Commanders 2022 Season Preview – Running Backs
The Washington Commanders will enter late spring/early summer with a roster that is still taking shape, but additional players could be added in free agency. While any additions will be few and far between, the offseason could bring one or two surprises before training camp later this summer.
Over the last two decades, the running back position has lost its luster as teams have gravitated toward receivers. It is a passing league, but having a solid running back corps is still a recipe for success in today’s NFL. The Washington Commanders coaches certainly believe in the position and have allocated a fair number of resources with two third round selections over the last three years. While some analysts and fans were surprised to see Washington selecting a running back in the third round a few weeks ago, it should be noted that the position has always been a priority for Ron Rivera. One unit that is set for this season would be the running backs and the front office reinforced the position with one of the best prospects in the 2022 draft.
Welcome to the second installment in our summer series that examines each position and what to expect in 2022. As we take the Riggo’s Rag microscope out today and have a detailed look at the running backs, please note that we are expecting major changes at this position for this season and beyond. Let’s jump right in!
On the second day of the NFL Draft, the Washington Commanders added a couple of Alabama players – defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis and Robinson. The front office wanted starter Antonio Gibson to have a backfield partner to help carry the load. Brian Robinson was widely considered to be the third best running back in the draft and selecting him late in the third round provided solid value.
This is the prediction from yours truly. Robinson will open the season as the starter at running back and this will allow Gibson to actually be more effective as a reserve/change of pace player.
Stat Prediction: 164 carries for 738 yards, 6 touchdowns. 32 receptions for 317 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Yes, we are placing Antonio Gibson as RB2 in this system, but he is likely to continue having a major impact for the Washington Commanders in 2022 and beyond. He could return to a similar role that propelled him to super-stardom in college for the Memphis Tigers.
Stat Prediction: 104 carries for 482 yards, 3 touchdowns. 36 receptions for 388 yards, 4 touchdowns.
J.D. McKissic nearly signed with Buffalo earlier in the offseason, but he resisted their overtures and returned to the Burgundy and Gold for several additional seasons. He will continue to serve as a third down/receiving back this season, but look for him to have a reduced role for this season and the future.
Stat Prediction: 18 carries for 91 yards, 0 touchdowns. 31 receptions for 286 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Late in the 2020 season, Jonathan Williams was able to impress coaches, analysts, and fans with multiple bursts for key first downs and major yardage. He will play an expanded role if Robinson or Gibson face injuries.
Yes, this spells doom for Jaret Patterson, but Williams is clearly up to the task of filling in when called upon.
Stat Prediction: 16 carries for 76 yards, no touchdowns. Zero receptions.
The omission of Jaret Patterson from this depth chart should not come as a surprise. The emergence of Williams will force Patterson to the practice squad this season and the team can protect the pint-sized back from being poached by another team – if they are so inclined to do so.
While Patterson’s role this season is very tenuous, the four aforementioned running backs are locks to be on the roster of 53 in our estimation. The talent and depth of the running back corps are the best it has been since the days of Clinton Portis and Mike Sellers. Look for a solid season from this unit.
The series continues and we shift to the wide receivers and tight ends in the coming days. See you as we go along.