5 FCS draft prospects the Commanders should consider in 2024

The Commanders need to find some diamonds in the rough...
Jaden Shirden
Jaden Shirden / Doug Hood / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Commanders could draft Jaden Shirden

  • Running Back | Monmouth Fighting Scots

Jaden Shirden rushed for more than 3,000 yards and scored 23 touchdowns over his final two seasons with Monmouth. Put on his tape and you see him turning inside sweeps into massive gains time and time again. He has outstanding vision and enough burst to get through holes or around corners. He reminds me of beloved Larry Brown as much as any running back I’ve seen in recent years.

The comparison to Brown runs deep. Shirden, like Brown, is undersized. He’s barely 5-foot-7 and struggles to play at 195 pounds. But the compact frame allows him to get through smaller holes and he carries enough power to break arm tackles.

And like Brown, Shirden shows a great ability to run to daylight. That can be a hard instinct to teach, as Washington Commanders fans witnessed with Antonio Gibson over the last four years. The prospect is neither as fast nor as big as the pending free agent, but he understands gaps and timing - a skill that comes with a lot of experience.

In many ways, Shirden would be a newer version of Jaret Patterson.

Patterson could never replace bigger, stronger backs like Brian Robinson Jr. or Chris Rodriguez Jr., and neither would Shirden. He could provide a nice change of pace, but what he would need to show to make an impact is his ability as a receiver. He was barely ever required to do that in college. But he did show a little bit more as a pass catcher in his final season.

His numbers were mundane as a pass-catcher, but they suggest there is something to be developed. Robinson was never considered a pass-catching back in college but showed a lot of ability when given the chance last season. If Shirden can show similar potential, he could be the playmaking dual-threat out of the backfield that the Commanders haven’t had since J.D. McKissic got hurt midway through the 2022 season.