How much could Eric Bieniemy’s presence change the Washington Commanders’ plans during the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft process?
With the Washington Commanders now back in the building for the start of their offseason program and the franchise on the brink of an exciting new era of ownership, things are looking up at long last. Anticipation is building beyond doubt, but those in power also have the upcoming NFL Draft to navigate successfully to further raise expectations in 2023.
There is almost no spare cash to find any more veterans that can assist immediately. Not unless some contract restructures and releases occur now that Dan Snyder’s tight purse strings won’t be a complication for much longer.
Therefore, the Commanders must spend their eight selections throughout the draft wisely. If they don’t, it’s going to significantly hinder their chances of becoming a surprise playoff challenger during Ron Rivera‘s critical fourth season as head coach.
Rivera’s stuck to his roster-building plans despite the obvious distractions currently enveloping the Commanders. There’s more stability than ever before, but the high-profile arrival of Eric Bieniemy as the team’s assistant head coach/offensive coordinator could alter their thought process considerably during the draft.
Eric Bieniemy should be influential during Commanders’ draft in 2023
Bieniemy is getting full control of Washington’s offense, has brought in coaches that fit his way of thinking and is granted a leading voice in terms of recruitment. Something that was highlighted by the Commanders signing right tackle Andrew Wylie from the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.
The respected offensive mind has been front and center at some prominent assessment dates including the NFL Scouting Combine in recent weeks. Rivera also stated how fascinated he was to hear Bieniemy’s input and passion regarding specific prospects that could become targets.
While Rivera is a defensive-minded guy and won’t want to lose momentum in this area of the field, the head coach must also realize that Bieniemy took a big risk by leaving the Chiefs. Therefore, the Commanders must do everything in their power to give their new play-caller everything he needs to thrive.
This makes Bieniemy an integral part of the thought process. Expect the unexpected where Washington is concerned during the draft, which could see a primary focus on offense despite the need for a shutdown cornerback, assistance at the linebacker position, and perhaps another edge rusher at some stage.
Bieniemy will be banging the table hard for prospects that he feels can take Washington’s offense up a notch. That might also include quarterback Hendon Hooker if the opportunity presents itself.
Hooker and Bieniemy have spent a lot of time together this off-season. The coach was at the combine, attended Tennessee’s pro day, and also spoke in-depth with the signal-caller as part of his top-30 visit.
Although unlikely, Hooker cannot be ruled out. But taking the one-time Heisman Trophy candidate at No. 16 overall would be unwise, to put it mildly.
Rivera and many others are fighting to keep their jobs in 2023. A change in ownership is normally followed by on-and-off field alternations to a team’s infrastructure, so the pressure is on to make the playoffs at worst next time around.
There’s also a lot at stake for Bieniemy, too.
No opportunity to become a head coach has arrived as yet despite being more than deserving, so he won’t want this big gamble falling short in pursuit of proving his doubters wrong without Andy Reid overseeing matters.
High stakes all around. Hopefully, this sense of urgency will serve the Commanders well and some common ground is reached within the war room in pursuit of genuine progress.
Because the last thing Washington needs is another power struggle.