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Logan Paulsen tags Commanders to bolster receiving corps in mock draft

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FILE - Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) scores a touchdown against the Miami during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. Alabama plays Georgia in the College Football Playoff national championship game on Jan. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

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

The days are slowly ticking away until the start of the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas.

The Washington Commanders, who own the 11th overall pick, have been connected to several players over the past four months, but with certain needs like quarterback being filled, many analysts have skill positions like receiver being addressed. On the defensive side, it looks like some are projecting the Commanders to find another safety or add to their cornerback rotation.

In preparation for when the Commanders do get on the clock, I have put together my own mock draft that lays out the entire first round. And on top of giving each team a primary pick, I've also listed a few other options that could be considered. So, let's dive into it with my first-round projections.

Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 1Jacksonville JaguarsDE Aiden HutchisonMichigan6-7260

Notes: Aiden Hutchinson seems like the most reasonable place to go with this pick. In a year where there is no sure fire top pick, Hutchinson seems like the safest bet. He had one year of high production, shows a nice technical acumen at the position, and plays hard seemingly every down. He appears to have the highest floor and for Jacksonville under a new regime.

Other options:

  • Part of the draft evaluation process is finding the guys who project best to the NFL, not necessarily the best college football player. A player that came out of the combine lighting the world on fire is Travon Walker out of Georgia. He might be the most impressive athlete in terms of combine numbers. He went from bottom of the first round to possibly the first pick in the draft. There is a lot of risk associated with this pick but with high risk comes high reward. While Walker would be a reach, the Jaguars could also go offensive Tackle Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 2Detroit LionsDE Travon WalkerGeorgia6-5275

Notes: As the draft nears, freakishly athletic Travon Walker seems like the pick. He has shot up draft boards post combine. He has a low pressure rate which is slightly concerning, but he has tremendous upside.

Other options:

  • Detroit is set at tackle with Taylor Decker and last year's first-round pick, Penei Sewell, meaning Detroit will most likely pass on Neal and Ekwonu. As a result, they will likely go defense. I wouldn't be surprised if they went with my best-graded defensive player available in Sauce Gardner. Questions about Kayvon Thibodeaux's passion for the game would make him a little rich for me personally at this pick, but the tools and production would be enough to justify his selection at No. 2 overall.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 3Houston TexansOT Ikem EkwonuN.C. State6-4310

Notes: Ikem Ekwonu has the most exciting tape for any offensive lineman in the draft and plays with immense physicality. Houston does have other needs, but at this point, Ekwonu is the best player available.

Other options:

  • Houston as a lot of needs They could go anywhere: Travon Walker, Sause Guardner, Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux. Because this team has two picks in the top 13 it makes the rest of the draft tough to predict.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeight 5Weight
No. 4New York JetsCB Sauce GardnerCincinnati6-3190

Notes: Sauce Gardner has the length and the physicality to play the position at a high level. It shows on film that the game is important to him, and if I'm building a team, I want to prioritize that.

Other options:

  • Kayvon Thibodeaux would fit their desired team building strategy. They have publicly expressed a need for a WR, and Garrett Wilson is my No. 1 WR in this class. Taking him fourth overall seems too high, though.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 5New York GiantsOT Evan NealAlabama6-7350

Notes: Evan Neal is a massive human who moves with the grace of a smaller man. He gets over extended at times, but he is the most technically sound tackle in the top group and has played right tackle, unlike Ekwonu and Cross. Love the fit; he makes the Giants better Day 1.

Other options:

  • Kayvon Thibodeaux would be a great fit here opposite Azeez Ojulari. I think Neal is the safer pick- especially given the the goal of supporting Daniel Jones.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 6Carolina PanthersQB Kenny PickettPittsburgh6-3217

Notes: Kenny Pickett is a pick that stems from necessity. He has the potential to be a solid NFL starter but should not be taken this high. Ideally, they would make a play for Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield, but their lack of draft capital (they don't have a second- or third-round pick this year) and the miss on Sam Darnold last year puts them in a tough situation.

Other options:

  • In a perfect world, Charles Cross is the pick for them but they need help at the most important position in the sport. Malik Wills is the most dynamic QB in this draft, and if you are picking sixth and need a QB, why not swing for the fences?
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 7New York GiantsDE Kayvon ThibodeauxOregon6-4254

Notes: "Does he love the game?" was a comment I got a lot when talking about Kayvon Thibodeaux, but he is the most explosive edge rusher in the class and plays with good length. He lacks top level polish but plays with a physicality that reminds me of Khalil Mack.

