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Full 7-Round Mock NFL Draft: Washington Commanders

Commanders, NFL Draft, Wayne Gregoire

NFL Free Agency is in full swing, and the signings and departures from each team have changed the needs of all 32 teams. I recently conducted a full 7-round mock draft on Pro Football Focus, acting as the general manager for every team. Taking into consideration team needs and positional value I made all 257 picks in the best interest of each team on the clock. This is how the Washington Commanders fared in the draft.

The team finished 2023 with a 4-13 record and said goodbye to head coach Ron Rivera and brought in Dan Quinn. This may be replacing a tomato with a tomahto, and fans may surely regret the team passing on Bill Belichick, but this is the direction the new ownership group wanted to take the team. The Commanders had the most cap space heading into free agency and have tried to better the team as much as possible going into the draft.

They lost Antonio Gibson to the Patriots, but replaced him with Austin Ekeler. Tight end Logan Thomas was replaced with Zach Ertz, center Nick Gates was replaced with Tyler Biadasz, and safety Kamren Kurl was replaced with Jeremy Chinn. They also added pass rushers Dorrance Armstrong and Dante Fowler. The linebacker room added veterans Frankie Luvuu and Bobby Wagner.

Washington is loaded with picks heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. They have nine total picks, and while some of those will no doubt be traded, this was a "no-trade" mock, so the Commanders will pick at 2, 36, 40, 67, 78, 100, 139, 152, and 222. Don't be surprised if they swap picks with Chicago in real life and take Caleb Williams first overall.

JJ McCarthy, Commanders, NFL Draft

Round 1, Pick 2: JJ McCarthy, Quarterback, Michigan

Quarterback is going to be addressed with their first round pick, no matter where they make it, and that's a cold hard fact. The coaching staff is enamored with Caleb Williams, but the question is, are the Bears? Assuming he is off the board, the second most NFL-ready quarterback is JJ McCarthy out of Michigan. He has screamed up draft boards during the scouting season, because he has shown that there is not a single throw he can't make.

He is 6'3 and 219 pounds. The questions around him stem from the fact that he helmed a run-heavy offense his entire college career. He still completed an astonishing 72.3% of his passes for 2,991 yards and 22 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. Like all of the top quarterbacks in the draft he is exceptionally mobile, running a 4.60 forty. His footwork is already NFL-starter caliber, and he's constantly scanning downfield for the best throw to make.

McCarthy shows a cool Prescence under pressure and the ability to side step the blitz and step up in the pocket to throw off his front foot. The ball has a tight spiral out of his hand, and is so accurate you couldn't place the ball any better by hand. When all is said and done, he may end up the best quarterback in the 2024 draft.

Troy Franklin, Commanders, NFL Draft

Round 2, Pick 36: Troy Franklin, Wide Receiver, Oregon

The Commanders lost receiver Curtis Samuel to the Bills, and are left with Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. While Dotson showed flashes since he was a first round pick, he hasn't solidified himself as a true number two threat. With the 36th pick in the draft, they take Oregon wideout Troy Franklin. He sports a slender build, packing just 176 pounds on his 6'2 frame. At the combine he ran a 4.41 forty, and posted a 39" vertical and 10'4" broad jump.

Last season at Oregon, he caught 81 passes for 1,383 yards (17.1 YPC) and 14 touchdowns. When Bo Nix was targeting Franklin in the passing game, his passer rating was 146.8. He shows smooth transitions running his routes, and can hurt teams from the outside or in the slot. The question at the next level will be if he can break away from bigger stronger corners at the line of scrimmage.

TJ Tampa, NFL Draft, Commanders

Round 2, Pick 40: TJ Tampa, Cornerback, Iowa State

Kendall Fuller took his talents to South Beach, and Benjamin St Juste is a free agent in 2025. The team did not address the cornerback position in free agency (at least not yet) and so they will have to draft the position. With the 40th pick in the draft they take Iowa State corner TJ Tampa. He's 6'1 and 190 pounds.

In press coverage, Tampa is able to use his above average strength to redirect receivers. He displays fluid hips, and can change direction smoothly and effortlessly. He is a physical tackler, but his tackling technique needs work. Discipline will be important at the next level if Tampa wants to avoid penalties.

Gabriel Murphy, NFL Draft, Commanders

Round 3, Pick 67: Gabriel Murphy, Edge, UCLA

Even though the team boosted their pass rush in free agency, they look to add youth and speed to the outside, and select UCLA edge rusher Gabriel Murphy in the third round. He's 6'2 and 247 pounds, Murphy displayed exceptional athleticism at the combine with a 4.68 forty, a 39.5" vertical, and 25 reps at 225.

