The Washington Commanders signed two of their 2023 draft picks -- third-round pick and former Arkansas center Ricky Stromberg as well as fourth-round pick and former Utah tackle Braeden Daniels -- to rookie deals today.
A four-star recruit out of high school, Stromberg (6-foot-3, 306 pounds) did not have to wait long before experiencing his first real taste of SEC football. In the tail end of his freshman season at Arkansas, he started 11 games, twice at left guard and nine times at right guard. During his sophomore year, Stromberg moved to center, where he took on a starting role throughout the entirety of the season. After playing in 11 contests as a senior, Stromberg's career in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was capped off with a Jacobs Blocking Trophy, an award given to the conference's top offensive lineman.
"Center prospect with enough athleticism and strength to be considered scheme independent," wrote NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. "He has an innate feel for angles and positioning that leads to some unexpected block wins. Stromberg has a chance to become a starting center with the flexibility to play guard if needed." Scouts and analysts have commended his great awareness, consistent timing, ability to switch up his feet on a dime and grittiness through contact.
Daniels (6-foot-4, 294 pounds) ascended to a primary role in the trenches with the Utes in the 2019 season and never looked back. That season, he started in all 14 of Utah's games at left tackle. In the COVID-shortened 2022 campaign, he played in all five of the Utes' contests (one at left guard). After starting every game in 2021, he earned second-team All-Pac 12 conference honors. In his final season, he received first-team all-conference notice for his performances in 14 starts. In the entirety of his collegiate career, Daniels allowed just five sacks in nearly 1,400 pass-blocking snap, per Pro Football Focus.
"Active, athletic offensive lineman offering room for development at guard or tackle. Daniels is an impactful down blocker with the quickness to handle zone-blocking duties," wrote NFL.com's Lance Zierlein.
The Commanders signed KJ Henry, Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Andre Jones Jr. to rookie deals on May 12. Only two of the team's draft picks -- first-round pick Emmanuel Forbes and second-round pick Jartavius Martin -- remain unsigned.