Molding the perfect Commanders NFL Draft strategy in 2023

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera /
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(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Patrick Mahomes and Roger Goodell /

Commanders should examine the Chiefs blueprint

Before we begin, a disclaimer. The Kansas City Chiefs have the best quarterback in football – on a trajectory to be considered the greatest of all time. Patrick Mahomes makes everyone on his team better, which is something the Washington Commanders don’t possess currently.

Consider how Kansas City retooled the roster since its last championship three years ago. Excluding Mahomes and future Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Travis Kelce, one skill position player – and only one – remains on the roster.

That player, Mecole Hardman, did not play in the Super Bowl.

Most of the departed wide receivers and running backs were marginal. Damien Williams was a serviceable running back. Sammy Watkins was a veteran capable of flashes before disappearing. LeSean McCoy was old. Demarcus Robinson was average.

And of course, there was Tyreek Hill, among the most explosive offensive players in the NFL this century. His 2017 touchdown at the end of the first half against the Cowboys is still the greatest play I have seen in the past ten years.

Kansas City drafted Hardman in 2019. They began retooling their backfield by selecting Clyde Edwards-Helaire the following year and bringing in pass-catching back Jerick McKinnon as a free agent in 2021.

Then, when financial considerations forced them to trade Hill, here’s what Kansas City did:

They signed free agent receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justin Watson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and they drafted receiver Skyy Moore in Round 2 and running back Isiah Pacheco in Round 7.

All that happened during the 2022 off-season. But they were not done.

When the Giants gave up on former first-round draft pick Kadarius Toney in the middle of the 2022 season, the Chiefs snapped him up. Toney, Smith-Schuster, and Pacheco all played vital roles in their Super Bowl triumph.

Moore scored a touchdown. McKinnon, Watson, and Valdes-Scantling were all on the field at key moments. Yes, they still had the best quarterback and tight end in football. But they had help.

In almost every case, the new players were flat-out faster than the guys they replaced. No one is as fast as Hill, but Moore, Valdes-Scantling, and Toney all go 4.4 or under in the 40-yard dash.

Watson is almost as fast. McKinnon is quicker than any of the backs from that 2020 team. And Pacheco? He goes under 4.4 as well and is a violent runner.

Garrett Wilson may have been a worthy NFL Rookie of the Year in 2022. But the single best value draft pick in 2022 was the Chiefs’ selection of the former Rutgers standout in Round 7.

In other words, the Chiefs had some good talent, but they knew they needed to replace Hill. They didn’t just sign one or two guys. They got every productive skill position guy they could scoop up. Other than Smith-Schuster and Edwards-Helaire, all of them are lightning-fast.

And then, when they were loaded, Toney was the icing on the cake. Because this is the lesson – you can never have enough really fast playmakers on your team.