5 defensive prospects the Commanders should monitor at 2024 Senior Bowl

The Commanders need some fresh defensive blood this offseason...

Brennan Jackson
Brennan Jackson / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders should monitor Ty'Ron Hopper

  • Linebacker | Missouri Tigers
  • What to look for: Deep ball skills

Ty'Ron Hopper is an outstanding athlete who makes plays all over the field. He is something of a hybrid - a bit undersized as a traditional linebacker, and a little bigger than a normal safety. But he has the skills to play either position.

The Missouri prospect moves extremely well, knifing through bigger linemen to make plays in the backfield. But his length and speed allow him to drop into coverage and be a force in the middle of the field.

Hopper will make plays at or near the line. I expect that he will improve in that area as he gains more experience in diagnosing running plays. I am not concerned about his ability to stay with tight ends or even running backs on short throws or about his ability to drop into zones.

I’m eager to see what he can do when left on an island in space. I see a lot of Kam Chancellor in Hopper.

We won’t know what type of defensive philosophy the Washington Commanders' new coaches will favor. However, there is ever-increasing room in today’s game for hybrid linebacker-safeties, and Hopper would seem to be an ideal candidate for such a role.

That means he may occasionally be tasked with playing deeper than a linebacker and stick with wide receivers 20 yards or more downfield. It is not something he has done as a college linebacker. If Hopper can add that deep-field ability to his impressive play near the line of scrimmage, he could be an all-purpose enforcer.