Commanders 2023 Mock Draft 7.0: Christian Gonzalez fills hole in secondary

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The Washington Commanders have seen their seasonal fortunes bounce back and forth at various points in the 2022 season.  It is also affecting what the team may do during the upcoming offseason.

What will happen in the coming weeks?  Will the Washington Commanders punch their ticket to the playoffs with any momentum going forward?  Will the Burgundy and Gold fall short in their quest for a wild card playoff berth?  So many questions will be answered over the next two weeks, including the question that centers on when the offseason will officially kick off.

We do know that the 2023 offseason is just around the corner.  It’s obvious when you look at the 2022 calendar that is plastered to your refrigerator door.  The Commanders are facing some very tough decisions during the offseason including the search for a franchise quarterback, the rebuilding of their offensive line, finding a shutdown cornerback, adding a reliable inside linebacker, and uncovering a franchise tight end.

A few of these needs will be filled via free agency and several players will be added in the 2023 NFL Draft.  Can the Commanders fill all of these needs in the coming weeks and months?  Welcome to Mock 7.0 as we close out the final week of 2022.

Our mock drafts since late fall have focused on many of these positions and today you will see more of the same.  However, we will feature another paradigm shift – not that it is fashionable to do so, but it is advantageous for the team to explore each need in-depth and find the best prospects possible.

Our mock draft today will feature trades and some surprises.  Buckle in and let’s close out 2022 with a blockbuster mock draft!

BOULDER, CO – NOVEMBER 5: Defensive back Christian Gonzalez #0 of the Oregon Ducks returns an interception in the third quarter of a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 5, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Round One

***Trade***

The Commanders trade down a few positions in the first round and they are able to acquire a third-round selection and a conditional 2024 seventh-round draft pick.

Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback, Oregon

After spending his first two years as a starter for Colorado, Christian Gonzalez transferred and took his elite cornerback skills to Oregon for one more season.  Gonzalez recently declared for the 2023 draft.  He comes from an athletic family – two sisters are world-class sprinters (an Olympian and an NCAA record holder) while his father was a basketball star at UTEP.

At 6-2, 200, Gonzalez has the superior size that scouts look for in the modern NFL.  He is typically matched with the number one receiver on the boundary and near the perimeter.  His speed allows him to shine in press coverage or in any zone defense.  Gonzalez is a solid tackler and is very instinctive.  He has lockdown potential and arguably the top cornerback prospect in the 2023 draft.  A starter from day one.

Round Two

Darnell Wright, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee

Darnell Wright stands 6-6 and weighs in at 335 pounds – great size for a tackle at the next level.  He was a starter at right tackle for his first two seasons with the Volunteers and switched to left tackle in 2021 out of necessity.  In 2022, Wright returned to his familiar right tackle position and continued to play at a high level.  The four-year starter is a late second-round or early third-round prospect, but taking him a bit early at this juncture of the second round makes a lot of sense for the Commanders.

Drafting a right tackle will allow Sam Cosmi to slide over to right guard – a better fit for the former Longhorn standout.  Wright is a powerhouse in the rushing offense and he is a force in pass protection.  When Charles Leno moves on or retires, Wright could slide over to the left tackle slot.

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