James Smith-Williams - Commanders DE
The Washington Commanders lost most of their pass-rush when those in power decided to trade Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the deadline. It was a tall order for players lower down the pecking order to step up and replicate their production. There were a few flashes from some, but this is a position group in dire need of reinforcements this offseason.
What this means for Washington's options from the 2023 campaign will be dependent on Adam Peters and Dan Quinn's assessments. Most of them are on the lookout for new deals. Not everyone will get an opportunity to make an impact moving forward.
James Smith-Williams is an interesting case. The defensive end looked set to be one of the primary beneficiaries once Sweat and Young departed. His work as a rotational presence came in for praise. However, he was unable to muster enough from a starting role to convince anyone he was worthy of these increased responsibilities long-term.
That said, every good team around the NFL needs sound depth in the trenches. Quinn freely admitted a desire to build from the inside out as part of his grand plans for the Commanders. Smith-Williams might not be capable of being a reliable starting option, but the former seventh-round pick out of North Carolina State could get another chance to stake his claim thanks to his overall body of work.