Instant analysis of Commanders selecting Kentucky RB Chris Rodriguez in 6th round
The Washington Commanders entered the 2023 NFL draft looking to add a running back, likely someone on Day 3 in the final four rounds.
At pick No. 193, the Commanders selected Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr.
What are the Commanders getting in Rodriguez?
Washington has its top two backs set in stone with Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson. The former third-round picks are an outstanding duo whose styles complement one another well. Gibson, the former starter, handles third-down duties and adds juice to the passing game, while Robinson proved in his rookie season he could be an NFL lead back.
The Commanders released J.D. McKissic, one of the best pass-catching backs in the NFL, due to a neck injury. Rodriguez is not McKissic. Rodriguez is more of a bruising downhill runner who’ll spell Robinson on early downs.
A productive college player, rushing for over 3,600 yards and scoring 33 rushing touchdowns in his college career, Rodriguez could be a short-yardage back, at least early in his career. Rodriguez’s college numbers are impressive in the rugged SEC.
Here’s what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said about Rodriguez:
Rodriguez is a powerful runner, but he lacks the burst and creativity to become anything more than a downhill grinder. He has the size and mentality to do the dirty work between the tackles, but it could be a challenge for him to get to and through the hole quickly in the NFL. He’s a physical blitz protector, so teams might envision a role for him as a second-half battering ram and third-down quarterback protector.
Rodriguez should battle Jaret Patterson and Jonathan Williams for a spot on Washington’s 53-man roster.