Commanders 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Trench warfare edition

(David Banks-USA TODAY Sports) Paris Johnson Jr.
(David Banks-USA TODAY Sports) Paris Johnson Jr. /
7 of 9
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Brenton Cox Jr. /

Commanders draft Brenton Cox Jr.

  • Defensive End/Outside Linebacker | Florida Gators

No team can ever have enough quality pass-rushers. The Washington Commanders are blessed with more than most after some significant draft investments in recent years, but adding another is almost essential considering how much Chase Young has struggled with injuries since an outstanding rookie campaign.

Young will look to bounce back next season whether the Commanders pick up his fifth-year option or not. If the same complications emerge, Washington needs another explosive presence that can cause havoc alongside some dominant veterans already on the roster.

Brenton Cox Jr. is an intriguing prospect at this stage of the draft. The Florida product is technically sound and has the heavy hands needed to overcome blocks with great success.

Despite playing just eight times for the Gators in 2022, Cox left his mark and made notable strides against the run. His explosiveness wouldn’t be in the elite category by any stretch, but there is enough to suggest he can become a strong depth presence behind Washington’s projected starting edge tandem of Young and Montez Sweat.

This stage of the draft is all about finding diamonds in the rough. Cox could be just that.