4 replacements if the Commanders cannot retain Daron Payne in 2023

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Daron Payne
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Daron Payne /
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(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) Calijah Kancey /

Commanders could draft Calijah Kancey

As stated previously, examining the talent emerging from the college ranks provides the Washington Commanders with a cheaper, longer-term solution if Daron Payne goes in search of a payday elsewhere. But the team still has high hopes that Phidarian Mathis can step up after a frustrating first season.

Unless the Commanders manage to land a blue-chip prospect – which seems unlikely given their other needs – then gambling on a high-upside individual that can assist on the rotation immediately is another realistic route. In this scenario, someone like Calijah Kancey fits the bill.

While the former Pittsburgh standout doesn’t have the stereotypical size to become an NFL interior presence, his explosiveness and raw power serve as a tremendous three-technique option in obvious pass-rushing situations. Something the Commanders will need considering how readily Payne generated pressure in a contract year.

These length concerns could see Kancey fall, although his strength to hold the point of attack despite being undersized is a solid foundation from which to build. This is matched by unique athleticism and natural instincts to get off the block with eye-catching speed.

Providing the Commanders take their time with Kancey and can get him in the third round, this is a risk well worth taking.