Other options:

  • If Kayvon Thibodeaux is off the board when the Giants pick at seventh, they might reach for the next best edge in the class Jermaine Johnson.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 8Atlanta FalconsWR Garrett WilsonOhio State6-0183

Notes: The roster lacks a lot of key elements but I think they go with the explosive playmaker Garrett Wilson to complement Kyle Pitts. Wilson is the most polished route runner of the class and reminds me a lot of Calvin Ridley.

Other options:

  • Depending on who the Falcons like at WR, they could go Drake London or Jameson Williams. Edge rusher Jermaine Johnson would also be an intriguing fit for a pass rush-needy team. Quarterback is also an option here but Arthur Smith seems content to start the rebuild with Marcus Mariota.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 9Seattle SeahawksOT Charles CrossMississippi State6-5307

Notes: This pick is easy because they are needy at Tackle and my best player available is Charles Cross. He has a fantastic feel for pass protection and was the highest graded tackle in that category by Pro Football Focus. The more you watch him, the more you like him. He's not the same physical freaks at as Neal or Ekwonu but shows a tremendous feel for the position.

Other options:

  • Charles Cross seems like such a natural fit that it is hard to imagine another player in this spot (assuming Seattle doesn't trade back). Devin Lloyd would be a fantastic fit. He is one of my favorite players in the draft, but drafting an off ball linebacker ninth seems a little rich. They might also look at quarterback.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 10New York JetsDE Jermaine JohnsonFlorida State6-5254

Notes: In this mock, the Jets don't get a wide receiver in the first round, but they do get one of the best pass rushers in the draft. Jermaine Johnson is physical, plays hard and was unblockable at the Senior Bowl.

Other options:

  • Jameson William or Drake London would obviously be in play. The Jets might wait on WR and grab a capable high upside WR like Christian Watson with the 35th pick. If they were to to Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fourth overall pick, they might take Derek Stingley Jr.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 11Washington CommandersWR Jameson WilliamsAlabama6-1.5179

Notes: Jameson Williams would have been my No. 1 WR if he had not torn his ACL. He is by far the most explosive offensive playmaker in this draft and as the potential to be something special. He is tough and you can tell from the film the game is important to him.

Other options:

  • People in the DMV have been calling for a big WR and Drake London fits the bill. I really like what he brings but have questions about his top end speed. Devin Lloyd plays the game the way it should be played and is an excellent prototype at the position. Kyle Hamilton is big and rangy but lack of top end speed is a big concern especially with other guys like Jaquan Brisker and Jalen Pitre who can play the buffalo nickel role. Derek Stingley was a fantastic football player in 2019 but his lack of consistency and passion for the game make me leary of him. Jordan Davis is well known at this point for his incredible combine but no one in this class eats double teams the way this guy does.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 12Minnesota VikingsCB Derek Stingley Jr.LSU6-0195

Notes: I originally had Trent McDuffie to Minnesota, so this was a last-minute change for me. McDuffie's tape is awesome, but he measured poorly at the combine. While I don't doubt Stingley's talent, he had some plays which make me question his character. Ultimately talent wins out, though, and Minnesota has the chance to get a generational player at 12.

Other options:

  • Mcduffie is the safer more consistent pick. If the new staff needs to ensure a solid pro this might be the way they go, Jordan Davis would be a nice fit in the Brandon Staley defensive tree where the ability to play a gap and a half is paramount.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 13Houston TexansS Kyle HamiltonNotre Dame6-4220

Notes: Kyle Hamilton plays all over the field for Notre Dame. His instincts are what makes him special, but I am worried about the top end speed. His explosive metrics dictate that he should be faster but I am not sure the tape supports it. If he pans out, he will be a game-changer on a defense that needs it.

Other options:

  • On a team filled with holes there are a lot of alternative pics, Devin Lloyd is fantastic and Jordan Davis could be the best player in the draft.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 14Baltimore RavensDT Jordan DavisGeorgia6-6341

Notes: Jordan Davis is the true unicorn of this draft. There are only a couple of people on the planet who are as big and strong as he is. His low snap numbers and conditioning are concerning. However, he does things on film that I have never seen before. He is very similar to his Georgia teammate Travon Walker.

Other options:

  • I have Travon Walker going No. 2 overall, but if he were to slide this would be a nice fit for him. Jermaine Johnson is another who would fit well. If the Jets go another way at eleven, Baltimore might get a heck of a football player. Devonte Wyatt is another interesting fit and was more productive in college than either of his Georgia teammates.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 15Philadelphia EaglesLB Devin LloydUtah6-3237

Notes: Devin Lloyd has ideal size and instincts and plays the game with a level of violence associated with the middle linebacker position. Has an outstanding coverage grade via PFF but the 4.7 40 time at the Combine may cause him to slide. If Philadelphia goes a different direction, it is a long time before the next LB-needy team gets on the clock.

