Will Commanders need to trade up for franchise CB in 2023 draft?

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Christian Gonzalez
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Christian Gonzalez /

A recent report suggests some premier cornerback prospects could go higher than expected, which poses a problem for the Washington Commanders.

One of the biggest needs for the Washington Commanders heading into the offseason is finding a cornerback with the potential to lock down one side of the field. This is something Jack Del Rio’s defense hasn’t had for quite some time, although the coordinator’s preference for zone schemes has insulated the secondary behind an exceptional defensive front-loaded with first-round talent.

Considering how expensive free-agent corners normally are if they hit the market, finding a high-upside prospect via the college ranks is the best avenue to move down. As it turns out, there is an abundance of talent projected to go in the first two rounds that should be of significant interest.

Among the prospects who met with the Commanders throughout the NFL Scouting Combine are Joey Porter Jr. and Christian Gonzalez. Both come into the league with outstanding promise and starting quality right out of the gate if everything goes according to plan during their respective transitions.

The Commanders could have a pick of some decent options at No. 16 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Although much will depend on what transpires in front of them and how well they can reinforce the offensive line throughout free agency.

Commanders could miss out on 2023 NFL Draft’s top cornerback duo

According to Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com, if Washington or anyone else wants to select the aforementioned duo, they might have to move up. That is what the writer has been hearing from sources at the combine.

"“Based on their respective tape, multiple sources say that they don’t see (Joey) Porter and (Christian) Gonzalez as top-10 picks who are of the caliber of (Derek) Stingley or (Sauce) Gardner. However, they say they believe Gonzalez and Porter could rise during the workout portion of the draft process and each have a shot at going as a top-10 pick. Both of them have the size and speed to impress in the workouts.”"

The Commanders have eight selections to call upon, so the notion of shifting up the pecking order slightly could be accomplished. But considering the quarterback-needy teams in the top 10, both cornerbacks also going in this range seems unlikely.

Washington won’t want to lose out, but biding their time would be wise. Especially considering the likes of Devon Witherspoon and Emmanuel Forbes could be around a little later in the process.

This is a fascinating draft at the top end made even more so by the Chicago Bears, who are said to be looking to trade down from the No. 1 overall selection if a king’s ransom offer comes in from another franchise.

The Commanders will wait to see how things unfold. But they don’t want to be sitting on their hands either if someone atop their board starts falling.

Striking with conviction is the hallmark of any great draft. And with plenty at stake for the Commanders next season, this objective must be achieved throughout the all-important selection process.

Otherwise, the consequences could be severe.

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