4 Commanders draft picks who could be cut after 2024 training camp

Things are hanging in the balance for these Commanders players.
Chris Paul
Chris Paul / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 4

Phidarian Mathis - Commanders DL

The Washington Commanders need more from Phidarian Mathis next season. His first two seasons in the NFL haven't gone well. Injuries didn't help, but it's hard to gauge what his long-term aspirations look like entering Year 3 of his professional career.

Mathis has the size, brute strength, and surprising athleticism for a man his size to be more of a factor. The former Alabama star's rookie campaign was cut short after a few snaps in Week 1. Another complication derailed his momentum before the 2023 campaign. When he did get into the lineup, it was an underwhelming contribution.

The stakes couldn't be higher for Mathis entering his third season. Washington selected Johnny Newton at No. 36 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. He's seen as a high-impact player who can be used immediately within Dan Quinn's system depending on the defensive alignment. That might not happen right away, but it's almost guaranteed once the promising lineman recovers from his foot complications.

With Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen firmly cemented as the team's starting defensive tackle tandem, Mathis faces a fight to carve out a role for himself. His ability to clog up space might be useful - especially against the run. This won't happen unless the 2022 second-round selection imposes himself throughout Washington's upcoming training camp.

Mathis knows the task awaiting him is steep. He's back to full health and confident his talent can shine through. But much like the situation with others on this list, showing out during drills and preseason games is paramount.

This seems like a straight fight between him and John Ridgeway III for the fourth defensive tackle spot from the outside looking in. The Commanders made a bigger investment in Mathis with a higher draft standing. However, that won't matter to Adam Peters given he wasn't around when the pick was made.

If the same complications emerge health-wise or Mathis looks sluggish when called upon, the Commanders won't hesitate to take their chances with Ridgeway or someone else.