As the Washington Commanders head into the offseason, they have several upcoming free agents. Their top free agent is guard Brandon Scherff. After playing back-to-back years on the franchise tag, the 30-year-old guard will likely play elsewhere next season. However, Washington’s top need is a quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is an upcoming free agent, while Taylor Heinicke had a rocky 2021 season. The Commanders have all their draft picks, minus their fifth-round selection. Thanks to a trade they made during the 2021 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles own the Commanders’ fifth-round pick. Let’s look at how the Commanders could attack the 2022 NFL Draft.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
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Round 1, Pick 11: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
After missing failing to draft a quarterback last year, Washington will once again be in the market this year. While there are reports that the Commanders will make a massive move for a quarterback this offseason, this mock draft will not include trades. If Washington fails to trade for a star quarterback like Russell Wilson, Willis should be their target with their first-round pick. While Willis is a raw prospect, he has tremendous upside. Furthermore, according to several league executives, Willis was the most impressive quarterback during the Senior Bowl week. If the Commanders decide to give Willis a year to sit and learn, Heinicke is a capable starter for the 2022 season.
For more on Willis, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 2, Pick 42: Jalen Pitre, SAF, Baylor
Washington hit a home run with the selection of Kamren Curl in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft. While he holds one starting spot, the other safety spot is undetermined. Bobby McCain played great last season but is an upcoming free agent. After a career year in 2021, he could find a big payday on the open market. Meanwhile, Landon Collins will likely get released, saving the team $6.5 million in cap space. Like Willis, Pitre had a great week down at the Senior Bowl. Some have compared Pitre to Tyrann Mathieu. If Pitre goes on to have half of the career Mathieu has played, the Commanders will have a steal with this pick.
For more on Pitre, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 3, Pick 73: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
Last year the Commanders spent their first-round pick on Jamin Davis. While he had an up and down rookie season, Washington remains high on the linebacker. However, Cole Holcomb is entering a contract year, and the Commanders lack talent and depth at the linebacker position. For the third pick in a row, Washington selects a player from the Senior Bowl. Not only was Muma terrific during the week of practice, but he also finished with a game-high nine tackles. Muma had a terrific career at Wyoming, totaling 142 tackles and three interceptions his senior year. Pairing Muma with Davis and Holcomb would give the Commands the best trio of linebackers in the division.
For more on Muma, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 4, Pick 111: Alec Lindstrom, iOL, Boston College
After playing back-to-back years on the franchise tag, Scherff will likely leave in free agency. Furthermore, Washington can save $10 million in cap space by releasing Ereck Flowers. Depending on how the Commands attack free agency, they could need two new starting guards. Lindstrom is the younger brother of the Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman, Chris Lindstrom. More importantly, Alec was a three-year starter at Boston College. He was just one of five players in school history to be a two-time First-Team All-ACC selection. While he played strictly center during his time at Boston College, many believe he can move to guard in the NFL.
Round 6, Pick 187: Josh Thompson, CB, Texas
The Commanders invested in the cornerback position last year. First, they signed William Jackson to a three-year deal. Then Washington spent a third-round pick on Benjamin St-Juste. However, the Commanders have several reserve cornerbacks set to hit the open market, including Darryl Roberts, Danny Johnson, and Corn Elder. Meanwhile, Thompson had a solid career at Texas, playing meaningful snaps since his freshman season. He scored his only career touchdown last season on a pick-six. Furthermore, Thompson is an excellent run support cornerback and can make tackles in space. His physicality also gives him the potential to play some snaps at safety.
Round 7, Pick 227: Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
Like at cornerback, Washington heavily invested in the wide receiver position last year. The Commands signed Curtis Samuel to a three-year deal. Then they spent a third-round pick on Dyami Brown. While many believe Washington needs to add a wide receiver, the truth is they only need to stay healthy. Hopefully, Samuel can stay healthy next year and play more than the 84 snaps he played in 2021. That said, the Commanders would be wise to add a wide receiver on day three of the draft. Fryfogle does a great job tracking the ball in the air and playing through contact. After a disappointing 2021 season, his draft stock took a hit. However, if the Commanders can land Fryfogle in the seventh round, that’s a value they can’t pass up.
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