Should the Commanders spend an early-round pick on a tight end?
On paper, it was hard not to like what the Washington Commanders had at tight end in 2022. Veteran Logan Thomas, coming off an ACL injury, was back and ready for Week 1.
In addition to Thomas, Washington had John Bates entering his second season and a pair of rookies in fifth-round pick Cole Turner and former college quarterback Armani Rogers.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. Thomas looked a step slow last season, which should be expected since he returned to the lineup just nine months after surgery. Washington also had its share of quarterback issues.
But it can’t be ignored that Thomas will be 32 in Week 1 and costs $8.7 million against the salary cap in 2023, per Over the Cap.
As for the other guys, Bates is an excellent blocker and catches about everything but is limited athletically. Turner battled injuries and failed to impress as a rookie, while Rogers stole the show in the summer, forcing his way onto the team. While Rogers flashed in limited opportunities, he also battled a late-season injury. Also, it didn’t appear that former offensive coordinator Scott Turner always knew how best employ Rogers.
All are under contract for 2023.
That begs the question, should Washington consider drafting a tight end in the early rounds of the 2023 NFL draft?
At this week’s Reese’s Senior Bowl, Washington has four coaches in the game, giving them unprecedented access to the talent on both sides. One player who is having a terrific week is Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave.
At 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, Musgrave has the size teams covet. He is also fast. Really fast. Check this out from Dane Brugler of The Athletic:
Top-8 fastest (MPH) players clocked during Senior Bowl practices (h/t @ZebraTechnology)
21.65 CB Darius Rush
21.22 CB Jakorian Bennett
21.15 WR Trey Palmer
20.24 WR Tre Tucker
20.19 RB Tyjae Spears
20.16 WR Tank Dell
20.12 LB Isaiah Land
20.05 TE Luke Musgrave (at 255 lbs !!!)
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 3, 2023
He wasn’t one of the top eight fastest tight ends at the Senior Bowl. He was timed as one of the top eight overall fastest players. Musgrave was already considered a day-two prospect, and now teams will dig back into his college film to see if his play speed matches. It will.
Musgrave has good college tape, and there’s no doubt NFL teams will pay close attention to what he does at the NFL combine.
Luke Musgrave is going to be a problem in the NFL.
The @BeaverFootball TE putting in a show at the Senior Bowl pic.twitter.com/HUNEAQ5LPh
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) February 2, 2023
Louis Riddick knows talent, and he’s been impressed.
.@seniorbowl standouts for me over last two days of seeing them up close:
RB Tyjae Spears – Tulane
OL Darnell Wright – Tennessee
TE Luke Musgrave – Oregon State
WR Jayden Reed – Michigan State
DL Isaiah Foskey – Notre Dame
DL Keeanu Benton – Wisconsin
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) February 3, 2023
Washington isn’t going tight end at No. 16. However, if the Commanders trade back as they did last year, tight end becomes a possibility. Still, it’s expected that Washington will go with an offensive lineman or cornerback in round one.
But don’t rule out a tight end in round two. And if Musgrave is on the board in round two, he should absolutely be under consideration for the Commanders. Washington can’t go into 2023 counting on more production from its tight ends. Add another talented body to the group, even if it pushes someone off the roster.