Commanders 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Bold approach edition

Could the Commanders go bold?

Troy Fautanu
Troy Fautanu / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders select Xavier Thomas

  • Defensive End | Clemson Tigers
  • Round No. 5 | No. 152 overall

Every so often, there will be one or two late-round edge forces that emerge as a key piece to a team’s defense. An unknown coming into the fold can become either a quality starter or a rotational pass rusher. This separates the contending organizations from the also-rans, giving them a boost for nailing one of their late-round selections.

The Washington Commanders, as previously mentioned, will have plenty of young contributors this upcoming season and likely the following year. This applies to their defensive end options despite the acquisition of several veterans in free agency.

Enter, Xavier Thomas.

While isn’t exactly an unknown commodity in the draft community due to his former five-star high school profile, he has flown under the radar as a potential gem on Day 3 of the draft. He also attended Clemson, which is where the Commanders went for K.J. Henry in the fifth round last year.

Thomas offers a pass-rush skill set that could make him a valuable asset to an NFL team. He’s a great athlete who will end with explosiveness and bend once he reaches the top of the arc to the corner. The defensive end flashed on occasion for the Tigers but has never been able to put together a stellar campaign.

A team like the Commanders could help exploit the potentially hidden skill set Thomas may possess. Something they did effectively with Henry during his rookie year.