Other options:

  • Devonte Wyatt would be a nice rotational piece especially with Fletcher Cox nearing the end of his career.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 16New Orleans SaintsQB Malik WIllisLiberty6-1219

Notes: This is probably the perfect team for Malik Willis. He may end up going higher than I have him ranked on my big board, but his potential for a team with two picks in the draft is too good to pass up. He has the highest upside of any QB in the draft and will be fortunate to sit for a year behind Jameis Winston.

Other options:

  • The Saints need a left tackle, and Trevor Penning is available. To my eye, he's a right tackle or a guard. Tyler Smith is athletic enough to play left tackle but is so technically raw he wouldn't be able to step in right away. Bernhard Raimann is a tremendous athlete but has only been playing the position for two years and is 26 years old.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 17Los Angeles ChargersOT Trevor PenningNorther Iowa6-7325

Notes: Penning is nasty and physical with athletic numbers that were better than expected. He will be a nice complement to Rashawn Slater and a pivotal part of keeping Justin Herbert upright. Small school competition and foot speed issues are concerning, but the Chargers are betting on the athlete and the character.

Other options:

  • Trevor Penning is the most NFL ready right tackle available at this point. However, the athletic upside of Tyler Smith would be intriguing here. Devonte Wyatt's athleticism would be a nice addition to the suddenly vaunted Chargers front.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 18Philadelphia EaglesWR Drake LondonUSC6-4219

Notes: Drake London is a fun player to watch. He has good foot work, short area quickness, elite toughness and a basketball ability to high point the ball. I worry about his top end speed but love everything else about the player.

Other options:

  • Trent McDuffie here would be a fantastic fit. He shows excellent instincts in zone coverages which Philadelphia ran a ton of last year. I think Mcduffie is the second best corner in the class, but teams might get infatuated with Kaiir Elam's physical tools.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 19New Orleans SaintsWR Chris OlaveOhio State6-0187

Notes: I am lower on Chris Olave than most. I have him here after some conversations with people around the NFL. However he is an explosive big play threat with route running nuance that will upgrade the Saints receiving core.

Other options:

  • Much like the QB board, there is no consensus regarding the wide receivers. I could easily see New Orleans going a different direction at the position. Treylon Burks, Jahan Dotson are popular names, but Christian Watson with his size and speed could cause someone to reach for him.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 20Pittsburgh SteelersCB Trent McDuffieWashington5-11193

Notes: Trent McDuffie has short arms (29.75 inches), which historically for a corner has been a death sentence. He is a heck of a football player with calm feet and good instincts in zone coverage.

Other options:

  • The Steelers have been linked to Malik Wills, and if his here, they may take him. With the top receivers off the board, Jahan Dotson might be a reach but I love the fit. They need offensive line help and could go with Zion Johnson or Bernhard Raimann.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 21New England PatriotsG Zion JohnsonBoston College6-3312

Notes: Initially I was out on Zion Johnson, but as I've watched more film and spoken to more people around the league, it looks like he is the best guard in the class. To me, he is a Patriot player who offers some positional versatility along the offensive line.

Other options:

  • New England historically marches to the beat of their own drummer when it comes to draft analysis. Safety Jalen Pitre is one of my favorite players in the draft. He had a great senior bowl which the Patriots historically value. Pitre feels like a high second-round guy, but the Patriots might surprise everyone with this slight reach on an excellent football player.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 22Green Bay PackersOT Bernhard RaimannCentral Michigan6-7305

Notes: Bernhard Raimann is a tremendous athlete and would fit the outside Packers' outside zone theme well.

Other options:

  • The Packers need receiver depth badly. If Chris Olave slips here, I believe they would take him in a heartbeat. I have them taking Bernhard Raimann because I think he has high upside, fills a need and is my highest rated player that is still available. However, If the Packers designate receiver as a bigger need, they could easily go that direction with this pick
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 23Arizona CardinalsDT Devonte WyattGeorgia6-3304

Notes: Devonte Wyatt is the third Georgia defensive lineman off the board despite the fact that he was the most productive college player of the group. He is a good athlete who doesn't have the upside of Walker and Davis but might end up being the best pro of the three.

Other options:

  • This could be a potential landing spot for Tyler Linderbaum the all world center from Iowa. But I think Devonte Wyatt's killer Senior Bowl wins out.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 24Dallas CowboysG Kenyon GreenTexas A&M6-4323

Notes: Kenyon Green might not be the athlete that Zion Johnson is, but he plays physical and understands angles. He started at four of the five offensive line positions last year and fits well with Dallas's physical running scheme.

