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10 third-round prospects who could be available for the Commanders on Day 2

Auburn running back Tank Bigsby (4) carries the ball against San Jose State during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Auburn running back Tank Bigsby (4) carries the ball against San Jose State during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

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The Washington Commanders are getting closer to being on the clock with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but the three-day event is full of other opportunities for them to improve their roster.

The Commanders have eight picks in this year's draft, two of which come on Day 2. They have one pick in the third round (No. 97 overall) but they have managed to find solid players in that round, such as Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson.

So, here are 10 players who could be available when the Commanders are on the clock in the third round.

Zacch Pickens, DT, South Carolina 

Pickens showed off his athleticism at the combine with a 4.89 40-yard dash time and a 4.62 20-yard shuttle. He's an athletic, disruptive presence against the pass, although he will need to put on some more size to avoid being pushed around by NFL offensive linemen in the run game. 

Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina 

Rush was one of the fastest cornerbacks at the combine with a 4.36 40-yard dash. He pairs that with impressive length (6-foot-2) and decent size (198 pounds) for the cornerback position. He's coming off a strong second half to his college career with 64 tackles, three interceptions and 15 pass breakups since 2021.  

Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa 

LaPorta had 111 combined receptions in 2022 and 2021, and he rewarded the team's faith in him by recording 1,327 yards and four touchdowns in that span. He's more of a pass-catcher than a blocker, but his ability to beat zone coverage could make him an ideal red zone target in his rookie season.

Nick Saldiveri, G, Old Dominion

Saldiveri is one of the best offensive linemen that the Sun Belt has to offer this year. After not allowing a sack, he earned Second Team All-Sun Belt honors and was invited to the Reese's Senior Bowl. Saldiveri was a three-year starter for Old Dominion and made program history as the first offensive lineman to score a touchdown.

Carter Warren, T, Pittsburgh

Standing at nearly 6-foot-6, Warren was a team captain for Pittsburgh and started in 2018 as well as 2019 before suffering a season-ending injury in 2022. He does have some technical issues, such as playing too high, that will need to be worked out, but the right coach could develop him into a competent starter at some point in his career.

Jaelyn Duncan, T, Maryland

Duncan was a mainstay on the Terps' offensive line with 39 starts over the last four seasons. An Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection in 2022, Duncan has stretches where he shows exceptional athleticism and quickness that makes him an intriguing prospect, but he will need more consistency before he can be an NFL starter.

Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pittsburg

Abanikanda was a touchdown machine for Pittsburgh last season with 21 total scores. The team nearly doubled his touches in 2022, and he responded by putting up a career-high 1,431 yards while averaging six yard per carry.

Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State

Strange was more of a blocker for Penn State, but he was a reliable target when called upon with 11 touchdowns in his college career. He only had 52 receptions in his final two seasons, although he has the potential to be more of a threat in the passing game if he gets more targets.

Chandler Zavala, G, N.C. State

Zavala gained 60 pounds between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Fairmont State and earned First Team All-Mountain East honors as a left guard. He then transferred to N.C. State and was a First Team All-ACC selection in 2022 for his ability to dominate defensive tackles in the run game.

Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn

Bigsby only ran a 4.56 at the combine but has plenty of speed to give defenses fits. He was one of Auburn's best offensive weapons with 1,000 scrimmage yards in two of his three seasons with the Tigers. He will not be a starter in his first season, but his blend of power and quickness will make him a strong addition to an NFL backfield.

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