What will Ricky Stromberg bring to the Washington Commanders?

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Ricky Stromberg
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Ricky Stromberg /

What will Ricky Stromberg bring to the Washington Commanders after the talented offensive lineman was taken at No. 97 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft?

After selecting two defensive backs over the opening rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft, many fans were wondering just why Ron Rivera was ignoring the offense when it was clearly the weak link last season. Emmanuel Forbes was a ballhawk needed for the team, but Jartavius Martin becoming their second-rounder was met with astonishment considering the offensive line prospects available at the time.

This added some extra pressure on Washington’s final pick in the top 100. Anything less than offensive help was not an option, even if Rivera clearly has a preference for solidifying a defense that is already among the league’s best.

The problem is, the lower down the pecking order we go, the quality of prospects diminishes. Something that could lead to complications if the Commanders don’t find the right characters to bring into the building.

Commanders draft Ricky Stromberg at No. 97 overall

As it turned out, the Commanders took Ricky Stromberg with their third-round selection at No. 97. Finally, some offensive line assistance for Eric Bieniemy and Sam Howell at long last.

The prospect has experience in the guard position. But his time at Arkansas was primarily spent at the center spot, which is the versatility Washington loves in their protectors.

Stromberg isn’t the best athlete, but the player is strong enough to hold his ground and has the lateral mobility needed to generate his fair share of snaps right away. There’s nothing that truly stands out about his production, even if the former Razorback does all the little things well.

The Commanders might allow Stromberg to compete with Chase Roullier for the starting job and shift free-agent signing Nick Gates over. This comes with some risk given the prospect’s tendency to get overawed by power and bullrushes more often than not.

While Stromberg has proven production in the SEC, when he came up against the more formidable interior linemen – including new teammate Phidarian Mathis at Alabama – he often looked a little lost and devoid of keeping them in check. The same applies to his tape versus Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter, who he’ll see plenty given their presence on the Philadelphia Eagles.

At the very worst, Stromberg can be a decent backup option capable of stepping in to ensure no momentum is lost. But if the prospect takes on coaching and puts his exceptional pre-snap communication to good use, then don’t be surprised if he’s in the starting lineup at some stage during the 2023 campaign.

It might have been more prudent for Washington to address the offensive line sooner. But Stromberg represents a low-risk, high-reward option this late in the third round.

And if it all works out, Rivera will once again be the smartest person in the room.

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