Could Steve Avila be the missing piece of Commanders OL puzzle?

(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Avila
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Avila /

Could interior offensive lineman Steve Avila become the missing piece of the puzzle where the Washington Commanders’ protection is concerned in 2023?

Even though Ron Rivera declared his satisfaction with the Washington Commanders’ current options on the offensive line, it would be unwise to ignore a talented group of incoming college recruits via the 2023 NFL Draft. This is an especially deep group across the interior, which is where things look especially uncertain despite acquiring Nick Gates soon after the legal tampering period began.

Gates looks set to start somewhere, probably at the center position. Sam Cosmi might move into the right guard spot following Andrew Wylie’s arrival, which leaves the left guard complication as the only missing piece to Washington’s puzzle during what looks to be a significant, much-needed revamp.

Rivera stated at the NFL owners’ meetings that the likes of Andrew Norwell, Chris Paul, and Saadhiq Charles will fight it out for the starting role. Something that doesn’t exactly fill fans with the greatest confidence considering their indifferent production last time around.

Commanders have a legitimate interest in Steve Avila

The Commanders are taking a keen interest in some of the top offensive linemen entering the draft. One prospect reportedly scheduled for a top-30 visit is Steve Avila – the former TCU standout that played a significant role in the team’s exceptional run to the college football national championship game in 2022.

This would certainly solve the left guard conundrum if Washington went in this direction. Avila has all the makings of a Day 1 starter and is rapidly ascending as a leader, with the Horned Frogs’ decision to make him a team captain paying off in the biggest possible way last season.

Avila is a mauler in the run game, finishing off plays with ruthless efficiency and boasting enough functional strength to carve open holes. This is matched by outstanding production in pass protection to further enhance his influence.

According to Pro Football Focus, the interior protector didn’t give up a single sack from 540 pass-blocking snaps in 2022 en route to an outstanding 83.6 grade. Avila has some encouraging athleticism and isn’t afraid to go looking for work, which is always one of the hallmarks of any productive guard at the next level.

The Commanders want to delve deeper into Avila, and with good reason. But they aren’t alone.

Ryan Roberts of Sports Illustrated revealed that the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Detroit Lions will also bring Avila in for a visit. Something that could see the player taken late in the first round or extremely early on Day 2 as a result.

If the Commanders managed to get their hands on Avila, this could be their starting offensive line to start the 2023 season barring injury:

  • Left Tackle – Charles Leno Jr.
  • Left Guard – Steve Avila
  • Center – Nick Gates
  • Right Guard – Sam Cosmi
  • Right Tackle – Andrew Wylie

This would achieve Wasington’s objective of making life easier for Jacoby Brissett or Sam Howell, who’ll battle it out for the starting quarterback job throughout camp. But developing chemistry with four new prominent starters is of critical importance during the upcoming preparation period.

Avila should be on the shortlist based on his current career trajectory. Whether he’ll be around at No. 47 overall is another matter entirely.

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