What would it look like if Commanders traded down from 11? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Eleventh overall is a funky spot to pick in the NFL draft. Most if not all the generational talents will be off the board, yet franchise players and potential future All-Pros could still be available.
That enigmatic 11th position is exactly where the Washington Commanders find themselves this spring. There is undoubtedly a bevy of talent for Washington to choose from at 11—from new receiving targets for Carson Wentz to work with, to QBs who could back him up, to defensive backs who could take the Commanders’ secondary to the next level.
But what if Washington decided to move down from No. 11? Nobody ever likes that idea— Why would you ever want to downgrade a pick? But in this case, with this year’s draft class, it might just make sense for the Commanders to relinquish the 11th pick in favor of building more draft capital for future, perhaps more loaded classes.
Here are three potential trade-down scenarios Washington could consider before they’re on the clock:
WAS trades down to late teens, adds WR depth
One of the Commanders’ biggest needs in the draft is adding a dynamic receiver to play opposite Terry McLaurin. The thing is, they don’t necessarily need the 11th pick to do that. Plenty of talented playmakers are ripe for the picking in 2022, including Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.
In fact, NBC Sports Washington already pegged Wilson as a great option for the 11th pick. But not here, not after a trade down the draft board.
This time, Washington snags Drake London out of USC with a pick in the late teens. London could conceivably drop to the 20s, which wouldn’t be a surprise considering how stacked this wide-receiver class is. He’s got the Mike Evans physique, the Michael Thomas hands and route-running, and the elusiveness of a D.K. Metcalf. He forced more missed tackles than any other receiver since 2019, per PFF—a sturdy pick for Washington to give Wentz more targets and McLaurin some breathing room.
WAS boosts secondary in late-first round
Defensive backs, along with edge rushers, are arguably the deepest position group in this class with wide receivers being a close third. William Jackson III’s first year in D.C. was largely disappointing, but obviously, things could turn around in his second season here. Jackson III, Kendall Fuller, Danny Johnson, and Benjamin St-Juste largely round out Washington’s cornerback core.
Beyond that, it would be wise for the Commanders to invest in their secondary beyond 2022. Andrew Booth Jr. out of Clemson comes to mind as a possible suitor. Booth is great in zone coverage but is also supremely athletic and “explodes out of his backpedal and shows above-average ball skills,” per Todd McShay.
The Commanders allowed the league’s most passing touchdowns, second-most yards per attempt, and fourth-most passing yards in 2021. Could Booth Jr. right the wrong going forward?
WAS drafts QB of the future in Round 2
Ah yes, the age-old quarterback question. It wouldn’t be a proper offseason without QB rumors swirling in Washington, would it?
Carson Wentz’s contract is structured as such so that he’s locked into D.C. for one year, but the Commanders can choose to pick up his option for a second and even third year based on performance. We can’t see the future, but even if Wentz pans out for all three of those years, Washington would still need to look beyond his availability. Enter Ole Miss standout Matt Corral.
Corral suffered an ankle sprain in the Sugar Bowl for Ole Miss which might have spooked some NFL front offices. He should be able to plow through and become a solid, possibly electric pro quarterback. Behind the likes of Malik Willis, Corral could arguably be tied with three or four other guys for second-best QB in this class. He’s a quick-thinking, mobile QB who could be the face of the franchise down the road for the Burgundy & Gold.