Commanders' Draft Class Won't Make Or Break Season

There's bigger questions surrounding team than incoming rookies

The NFL Draft is rooted in hope. Hope for players who get to realize their dreams. Hope for fans who think a strong draft could mean a change of fortune in the upcoming season. Even hope for front offices that at least a couple of their picks will be a hit.

All of this rings an emotional bell for just about everyone, leading to overreaction and absolutely no room for middle ground when opinions surrounding the draft class start pouring in.

This is clearly the case if you spent about five seconds scrolling through Commanders Twitter. Luckily, the artists formerly known as the Football Team started two for two throwing surprise parties for their draft picks, with their first and second-round choices expressing shock they were drafted so high. They added a fifth-round pick at QB in Sam Howell who early in the college football season was seen as a favorite to go No. 1 overall, and there was an overall mix of devastation or just plain exhaustion surrounding the team and their offseason.

Trust me, all that emotion is warranted given the last two decades, but the reality is we have no idea how any of these picks in Washington will turn out, so don't let any of the highs or lows change your opinion of the futures market or even their win total just based on a few rookies.

There are far bigger reasons this team will either succeed or fail in 2022.

$1,000 No Sweat First Bet!
Sign up and place your first bet and if you lose, you’ll be refunded up to $1,000 in site credits!
5.0
5.0
$1,000 No Sweat First Bet!
Sign up and place your first bet and if you lose, you’ll be refunded up to $1,000 in site credits!

Not Much Movement

As of now, the Commanders still sit with the third-best odds (+463 consensus) to win the NFC East. The last time we saw any real movement in this area came when they traded for Carson Wentz, and even then it wasn't a massive shift. DraftKings moved Washington from 50-1 to 40-1; Caesars kept them at 60-1, as did FanDuel. The most laughable one of all though had to have been WynnBet though, who actually dropped Washington from 60-1 to 75-1, essentially saying they have a better chance with undrafted Taylor Heinicke at quarterback than Wentz.

Bringing in a new starter at the most important position in sports can change the outlook for a team, but unless you're talking franchise QB at the top of the draft, there's mostly that wait-and-see mindset in the markets after the final pick is announced.

Get A $1,000 Deposit Bonus On DraftKings
New users: sign up for a new account and get a deposit bonus up to $1,000 with your first bet!
5.0
5.0
Get A $1,000 Deposit Bonus On DraftKings
New users: sign up for a new account and get a deposit bonus up to $1,000 with your first bet!

Filling Holes

Washington needed help at receiver, and they addressed that at No. 16 with Jahan Dotson out of Penn State. Coach Ron Rivera said he wanted to surround Wentz with weapons, and adding a speedy playmaker with great hands can help Washington stretch the field. He may not have the size they needed, but if Dotson can prove he can excel at the NFL level, defenses will always have to know where he is on the field, giving the Commanders an advantage before they even snap the ball.

Does Dotson having a 1,000-yard receiving year make or break any hopes for a division title? No. Would it help? Sure. But that's a big difference there.

Howell in the fifth round is actually solid value given the fact that he was seen as an early first-rounder when college football's season was just starting off. If you're looking for him to win the starting job, well... Wentz brings in 28 million reasons why that won't happen. Now, if hell freezes over and Howell someone beats out Wentz and Heinicke to start Week 1, well... there's much bigger problems in D.C. given their investment in Wentz.

BetQL

Day Pass

Get Today's Picks for All Sports

Only $4.99Buy Now

The defensive line was a disappointment most of last year, and the next thing this team has to worry about comes in the form of contracts, where the front office has to decide who gets paid, and who leaves. Jonathan Allen's deal is done, but names like Daron Payne and Montez Sweat are now in the conversation, so there's some logic behind taking Phidarian Mathis in the second round out of Alabama (they love those 'Bama players don't they?). That being said, it was seen as a stretch going that high, so Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew will either look like geniuses or fools depending on how Mathis looks early in his career. He also won't sabotage an already talented but underachieving defense if he plays limited snaps this year either. We had clear evidence of that already with last year's first-rounder Jamin Davis spending a good portion of the season in the witness protection program.

Taking running back Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama again!) in the third round adds a power runner who can help wear down defenses. Will he be their feature back? Likely not given the expectations still on Antonio Gibson. Then there's the later-round picks that are just hoped to be depth guys or special teams contributors, and essentially a bonus if they develop into starters.

There's plenty of reasons to either love or hate a draft class, but in the end, none of the hope or frustration will be validated for a while. Obviously, the team believes they got better, or they wouldn't have made the picks they made, and even though the clock starts ticking instantly in the court of public opinion, this area can't be seen as any way to satisfy the desire for instant gratification.

Rivera and Washington enter a pivotal year three together, and if they can't show overall improvement, it will be an indictment on a whole lot more than who they took in this year's Draft.