5 primary factors behind the Commanders offensive line's demise in 2023

The downward trend has some mitigating factors attached.
Nick Gates
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Commanders haven't invested properly

The Washington Commanders have treated their offensive line like a penny stock. In the past seven seasons, they have drafted 10 offensive linemen. That’s more than the Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys. But they are the only team in the NFC East that has not invested at least one first-round pick in the unit since 2017.

For you gamblers out there - want a trend? Coming into the NFL’s eighth weekend of 2023, 16 teams boasted records of .500 or better. The Commanders, as I’m sure you know, were not one of them.

Of those 16 teams, 14 of them had spent at least one first-round draft pick on an offensive lineman since 2017. Most of the real up-and-coming teams - the ones who had been bad for a long time but are now showing real life - had invested multiple first-round picks. That includes teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, and New York Jets.

The only two teams that did not follow this path were the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs. But this also needs context.

Buffalo has three second-rounders and two third-rounders - four of whom the Bills drafted - starting on their line. Four-fifths of the Chiefs line is also made up of second and third-round picks, with Trey Smith the one diamond-in-the-rough who came in the sixth.

The Commanders, in contrast, have spent one second-round pick and two third-rounders on linemen in the past seven years. One currently starts. One does not. The other is long gone from the roster.

It seems pretty clear that Washington is trying to get by with lower-level talent on the line, and they really should know better. That doesn't work.