NFL Draft expert makes perfect pick for Commanders in new mock

The Washington Commanders are fighting for a playoff spot, but college football just wrapped Championship Weekend. Soon enough, bowl games will be in full-swing, and the expanded College Football Playoff will have fans’ full attention.

The Playoff is a great time for draft prognosticators to evaluate top-tier prospects. While some players opt to sit out of these games, others can solidify and improve their stock by showing out against some of the nation’s elite players on college football’s biggest stage.

The draft conversation surrounding Washington has taken an interesting turn following their scalding 6-1 stretch. Once headed for a top-10 pick, the Commanders now seem poised to draft in the late teens or early 20s.

If the season ended before Week 13, Washington would own No. 20 overall pick. That likely puts them out of contention for one of the draft’s top corners, including Georgia standout Kelee Ringo and Penn State phenom Joey Porter Jr.

We’d all agree offensive linemen should be the next course of action, right?

With that in mind, Commanders fans will love that draft expert Dane Brugler of The Athletic has Washington taking Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones with the No. 20 pick in his initial 2023 mock draft.

The Athletic’s new mock draft has the Commanders taking Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones in Round 1.

For what it’s worth, Brugler had four cornerbacks go before pick No. 20, including Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez (No. 9 overall), Ringo (No. 12), Porter Jr. (No. 13), and South Carolina’s Cam Smith (No. 19, one pick before Washington).

While a tough pill to swallow, Jones is a fantastic consolation prize. With holes at both guard positions, the Commanders’ fastest avenue to building a stable offensive line would be kicking Cosmi to right guard, where he started in Week 13, and have Jones “compete” for the RT job during the offseason program.

In 399 pass-blocking snaps this season, Jones owns a 83.0 pass-blocking grade, per Pro Football Focus. He’s allowed just nine pressures and eight hurries to go with one quarterback hit and zero sacks. Not bad for a left tackle who’s tasked with blocking the best pass rushers in the country in the SEC.

Jones hasn’t been as dominant in the run game, but his 74.8 run-blocking grade is nothing to sneeze at.

The young OL is work-in progress from a technical standpoint, and his hand placement can be wonky, but he’s a former five-star recruit who’s 6-4 and 310 pounds and hails from a Georgia program that churns out NFL offensive linemen.

Some scouts view Jones as a guard-long-term, but Brugler is as plugged in as they come and he believes the Bulldog has franchise left tackle potential. We could be looking at a plug-and-play prospect at RT who could potentially be the long-term successor to Charles Leno, who’s contract runs out after 2024.

A CB might be most fans’ first choices for the 2023 draft, but offensive line is arguably the bigger need, and Jones would be a great get late in Round 1.