Who are the Commanders’ boom or bust candidates for the 2022 season?
By Jonathan Eig
Boom – Daniel Wise, DT
When Washington signed Wise early in 2021, I had to do a bit of a crash course. I had not seen him play at Kansas. I sat down for a few hours and watched highlights of Wise and Gabe Wright – the other interior lineman they had recently picked up. Wright looked more the part. He was bigger and seemed better suited to play in the middle in the NFL. But there was something about Wise that stood out.
He never looked overpowering, but he kept finding ways to penetrate into the backfield. He often snaked through guards and centers to stop ball carriers behind the line. He did it often enough that you had to conclude he had a knack for this. His combination of quickness, burst, and IQ overcame what might be perceived as physical limitation. Maybe he wasn’t John Randle, but the fact that watching him made me at least think of the Hall of Famer – that said something.
Back then, I included Wise in my “Darkhorses to Make the Team” list. Now he has made it. This pre-season, he looks a little bit bigger to me. He is generating some interior pass rush, and he is still penetrating on running plays.
A lot of us were concerned when the Commanders lost both Tim Settle and Matt Ioannidis this off-season. But with rookie Phil Mathis looking like the real deal, and with Wise continuing to make plays, I am not the least bit worried about the interior of the defensive line.