6 free-agent defensive tackles the Commanders could sign in 2024

The Commanders have two studs, but could they add another defensive tackle?
Christian Wilkins
Christian Wilkins / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders potential run-stuffers: Mike Pennel and D.J. Reader

Dan Quinn's scheme is all about linemen playing the run on their way to quarterbacks, but his fronts still need one big body capable of filling gaps on the deck. Johnathan Hankins played the role under the new Washington Commanders head coach with the Dallas Cowboys, but the unit still allowed 4.2 yards per carry last season.

What Quinn needs is a top-of-the-line run defender to anchor Washington's defensive line. Somebody like Mike Pennel or D.J. Reader.

Pennel was chiefly responsible for the way the Kansas City Chiefs repelled the San Francisco 49ers' usually potent ground attack in the Super Bowl. He took on and split double teams, shed blockers, and snuffed out running plays at source.

The best example involved Pennel putting former Washington left tackle Trent Williams on skates, before wrapping up Christian McCaffrey. A play highlighted by NFL33's Daniel Harms.

Pennel's raised his stock significantly ahead of free agency, but Reader is the most imposing run-stuffer on the market. Few players are better than the 335-pounder at controlling blockers, shifting the line of scrimmage, and creating easy tackles for teammates.

While Reader does his best work in the phone booth covering the gaps either side of center, the true nose tackle is also an underrated athlete. Reader proved as much with this lateral pursuit to stop a run against the Baltimore Ravens, highlighted by Mike of All Bengals.

He's 29 years old and tore his quad in December, but Reader is formidable when healthy and worth a substantial investment from the Commanders.

Even if he spends big at the position, Adam Peters should still keep an eye out for a bargain.