Commanders ignore falling QB prospect in The Bleacher Report mock draft
By Dean Jones
The Washington Commanders avoided the temptation to take falling quarterback Will Levis at No. 16 overall in The Bleacher Report’s latest mock draft.
Ron Rivera has already set out his stall regarding the Washington Commanders and the quarterback position this offseason. Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett will participate in a genuine competition throughout the preparation period and the best performer will start when competitive games begin in 2023.
This has been a subject of fierce debate. Especially considering the Commanders never seriously considered the prospect of going after Lamar Jackson – a former NFL MVP who represents a significant upgrade on anything Washington’s had under center for decades.
Rivera is likely betting his job on Howell or Brissett working out. The potential new owners won’t take failure gladly after shelling out so much to purchase the franchise from Dan Snyder, leaving the head coach facing the prospect of a similar situation that unfolded when David Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers from Jerry Richardson.
Whether the foundations have already been laid at football’s most important position remains to be seen. But an intriguing dilemma faced the Commanders in a recent mock draft published by The Bleacher Report’s scouting department.
Commanders pass on Will Levis in The Bleacher Report mock draft
In their scenario, quarterback Will Levis took an alarming tumble down the pecking order and was available for Washington at No. 16 overall. Instead, those in power resisted the temptation and selected cornerback Devon Witherspoon, which fills an immediate need but wouldn’t move the needle in the event the former Kentucky standout reached his ceiling.
"“Quarterback seems the logical choice. But the Commanders’ messaging has been strong all offseason: Sam Howell appears to be their guy, with an accomplished backup in Jacoby Brissett to push and even help mentor the young signal-caller. If Howell works out and plays to the level many expected prior to the 2021 campaign when he was viewed as an elite prospect, the Commanders will have just made a brilliant move. If not, a corner—no matter how good—won’t erase that mistake.”"
It’s unlikely Levis is being seriously considered for the No. 1 overall selection. At the same time, it would be a bombshell if he made it this far down the draft board considering how desperate some teams in the top 10 are for quarterback help.
Levis is a polarizing prospect. He has all the athletic intangibles needed to make a real go of things, but a down year with the Wildcats in 2022 coupled with some clear processing flaws means there is some significant work ahead for whatever team brings him into the fold.
Washington would be making a big call in this situation. Much would also depend on Eric Bieniemy’s view of the signal-caller after he banged the table harder than most for Patrick Mahomes during his time on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Witherspoon is not a bad consolation prize by any stretch. The Illinois product is arguably the best cornerback prospect in this year’s class, boasting a level of athleticism and physicality that the Commanders sorely need within their secondary.
He also looks like a great scheme fit for Jack Del Rio. Witherspoon leaves players dead in their tracks with supreme force as a tackler, as well as coping well in either zone or man coverage for good measure.
Nothing should be off the table right now. But passing on a potential franchise quarterback if Levis does end up putting everything together would come with pretty grave consequences for Rivera and others in positions of power.