Commanders land quarterback in new ESPN 2-round mock draft
It’s no secret the Washington Commanders need stability at the quarterback position. It’s why Washington is seemingly in on every veteran quarterback each offseason. It never works for various reasons. The Commanders need to find a young quarterback in the NFL draft, develop, and build around him.
That’s easier said than done. The Commanders selected Sam Howell in the fifth round last year. Howell started the final game and did some excellent things with his arm and legs in a blowout win over the Dallas Cowboys. That promise has head coach Ron Rivera telling prospective offensive coordinator candidates that Howell will have the opportunity to win the starting quarterback job in 2023.
That doesn’t mean Washington still isn’t looking at the draft and veteran options. You could make the argument that Rivera shouldn’t have the opportunity to make another significant move at quarterback, with possible new ownership coming in soon.
The soundest plan for Washington is to rebuild the offensive line this offseason. However, if you love a quarterback, you can’t be afraid of making a move.
In Matt Miller’s latest two-round mock draft for ESPN, he has one of the draft’s top four quarterbacks falling to the Commanders at No. 16 in Florida’s Anthony Richardson:
The quarterback situation in Washington is less than ideal with Taylor Heinicke hitting free agency and Carson Wentz no longer a viable starting option. The Commanders did draft Sam Howell in the fifth round of the 2022 draft, but rarely do Day 3 quarterbacks become franchise passers. With Richardson on the board, this is the pick that makes the most sense.
He is not a finished product after starting just 13 games in college, but his highs are incredibly high and he has the highest ceiling of this quarterback class — if he can put everything together. Richardson, who is 6-4 and 232 pounds, has the strongest arm of the class, too, and he pairs that with game-changing running ability. The downside? Nine interceptions to just 17 touchdown passes in 2022 and a QBR of 71.2 show that Richardson’s accuracy needs work before he’s a complete passer. He completed just 54.7% of his throws over his career.
Richardson has talent. If there were no pressure on Washington to win in 2023, Richardson could be the pick. It never hurts to continue to take chances on finding a franchise quarterback. However, Richardson needs development. Howell does, too. Howell is further ahead at this moment, and the Commanders aren’t really in a position to take on another developmental quarterback and skip their many needs along the offensive line.
In the second round, Miller had Washington taking another need by selecting Miami cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. Again, another talented player who can help the Commanders in 2023. But if Washington followed this strategy and didn’t use at least one of its first two picks on the offensive line, well,