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
7 of 8

Comanders draft Xavier Thomas

  • Edge Rusher | Clemson Tigers
  • Round No. 5 | No. 152 overall

After trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the 2023 deadline, the Washington Commanders had no consistent pass-rush over the second half of 2023. K.J. Henry showed some promise as a rookie, but it came as no surprise to see those in power acquire several immediate contributors throughout an eventful free agency.

Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr. followed Dan Quinn to the Commanders after flourishing under the defensive mind during their time together on the Dallas Cowboys. Clelin Ferrell also came into the fold - a player Adam Peters knows well after recruiting him for the San Francisco 49ers. Couple this with Frankie Luvu and Jamin Davis' ability to rush from the defensive second level, and things are looking a lot stronger.

It might be worth the Commanders identifying another promising prospect from the college ranks a little lower down the pecking order. They had success with a Clemson player last year when Henry came into the building. Someone from the same program offers more potential than most at this stage of the draft.

Xavier Thomas comes with outstanding bend and short-area explosiveness in pass-rush situations. The edge presence displays encouraging speed-to-power moves and finishes plays off with supreme conviction. He's not the biggest - especially if someone wants to use him as a 4-3 defensive end - but there could be a role for his athletic gifts within Quinn's creative system.

There is some significant work needed for Thomas in pursuit of becoming more consistent against the run. He tends to get overwhelmed setting the edge against more physically dominant linemen. This is a concern considering things aren't going to get easier at the next level.

That said, if everything checks out medically - Thomas has had some health complications throughout his time in college - this is well worth a shot here. And hopefully, Quinn can help him come along quicker than anticipated.