The Washington Commanders simply cannot avoid mediocrity. Since 2015, they have won between seven to nine games in every season with the exception of a 3-13 record in 2019. The 2022 season was more of the same as the Commanders finished 8-8-1 while missing the playoffs.
Washington has not won a playoff game since 2005. How can the franchise take the next step? It starts with the 2023 NFL Draft. The Commanders have several clear needs heading into the offseason.
2022 Season Record: 8-8-1
Status of Coach: Ron Rivera – Safe
Positions of Need
- Offensive line
- Defensive back
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 16
- Round 2, Pick 47
Potential First-Round Targets
The Commanders have an odd situation at quarterback. At this point, Carson Wentz should no longer be a starter and Taylor Heinicke has proved his ceiling as a solid backup. Heinicke is a free agent and Wentz could opt out of his contract and become a free agent. More than likely, one will be back, giving Washington a good backup option.
However, the issue is figuring out who will be the starter. Fifth-round rookie Sam Howell showed off his potential in a solid outing against the Dallas Cowboys in the final week of the regular season. Since then, reports have emerged that the Commanders plan on starting Howell next season. Washington will likely pass on drafting a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. If Howell does not work out, the Commanders could spend a first-round pick in the 2024 draft.
So which positions could Washington target with the No. 16 pick? The secondary must be improved. Cornerback, in particular, is a big need. Benjamin St-Juste had a solid second season and looks to be a building block. The Commanders could use another young cornerback with high potential.
The No. 16 pick is the perfect position to take a cornerback. Kelee Ringo (Georgia), Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State), Christian Gonzalez (Oregon), and Cam Smith (South Carolina) are promising middle first-round prospects that will likely be selected between picks 10 to 20. Porter and Gonzalez could be the best fits with their lengthy 6-foot-2 frames. Porter is the more physical prospect that excels in man coverage while Gonzalez is rangier with elite speed. Both also have impressive ball skills.
Falling in love with the skillset of Oregon CB 0 Christian Gonzalez. pic.twitter.com/yJwMzFQJuA
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 13, 2023
Learn More About the NFC East 2023
- Dallas Cowboys 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
- New York Giants 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
- Philadelphia Eagles 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
Potential Second-Round Targets
After cornerback, offensive tackle could be the next priority. Washington could use an offensive guard as well, but there will likely be more tackle options in the second round. Plus, the right tackle spot is the biggest need on the O-line.
Darnell Wright (Tennessee), Dawand Jones (Ohio State), and Jaelyn Duncan (Maryland) are potential targets. Wright and Duncan have great athleticism and ideal size at 6-foot-6. Duncan could require the most work but has high potential with his length. Jones is the largest at 6-foot-8, 359 pounds. The Ohio State product is the least athletic of the three due to his size, but Jones could be the most NFL-ready and has the best potential as a run blocker.