Other options:

  • Dallas is needy at a couple of positions. If Bernhard Raimann or Trevor Penning were to slip, the Cowboys could go that direction. With the departure of Amari Cooper, I wouldn't be surprised if they took a shot at Jahan Dotson, Treylon Burks or one of the high upside guys Christian Watson or Alex Peirce.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 25Buffalo BillsCB Kaiir ElamFlorida6-2195

Notes: Kaiir Elam one of the tallest corners in the class. Plays with great feet and nice length. He shows some high level coverage ability, although I have some questions about his commitment to tackling.

Other options:

  • Kaiir Elam's lack of top end toughness has me questioning this pick. Andrew Booth Jr. plays with his hair on fire, is a physical tackler and has great athletic measurables. I love his mindset, but his footwork is erratic and I think he needs time to develop. If Devonte Wyatt were to fall He would be a nice fit for the bills defensive front.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 26Tennessee TitansOT Tyler SmithTulsa6-5330

Notes: Tyler Smith Is flying up draft boards. Every O-line coach I have spoken with loves him. His a big physical athlete who embraces the physical side of the game. He needs some technical work but is a ball of clay with tremendous upside that can play guard or tackle.

Other options:

  • A big need for Tennessee is CB and WR. Andrew Booth Jr would be interesting here because he strikes me as a Mike Vrabel type of player, His erratic footwork would have me look elsewhere, though. Jahan Dotson and Treylon Burks would also be interesting fits, but I think the upside of Tyler Smith is too enticing.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 27Tampa Bay BuccaneersDT Travis JonesUConn6-4325

Notes: Travis Jones is a monster of a man who was physically dominant at the Senior Bowl. His tape is raw, but he is a nice first- and second-down player who could develop some pass rush ability. Also, picturing him next to Vita Vea is a fun idea.

Other options:

  • The Buccaneers have a need at left guard with Ali Marpet's retirement. Darian Kinnard is my next-highest rated guard and I love the potential of Cole Strange but selecting. Nakobe Dean from Georgia would be interesting, but I have questions about his physical limitations.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 28Green Bay PackersWR Jahan DotsonPenn State6-0179

Notes: Jahan Dotson didn't run as well as I thought he would at the combine but has the best hands in the class and is quick in and out of his breaks.

Other options:

  • Jahan Dotson is the safest pick if the Packers choose to go receiver. However, if they want to draft players with higher upside Christian Watson and Alex Peirce are explosive freaks.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 29Kansas City ChiefsWR Treylon BurksArkansas6-2225

Notes: Treylon Burks is more of a playmaker rather than a pure WR to me. Slow 40 times and weight issues are a concern, but he has some electric plays on his tape. He needs a coach like Andy Reid to get the most out of him.

Other options:

  • I liked Christian Watson here, but they signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling and the two players are very similar. Alex Peirce is interesting because of the explosive qualities but not sure about the offensive fit. Calvin Austin III is a jitterbug speedster who Andy Reid and company could have a lot of fun with. While this is higher than I would take him, he is a player that can take advantage of all the space Kansas City's offense creates.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 30Kansas City ChiefsDE Arnold EbiketiePenn State6-3256

Notes: Arnold Ebiketie has been a late riser for me. He plays with awesome physicality and violent hands. He has twitch and a physical rushing style which leads to consistent pressure.

Other options:

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. George Karlaftis has elite movement skills but lacks the physicality I am looking for against the run. Boye Mafe had an outstanding senior bowl but is extremely raw in terms of his rush angels. Despite my reservation either could slip their way into the first round.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 31Cincinnati BengalsC Tyler LinderbaumIowa6-2295

Notes: I don't love taking a center in the first round, even one as good as Tyler Linderbaum, but he is a smart, technically sound football player who plays the position like a seasoned NFL vet and can be a day one starter for any team.

Other options:

  • If they chose to go offensive line a dark horse for the first round is Daniel Faalele. Current projections have him all over the draft, but I've heard a lot people around the NFL comparing him to Orlando Brown. I see it as well, and if he is that good, he could be a late first-round selection.
Table inside Article
PickTeamPlayerSchoolHeightWeight
No. 32Detroit LionsQB Desmond RidderCincinnati6-3207

Notes: Desmond Ridder is a second round player with a lot of growing to. His intangibles are off the charts. The Detroit lions take a shot at him in the first round to ensure the fifth-year option.

Other options:

  • You're playing with house money at the end of the draft. Nakobe Dean is a better football player and seems like a Dan Campbell type of guy.

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