The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
It's the start of the third season in the Ron Rivera era, and the Washington Commanders have a pristine opportunity to strengthen their roster.
In his first season as Washington's head coach, Rivera took Chase Young, who became the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year, with the No. 2 overall pick. The next season, he drafted Jamin Davis with the No. 19 overall pick, and the former Kentucky Wildcat showed promise in his first season.
Now, the Commanders have the No. 11 overall pick, and analysts are predicting them to go with a plethora of positions, from linebacker to safety and quarterback, at that spot.
In anticipation for that selection, Commanders.com will highlight one mock draft from a draft expert each week and delve into how that player would fit with Washington. Here are the players covered in previous weeks:
Next up, we're taking a look at who Nate Davis is predicting the Commanders to take in the first round.
Drake London, WR, USC
It's been a while since anyone has seen what London can do on the field. He suffered a broken ankle eight games in the Trojans' season. Not only did London miss the final four contests, but the injury also prevented him from participating in the Combine.
With that said, there are still many who view London as one of the best prospects in the draft, and Davis believes the Commanders will add him to bolster their receiving corps.
USC was far from the powerhouse it's historically known for being in 2021. They want 4-8 with a 3-6 conference record, losing the last four games. But as part of an offense that averaged nearly 24 points per game, London was the star. He had at least 130 yards in six of his eight games, including five straight, and amassed 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns.
London ranked ninth in yards per route run when lined up as an outside receiver, and there's a reason why the Trojans put so much trust in him outside the numbers. He grabbed 23 contested catches over the last two seasons, 19 of which came in 2021. Despite missing a chunk of the season, he still led college football in the category.
"Every day he walks out there, I'm just amazed by the plays that he makes," USC head coach Clay Helton told Pro Football Focus' Austin Gayle. "I expect huge things from him."
Helton is right to have high hopes for London, because the Moorpark, California, native has already accomplished some impressive feats. He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press and received a first team all-conference selection.
"London, who played on the USC basketball team in 2019-20, towers over Pac-12 defenders, and he can outleap just about any corner," wrote ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. "I noticed a few concentration drops this season -- he had five after just one the previous two seasons -- but he does have soft hands and a huge catch radius."
Some have compared London to Tampa Bay's Mike Evans because of his 6-foot-4, 219-pound frame. PFF's Mike Renner has another one in mind: Brandon Marshall.
"He consistently can move the chains, one-on-one," Renner said in December of 2021.
The numbers back up that statement as well; over the past two seasons, London has 19 receptions resulting in gains of at least 15 yards. That ranks fifth in that span and is only two behind Treylon Burks, who led with 21.
"The game slows down for him when the ball comes out," wrote NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. "London was a top-flight basketball player so angles to the ball, body positioning and high-pointing come very naturally to him, turning a 50-50 ball into a 70-30 advantage."
Zierlein pointed out that London would be best suited to play for a team that has a play-caller who can utilize his strengths. That's another reason why pairing London to Washington would make sense. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner is known for that trait, electing to let players thrive with their skillsets.
Washington already has a plethora of young receivers led by McLaurin, including Dyami Brown, last year's third-round pick. Washington hasn't used a first-round pick on a receiver since 2016, but if a player like London is available, it might be tempting for the Commanders to grab him.
"He's a mismatch with that size and physicality and that length that he brings," Kiper said.