Commanders 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: BPA edition

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Will Mallory
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Will Mallory /
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(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Nolan Smith /

Commanders draft Nolan Smith

  • Defensive End/Outside Linebacker | Georgia Bulldogs

This would be shocking to some. But upon further examination, taking an edge rusher is something the Washington Commanders might contemplate when push comes to shove.

After giving Daron Payne a lucrative contract extension, the Commanders now have a significant amount tied up in their two starting defensive tackles. This makes things complicated with Montez Sweat and Chase Young also looking for new deals of their own very shortly.

Sweat is heading into a contract year and could command a lofty sum if his current career trajectory is any indication. If Young’s fifth-year option isn’t picked up and the defensive end thrives in 2023, his financial demands will also go through the roof.

Keeping both in this scenario would be difficult. So if a prospect like Nolan Smith is available for the Commanders, a discussion needs to be had.

The former Georgia standout has the potential to be great. Smith is a two-time national champion with the production to match, which is coupled with outstanding leadership qualities that should make a seamless transition from college to the pros.

Smith has the explosiveness, pass-rushing repertoire, and football IQ to make an immediate impression. Something the Commanders could utilize as a 4-3 outside linebacker or even on the defensive front depending on the situation.

It would be surprising. But don’t rule it out completely.