Commanders 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Decision time edition

The time for talk is almost over...
Xavier Thomas
Xavier Thomas / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Commanders draft Theo Johnson

  • Tight End | Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Round No. 5 | No. 139 overall

The Washington Commanders released veteran tight end Logan Thomas and replaced him with Zach Ertz in free agency. This seems to be a like-for-like move - one that was probably made thanks to the player's previous experience within Kliff Kingsbury's offense. However, it shouldn't prevent those in power from targeting a high-upside prospect at some stage during the 2024 NFL Draft.

Those in power might opt to stand pat and hope the likes of Cole Turner and Armani Rodgers can improve with better coaching. If they feel like more is needed, someone like Theo Johnson is an intriguing mid-round option who makes a ton of sense at this stage of the selection process.

Johnson is the latest in a long line of athletic prospects to come out of Penn State. The former four-star high school recruit is an outstanding athlete. Putting this to better use is paramount once he gets to the pros, but teams always draft players on what they can become rather than their college production.

The prospect has the physical profile to become an in-line threat or lined up as a slot or even outside receiver if the situation dictates. He's an aggressive blocker, accomplished in assisting at the line of scrimmage or the second level with minimal fuss. Johnson also developed his red-zone efficiency last season, enhancing his body control and ability to get the football at its highest point.

If Johnson can improve his route tree and develop more capabilities to create yards after the catch, he's got the scope to be a high-end rotational piece and special teams contributor at worst. At best, he projects as a future starting option capable of creating mismatches in the passing game.

There wouldn't be a great deal of pressure on Johnson to start right away if the Commanders went in this direction. Learning from someone who's been to the top in Ertz will also do wonders for his early development.