3 First Round Picks Commanders Should Target in NFL Draft

8. Atlanta Falcons -- Anthony Richardson, QB, FloridaSyndication Ocala Starbanner
8. Atlanta Falcons -- Anthony Richardson, QB, FloridaSyndication Ocala Starbanner /

Armed with eight selections for this upcoming NFL Draft, the Washington Commanders are in a strong spot to re-haul their roster.

The Commanders are in an awkward position between rebuilding and competing, but much of the rebuilding that needs to happen can be accomplished in the upcoming months.

I’ve highlighted three areas of concern that Washington should address in this year’s NFL Draft that could help the team make the leap into the postseason.

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Three 1st-Round Picks Washington Should Consider

There’s never a right answer for making the correct pick in the NFL Draft until we have the benefit of hindsight. Teams have the option to go several different directions with their first pick, and it often shapes the future of the franchise.

Here are three areas the Commanders should consider this time around:

Anthony Richardson, Quarterback (Florida)

Now that Carson Wentz has officially been released, finding his replacement is of the utmost importance. Sam Howell showed flashes last season, but it’s asking too much to rely on him to be the every-game starter at this point.

There are four quarterbacks – Bryce Young, Will Levis, CJ Stroud, and Richardson – who most draft experts have projected to be selected in the first round and Washington probably needs one of them.

It’s a risky gambit to rely upon getting your quarterback from a shallow free agent class or via trade, and there might not be any potential starters after Round 1.

At the very least, Richardson proved to be a gifted runner who can surprise defenses with his ability to evade sacks and extend plays.

Even if he doesn’t have a great arm, his extreme athleticism coupled with a strong group of receivers could be dangerous. If Richardson isn’t available at this spot, it might be worth it to take a gamble on Levis or Stroud, if they’re still available.

Brian Branch, Safety/Cornerback (Alabama)

Kendall Fuller is a talented cornerback, but Washington needs another ball hawk to man the other side of the field, too.

Enter Branch. The 6-foot 193-pound cornerback was a physical force last season for the Crimson Tide, recording two interceptions and seven pass deflections along with three sacks and an impressive 12 tackles for loss.

Branch could play corner or safety for Washington and would give the Commanders another playmaker in the secondary to couple with one of the best defensive lines in the league – often a game-changing combination.

Drew Sanders, Inside Linebacker (Arkansas)

One of Washington’s biggest needs is at linebacker and Sanders fits the bill.

The Alabama transfer was a monster for the Razorbacks last season, finishing with 103 tackles (13.5 for loss), including 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, six passes defended, and an interception. But Sanders isn’t just a playmaker, he’s also an intimidating presence in the middle of any defense at 6-foot-5, 233 pounds.

Sanders could help Washington with its run defense, pass coverage and pass rush next season.

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