Grading every Commanders pick from the 2023 NFL Draft

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Emmanuel Forbes
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Emmanuel Forbes /
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(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) K.J. Henry /

Commanders drafted K.J. Henry

  • Edge Rusher | Clemson Tigers

The Washington Commanders didn’t trade Chase Young as many expected despite not picking up his fifth-year option. Despite that, finding another explosive young edge rusher was a priority at some stage during the 2023 NFL Draft considering the Ohio State product and Montez Sweat are both out of contract next spring.

When the opportunity arose, the Commanders stuck with conviction, moving up to No. 137 overall for K.J. Henry. The former Clemson star carved out a decent rotational role for himself under Dabo Sweeney, emerging as a valuable contributor behind two players that went higher up the pecking order in the form of Bryan Breese and Myles Murphy.

Henry isn’t the most explosive, but he makes full use of the tools at his disposal. With 28 tackles for loss and 13 sacks throughout his college career, he’s also more than capable of coming in at a moment’s notice and making an impact.

The prospect’s hand placement at the point of contact is excellent. Henry manipulates opposing offensive linemen well, which allows him to gain leverage or set the edge against the run with relative comfort.

Draft Grade: A

Whether Henry can cope with true starting reps against NFL-caliber opposition is a shot in the dark, to a certain extent. But there are plenty of signs that suggest the defensive end can continue his upward trend on a stacked Commanders front.