Ranking Commanders' nine biggest NFL Draft gems of the last decade

Some far exceeded expectations...
Darrick Forrest
Darrick Forrest / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
1 of 5

Ranking the biggest Washington Commanders draft gems of the last decade as Adam Peters gets set to stamp his mark on the franchise.

Finding draft diamonds from the rough always separates the good teams from the strugglers. There are ways to compensate for this through free agency and the trade market, but franchises are always fighting a losing battle if they cannot find the right recruits from the college ranks.

The Washington Commanders have had moderate success in this regard. Ron Rivera found it more difficult than others en route to a dismal four seasons at the helm. That said, there were a few who outperformed their draft status when push came to shove.

We took a deeper look at the Commanders' draft picks and ranked the nine prospects who could be classed as gems. This ranking criteria centered on where they were taken, how much they exceeded expectations, and their overall contribution to the team.

Without further ado, here is the ranking of Commanders' draft gems over the last decade.

9. Jamison Crowder

  • Wide Receiver | Duke Blue Devils
  • No. 105 overall 2015 NFL Draft

A 5-foot-9 mid-round draft selection comes with hit-or-miss potential attached more often than not. Jamison Crowder turned out to be a nice surprise for the Washington Commanders as a versatile wide receiver and kick returner. He endured some injury problems along the way, but it was disappointing to see him leave after four seasons to join the New York Jets.

Three years in East Rutherford and one season with the Buffalo Bills later, Crowder found himself back in Washington. This wasn't just a feel-good story, he shone as a kick returner and also earned himself a new one-year deal under the new regime.

Considering how few Commanders players got new deals, this is a testament to Crowder's professionalism and ability to perform while all around him seemingly crumbled.

8. Brian Robinson Jr.

  • Running Back | Alabama Crimson Tide
  • No. 98 overall | 2022 NFL Draft

When the Washington Commanders spent a third-round selection on Brian Robinson Jr. in 2022, hopes were high that he could make an immediate impact alongside Antonio Gibson. Unfortunately, a potentially fatal incident occurred when the former Alabama star suffered a gunshot wound to the leg that derailed his transition considerably.

Thankfully, Robinson survived the incident and was able to continue with his football career to boot. It was an emotional occasion when the backfield threat suited up for the first time. After flashing in Year 1 despite such a troubling start, he firmly established himself as the No. 1 in 2023 en route to 1,101 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns.

Robinson gets the chance to learn from Austin Ekeler after the prolific veteran signed from the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency. This could see his game reach new heights next time around.