Nick Gates - Commanders OL
One of two major free-agent veterans the Washington Commanders signed to try and rebuild the line. Nick Gates can play both center and guard. He has essentially missed two out of his five seasons due to injury. When healthy, he is a solid interior lineman.
BEST: Gates plays 1,000 snaps combined at center and guard. Just where he'll spend the majority of time is dependent on the development of other players.
WORST: Another season-ending injury. Gates’ personal history, and Washington’s recent history in this position, make this a looming threat.
REALISTIC: I think the best case is also a realistic case for Gates. Maybe he doesn’t make it to 1,000 snaps, but he stays mostly healthy and helps lock down the interior of the line.
By the end of the season, I think that he will be lining up at guard.
Tyler Larsen - Commanders C
Tyler Larsen has played well as a fill-in center for the Commanders over the last two seasons. He has also ended both years on the injured/reserve and just turned 32 years old. That isn’t too old for a center, but players rarely discover better health once they move beyond 30.
BEST: Larsen makes the roster and plays occasionally as the quality backup he has proven to be. The best case for Washington is that he does not make the roster because he has been supplanted by younger players.
WORST: Another injury. That would likely end his career.
REALISTIC: I don’t think Larsen is going to make the roster unless Gates is injured before the season or rookie Ricky Stromberg seriously underperforms in training camp. I think the Commanders would love to stash him on the practice squad, but once other teams begin suffering losses, he will be snapped up by someone else.