5 potential Commanders candidates to replace Nick Gates

The Commanders are looking for a new starting center.

Nick Gates
Nick Gates / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders could draft Sedrick Van Pran

The Washington Commanders have plenty of draft capital this year, and there are some good center options available. Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson - the consensus top-ranked center - is probably out of reach unless they trade out of the No. 2 spot and acquire a couple of later round-one picks. But several other very promising college centers should be on the board when they pick on Day 2.

Sedrick Van Pran was a stalwart in the middle of Georgia’s back-to-back national championship teams. Over his last three seasons, he logged more than 2,500 snaps, allowing one sack and zero quarterback hits. That is playing against the best the college game has to offer in the SEC.

There’s nothing on tape that suggests Van Pran will not be successful at the next level. He has the strength, mobility, and football intelligence to grow into a top-tier NFL center. But there might be some growing pains initially.

Rookies can struggle early on at center. Whoever takes over the job in Washington will be joining an entirely new offensive line. It may take Van Pran - or any rookie for that matter - a little longer to develop, but the investment will be worth it.

Van Pran should be available in the second round, and perhaps in the third as well depending on how things unfold.