Commanders land a tight end in 2019 redraft

The Washington Commanders entered the 2019 NFL draft with the No. 15 overall pick. Jay Gruden was heading into a critical sixth season as head coach and badly needed to win.

Of course, Washington had no shot with Bruce Allen as general manager and Dan Snyder as owner. Still, Gruden needed a solid draft to give him any chance of lasting another entire season.

As the draft neared, rumors swirled that Snyder wanted Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Why? Because his son went to high school with him in Maryland. Still, no one believed Snyder would eventually overrule the scouts, primarily Kyle Smith, and pick Haskins.

He did. But to appease the football people, he allowed the team to move back into the first round and draft Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat.

In the third round, Washington stole Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin.

That season was a disaster, though. Gruden was fired after an 0-5 start, and Allen was finally fired after the season. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for Haskins, and he was released late in the 2020 season, while Sweat became a consistent performer on a solid (at times) defense.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently looked back at that draft and did a redraft. It looks much different for Washington. Sweat lands at No. 5 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and McLaurin goes No. 12 to the Green Bay Packers.

Washington’s pick is former Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. The Detroit Lions initially selected Hockenson No. 8 overall and later traded him to the Minnesota Vikings, where he thrived.

In a redraft, Washington instead selects Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson, who was originally drafted eighth overall by the Lions.

The Commanders had a need for a quality tight end in 2019, as Jeremy Sprinkle went on to lead the position group with a mere 241 receiving yards and a touchdown that season. Washington did eventually find a capable tight end by signing Logan Thomas in 2020. However, Thomas was more good than great and had his fair share of injury issues in Washington.

The Commanders signed Zach Ertz this offseason, and Thomas has since made his way to San Francisco.

Hockenson has been a great tight end when healthy and has made the Pro Bowl in both Detroit and Minnesota. While he’s currently working his way back from ACL and MCL tears, the 26-year-old should still have a bright future ahead of him.

Adding Hockenson here would help stabilize a key position for the Commanders and allow them to come away from the draft with a playmaker despite missing out on Terry McLaurin.

Washington fans would be pleased with Hockenson, but they will never accept any circumstance in which McLaurin is not with the franchise. Fans haven’t had a lot to root for over the past five seasons, but McLaurin has been a consistently positive presence on and off the field.

It’s all hypothetical, but it’s a fun exercise nonetheless.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire