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. /
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(Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports) Jaxson Kirkland /

Commanders draft Jaxson Kirkland

  • Offensive Line | Washington Huskies

The story surrounding Jaxson Kirkland is unfortunate. There were many analysts that projected the offensive lineman as a potential first-round pick last year, but a serious injury forced him to miss the entire 2021 campaign and with no option other than to skip the draft as a result.

This was a major blow for Kirkland, who seems to have lost some of the athletic traits that made him such a highly-regarded prospect once upon a time. The player did get through 10 games last season with minimal fuss, but the red flags are now there for all to see.

The Washington Commanders need a complete makeover on the offensive line, as previously stated. Providing the right reinforcements come into the building beforehand, adding Kirkland and allowing him to develop at his own pace could be worth its weight in gold.

Kirkland is a highly competitive individual with a mean streak that will go down well with scouts. The Washington product needs to add some mass to his imposing 6-foot-7 frame, but his versatility to play either tackle or on the interior is something that only enhances the player’s stock heading into the assessment process.

If the medical checks are satisfactory, this could be a high-risk, high-reward pickup by the Commanders. One that could provide them with a long-term depth piece at the very worst.