John Michael Schmitz, Center, Minnesota
One thing is certain. The Washington Commanders have faced a lot of bad luck at the center position over the last two years. Honestly, it is time to invest in this position and fully fortify it to the maximum. This position is often overlooked by the media and fans, but the coaches know and understand the importance of the position. With talented center Chase Roullier missing many games due to injuries over the last two seasons, the Commanders need to invest in the future at center.
John Michael Schmitz has seen his stock rise this fall and while some scouting services are ranking him as a second-round prospect, he is much more likely to fall to the third round. At 6-4, 320, Schmitz is a force in the middle of the line and could be a day-one starter at the next level. We featured him in an earlier mock this fall.
Tucker Kraft, Tight End, South Dakota State (Compensatory Pick)
Logan Thomas has been plagued with injuries over the last two seasons and, quite frankly, he has regressed in 2022. While there is plenty of promise with John Bates (as a blocker), Armani Rodgers, Curtis Hodges, and Cole Turner, a primary receiving tight end is desperately needed.
Tucker Kraft could be the receiving tight end that the team is seeking. Here is what we said about him in a recent mock draft.
"Tucker Kraft has the size (6-5, 255) that the Rivera regime likes in a tight end. He is a solid receiver and has steadily improved as a blocker in 2022. The Jackrabbits had him playing close to the tackles and in the slot at times. Kraft will need a bit of time to fit in Scott Turner’s offense, but he could begin to have something of an impact in the latter half of his rookie season."
Also, Logan Thomas can be released as a post-June 1st cut and the Commanders could save several million dollars on the 2023 salary cap. He is unlikely to re-capture his 2020 form and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Commanders moving on from the former Hokie standout. Kraft can fill that void.
The Commanders move down in this round and they are able to add a fifth-round selection.
Jalen Graham, Linebacker/Safety, Purdue
All-everything safety Kamren Curl has missed three games this year due to injury. The Commanders suffered two losses in those games and had to fight until the end to win the other contest. In other words, when Curl is out of the lineup for any game, the defense tends to suffer without him. Depth at the position is needed if the team wants to weather the loss of any top talent, especially Curl.
Adding depth to the position is difficult. Curl is something of a hybrid safety and linebacker and finding such a player to provide depth and a rotational option is very difficult. However, a solution could be on the horizon. Jalen Graham combines both of these positions, but he is more of a linebacker. Graham is very comparable to Curl and has a lot of the same attributes – a solid tackler, good in coverage, a run stopper, a pass rusher, and he will snag an occasional interception or recover a fumble. In other words, Graham is a jack of all trades, but a master of none. He is the hybrid reserve and rotational piece that this team needs.