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Final 2022 Draft grades | Experts praise Commanders for selecting 'solid' draft class


The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinion of the team.

The 2022 NFL Draft has come to a close, and the experts are pleased with the eight-player haul the Washington Commanders picked up over the weekend.

That started with the selection of wide receiver Jahan Dotson with the No. 16 overall pick, who will bring what NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah called "the best hands in the draft" to the Commanders' offense. Ron Rivera mentioned ahead of the draft that the priority was to supply Carson Wentz with weapons, and now the Penn State alum will add to the Commanders' young, talented wideouts.

The Commanders went on to select seven more players -- five offensive and three defensive -- to fill out critical positional needs on both sides of the ball. The first four players -- Dotson, defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis, running back Brian Robinson Jr. and safety Percy Butler -- are ones Rivera believes will contribute immediately.

Here's how the pundits graded the class.

Analysis: "Trading down and then taking WR Jahan Dotson in the first round was fine. He'll provide a useful receiving complement to Terry McLaurin for new QB Carson Wentz. The Commanders went to an old standby of theirs -- drafting Alabama players -- for their second-round choice of DT Phidarian Mathis and their third-round pick of RB Brian Robinson Jr. Getting QB Sam Howell to begin the fifth round represented good value and provides a prospective fallback plan if Wentz is not the long-term solution."

Analysis: "Finding a wide receiver to complement Terry McLaurin was a big need for the Commanders heading. Dotson is a speedy guy who's a crisp route runner, but there are concerns about his size at just 178 pounds. It wasn't a bad pick, but feels like a bit of a reach. Defensive line wasn't a big need for Washington, but the Mathis pick is a good one, giving that group some insurance from injury. Robinson joins a crowded backfield. However, he brings one thing the rest of the running backs don't have, a tenacious downhill running style they'll appreciate on first and second downs. Of all of their day three picks, the one that people are going to be talking about is Howell. He's a little short, but he throws a nice deep ball and has the mobility to keep plays alive. It's hard to think of a fifth-round pick as a potential franchise quarterback, but Howell at least brings enough to the table to get a look."

Analysis: The Commanders were able to recoup the third-rounder lost in the Carson Wentz deal (via a Day 1 draft trade with the Saints) while finding a quick and sure-handed receiver in Dotson to help Wentz succeed and complement Terry McLaurin. Mathis will be a solid rotational player, and Robinson has the speed-power combination to be a good NFL back.

Addressing the safety spot was a must on Day 3 for Washington, and Butler was the best choice. Howell will prove to be an excellent pick in the fifth round whether or not he steps in for Wentz as a rookie. I love Paul as a guard, moving inside at the pro level just like Brandon Scherff. Turner's receiving skills will be used right away, as the team does not have enough options at tight end.

Analysis: "Washington got its annual complement of Alabama studs (DT Phidarian Mathis, RB Brian Robinson). But fifth-round QB Sam Howell could be the story here. He was taken late enough that he shouldn't pose an immediate threat to Wentz, yet Howell might also provide Day 3 Kirk Cousins-level returns down the road if circumstances force him into the lineup."

Analysis: "It seemed for a while that Washington was targeting a wide receiver in Round 1. The offense got little production from any target other than Terry McLaurin last season, and new quarterback Carson Wentz will need some improved targets. So credit the Commanders for moving down five spots in Round 1, adding third- and fourth-round picks from the Saints and still getting my fifth-ranked wideout. It's clear they preferred Jahan Dotson (16) over Chris Olave, whom the Saints took at 11, and that recouped draft capital helps offset the cost for trading for Wentz."

Check out first-round pick Jahan Dotson putting a Washington Commanders helmet for the first time.

Analysis: "You know, there are some solid players in this group. Dotson is the sure-handed, natural-separation target a scattershot QB like Wentz can really use, an he feels like a nice sidekick to Terry McLaurin, even if 16 felt a shade high. The two 'Bama picks certainly add toughness to the room. Howell adds a wildcard quality to the class, and Rivera seemed particularly fascinated by Turner, who always kept us interested as a prospect. There's just not a pick in here that immediately works us into a frenzy. Drafts such as these can be foundational elements, but there's no obvious future Pro Bowl player."

Analysis: "Phidarian Mathis is a high floor defensive lineman, and Sam Howell in Round 5 was tremendous value. Chris Paul is the other standout Day 3 pick."

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