there), Drake London, Chris Olave or Jameson Williams.
With the position skyrocketing in value this offseason following Christian Kirk’s contract with the Jaguars and Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill each resetting the market, Washington will be forced to entertain trade proposals for Terry McLaurin.
Nobody wants that, obviously, but if the front office was presented with a grandfather offer starting with a first-round pick, they’d have to consider it. Even if the plan is to extend McLaurin, Washington should still go WR in Round 1.
It’d simply be reckless to trust that Curtis Samuel will be available for a full season after he played less than 100 snaps last year. Behind him, you have Dyami Brown, who’s another wild card given receivers who don’t pop as rookies don’t generally go on to have great careers, Cam Sims and Dax Mine.
Those options don’t inspire much confidence.
The true best-case scenario for the Commanders, though, would see them trade back a few picks and still be able to take one of the big-name receivers. Assuming Wilson and London are gone, moving down to grab Olave, a player they like’y would’ve taken at pick No. 11, would be an absolute heist on the front office’s part.
There’s always teams looking to move up in the draft, so Washington better be making some calls leading up to or on Thursday night.