2023 Mock Draft 4.0: Commanders solidify secondary with Big Ten star

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The Washington Commanders are in the middle of a playoff race this season and while the offseason is still many weeks away, scouts and front office personnel do have a focus on the 2023 offseason.

The Washington Commanders are continuing to fight for a playoff slot this season and fans are primarily thinking about the next game.  The upcoming offseason is certainly drawing the attention of analysts as the weather gets colder and before we know it, the topics of football conversations will center on free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft.  Each offseason provides the Burgundy and Gold with numerous opportunities to upgrade the roster and jettison players with bloated contracts, talent deficiencies, long-term injuries, and aging bodies.  Can the Commanders front office fill most of their needs with the 2023 draft?

It’s the fourth installment of our 2022 in-season mock draft and we have plenty of changes to talk about today.  Mock 4.0 will feature several new players and two trades, including a special trade in the first round.  With their loss on Sunday to the Vikings, the Commanders are still looking at a mid-round pick in the first round.  We are going to add a twist to the trades today and give you a surprise here and there.  However, keep in mind that this is not a casual game.  It is a tool that analysts use to inform fans of the Commanders of potential prospects for the team in future years.  Let’s take a look.

Commanders 2023 Mock Draft 4.0

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Round One

Joey Porter, Cornerback, Penn State

The Commanders moved on from free agent bust William Jackson just prior to the trade deadline last week as expected.  The low-round trade needed to happen and the team moved on from him.  Washington is actually better off without Jackson – he never fit into Jack Del Rio’s defensive scheme.  However, there will continue to be a major need for a very talented shutdown cornerback in 2023.

2021 third round draft pick Benjamin St-Juste is quickly becoming a solid cornerback for the Commanders and his ascension has been a major factor in the success of the defensive unit in recent weeks.  Also, Kendall Fuller seems to be putting his shaky early season failures behind him, but the veteran is still over-matched at times.  Depth is a major concern as well and all of this collectively points to a team in need of a young lockdown cornerback.

Joey Porter of the Penn State Nittany Lions could be that player the team seeks in 2023.  After selecting Penn State’s star wide receiver (Jahan Dotson) in the first round in the 2022 draft, it is time to consider another star from State College in the 2023 first round.  We had plenty of nice things to say about Porter two weeks ago and everything still applies.  He checks all of the boxes that Washington needs in a cornerback.

***Trade***

The Washington Commanders trade their 2023 second rounder and a 2024 first round draft choice and move back into the middle-late portion of the first round.

Hendon Hooker, Quarterback, Tennessee

When Tennessee traveled to Georgia last Saturday, Hooker and the Volunteers ran into a brick wall that is known as the Bulldogs defense – Smoky had no chance against UGA.  Honestly, many teams haven’t had a chance against Georgia’s defense over the last two years.  The Red Clay Hounds are the best of the best at this time and the Vols gave it all it had in Athens.  Tennessee is still one of the best teams in the nation and they continue to be in the College Football Playoff picture.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker is one of the main reasons the Volunteers are so good this year.  He is likely a second round prospect at this time, but quarterbacks tend to come with a premium price and the Commanders certainly have the need here.  The Carson Wentz experiment is probably over and while he didn’t have a fair chance, this is the reality for signal callers in the NFL.  Taylor Heinicke is strictly a backup and he could be with another team in 2023.  Hooker will need some time to develop and could be ready by 2024.

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