The 2023 NFL draft is now less than four weeks away. NFL teams are busy finalizing their draft boards after attending pro days and hosting draft-eligible players on top-30 visits.
The Washington Commanders used free agency to fill holes at several positions. While the Commanders did not land a big-ticket free agent, they did re-sign star defensive tackle Daron Payne. Outside of him, Washington enlisted the help of three new offensive linemen, as well as quarterback Jacoby Brissett and linebackers and cornerbacks.
In a new seven-round mock draft from ESPN’s Jordan Reed, the Commanders draft several players at positions of need.
Here’s a breakdown of each of his seven picks for Commander.
Here’s what Reed said about Porter:
Cornerback Benjamin Saint-Just is a promising player, but with the Commander potentially moving Kendall Fuller back inside the slot, the need for a second outside cornerback is a higher priority. With an intriguing mix of size and quickness, Porter is an intriguing option. Patience will be needed with Porter as he works aggressively in his technique, but he has the natural qualities that make him one of the top corners in this class. Porter projects as an immediate starter in Washington.
Is Porter the right plan for Washington? That is the question. Look no further than William Jackson III, who was a disastrous free-agent signing for the Commanders. Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez would be an easy transition, but Porter has loads of talent. If Washington picks him, he’ll likely start on the outside from day one.
Reid on Freeland:
Big and quick blockers like Freeland rarely make it past the second round. He has been compared to Brian O’Neal and Sam Cosmee. Freeland’s continuation as a pass protector — he allowed only one sack last season in 12 — could be attractive to the Commanders, who allowed 48 sacks last season, seventh-worst in the NFL . He could challenge Charles Leno at left tackle, but he could also move to right tackle.
The comparisons to Cosmi are not going to excite Washington fans. After a promising rookie year, Cosmi took a step back last season, leading the Commanders to think he would be a better guard. Like Cosmi, Freeland is big and athletic. He was a four-year starter at BYU, playing two seasons at right tackle and two seasons at left tackle.
Read on Spears:
Spears would bring versatility to a backfield that lacks explosiveness. With Washington not having a running back over 1,000 rush yards last season, he could be a step up from his 1,581 yards this final season with the Green Wave.
Another third round running back? It will be three in four years. However, the last two have turned out to be quite good, Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson Jr. Gibson is entering the final season of his contract and the Commanders released JD McKissick due to a neck injury. Head coach Ron Rivera acknowledged that Washington would mount another comeback. Spears is an outstanding player and would be a perfect complement to Robinson.
Zack Kuntz began his career at Penn State. At 6-foot-7, 255 pounds, he’s in great size, and he’s also a terrific athlete. However, after appearing in only three games for the Nittany Lions, he transferred to ODU for his final two seasons. Kuntz had a breakout campaign in 2021 with 73 receptions and five touchdowns. Despite its size, the Kuntz isn’t going to offer you much in the running game. As a fourth-round pick, he would be a nice consolation prize for the Commanders in a deep tight end class.
Washington isn’t going to spend a high pick on a linebacker. For one, it’s not a highly critical position on its defense and it’s a deep class. The Commanders know they can find a quality player later in the draft.
Enter Cam Jones. At 226 pounds, he’s not the biggest linebacker, but he’s tough, physical, athletic, and a three-time captain, indicating he has that intangible Rivera love. Jones could prove to be a value in the fifth round.
If you need offensive line help and have the Georgia Bulldogs on board, this is probably a solid pick. If Warren McClendon gets on board in the sixth round, he would be a great pick. At 6 foot 4, 306 pounds, he has excellent size and long arms. He can play in three positions. Despite his size, McClendon is not the most powerful guard. He’s a raw prospect but deserves a chance here.
Commanders don’t need to deal defensively. But at this point, when you see a talented player who can fit into your scheme, he is worth picking up. The 304-pound Silver began his career as a top recruit in Miami before transferring to Arizona State. He is not versatile, but he is a powerful presence in the middle of the defence.
You know, at some point, the Commander is going to take an edge defender. Three of the top four defensive ends are free agents after the 2023 season. And Chase Young could be if Washington doesn’t pick up his fifth-year option.
Fehoko size [6-foot-4, 276] Maybe someone wants to take him inside. He is a powerful, offensive player who was a highly productive collegiate player.