Murphy got after the quarterback last season at UCLA, racking up 40 hurries and 8 sacks on just 355 pass rush snaps. He has good size for an edge, but not elite size. His best attribute may be his non-stop motor, which allows him to rack up coverage sacks because he never stops attacking until the whistle blows. He does need to work on his run defense in the NFL.

Kamren Kinchens, NFL Draft, Commanders

Round 3, Pick 78: Kamren Kinchens, Safety, Miami

Jeremy Chinn was brought in to fill the hole left by Kamren Kurl, but Jeremy Reeves is also a free agent and Darrick Forrest hits free agency in 2025. With the 78th pick in the draft, they take Miami safety Kamren Kinchens. He has a solid build at 5'11 and 203 pounds. Last season at Miami he had 63 total tackles, 13 stops, 2 pass breakups and 5 interceptions.

Kinchens did not impress at the combine, running a 4.65 forty, which is why he is still on the board at 78. He has strong anticipation skills, and reads the quarterback extremely well. He has a high football IQ, and can diagnose routes quickly. He is not great at man-to-man coverage, and he needs to improve his tackling technique.

Beaux Limmer, NFL Draft, Commanders

Round 3, Pick 100: Beaux Limmer, Center, Arkansas

The Commanders did sign Tyler Biadasz from the Cowboys in free agency, but they still need help on the interior of the offensive line. Sam Cosmi is a rock, but he hits free agency in 2025, so with the 100th pick in the draft, the Commanders select Arkansas center Beaux Limmer. He was the starting center for the Razorbacks last season, but started at guard the two seasons prior. He is 6'5 and weighs in at 307 pounds.

Limmer ran a 5.22 forty in Indianapolis, and had the most reps on the bench press at the combine with 39. He allowed a combined 23 hurries the last three seasons in college. He has great feet and a solid anchor when blocking pass rushers, and shows a nasty demeanor when run blocking. His technique is a bit sloppy, and he has limited range, but still projects as a long term starter in the NFL.

Mekhi Wingo, NFL Draft, Commanders

Round 5, Pick 139: Mekhi Wingo, Defensive Line, LSU

With an abundance of picks in this draft, barring trades, the Commanders will select for depth in the later rounds. With the edge of the defensive line addressed, they turn their attention to the interior. Jonathan Allen and Da'Ron Payne are monsters on the inside, and in the fifth round of the draft they select Mekhi Wingo from LSU. He's 6'1 and 275 pounds, and last season recorded 25 total tackles (5 for a loss) and 4.5 sacks.

Wingo shows good hand use and sports a tight spin move to beat blockers. Due to his ability to wreak havoc in the offensive backfield, he is able to make impressive chest to chest bear hug tackles. At times he does struggle to shed blockers, and other than his spin move, doesn't have much in terms of counter moves in the pass rush.

Austin Reed, NFL Draft, Commanders

Round 5, pick 152: Austin Reed, Quarterback, Western Kentucky

To some, it may not make a ton of sense to draft two quarterbacks in the same year, but those people may not remember the very same Washington team drafting Robert Griffin III in round one and then Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. I'm not saying McCarthy will get hurt, but it's always good business to have an insurance policy. With pick 152, the Commanders select Austin Reed out of Western Kentucky.

Reed is 6'2 and 220 pounds. Following in Bailey Zappe's footsteps at Western Kentucky, Reed threw for 8,086 yards the last two seasons, along with 71 touchdowns. He has a quick release and throws a very catchable ball. He has an NFL-caliber arm, but often holds the ball too long waiting for receivers to get open. He could also be more consistent from throw to throw.

Joshua Cephus, NFL Draft, Commanders

Round 7, Pick 222: Joshua Cephus, Wide Receiver, UTSA

With their last pick of the draft, the Commanders again grab a depth pick, in UTSA wide receiver Joshua Cephus. He is the textbook definition of production. In 2021 he had 71 receptions for 819 yards. In 2022 he caught 87 passes for 985 yards. Last season, Cephus pulled in 89 catches for 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's 6'2 and 190 pounds.

The strength of his game is when he has the ball in his hands. Cephus makes a seamless transition from receiver runner and has extremely strong hands. Even the biggest arm in the league would have a hard time throwing it through his mitts. Cephus does lack elite speed, and needs to develop a better feel of where to sit versus zone defense.

Wayne G is a contributor and the host of The NFL Experts podcast. He is interactive with viewers and readers on Twitter.

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