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How Commanders Turned Weakness to Strength in NFL Draft

The best move of the off-season for Washington centers around adding multiple contributors

The talk surrounding the Washington Commanders’ first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft was the likelihood the team would get an impact player to join the squad.

Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson were the two most common names associated with Washington’s 11th overall pick in the draft, and one of those two was even available when the team went in the clock that Thursday night.

But Washington didn’t take Hamilton. Or Ohio State receiver Chris Olave for that matter. 

Instead, the brain trust of general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Ron Rivera opted to ship the pick to the New Orleans Saints, who selected Olave.

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This wasn’t the only trade executed draft weekend by the Commanders, but it’s the one Ben Standig of The Athletic points out when identifying the team’s best move of the offseason.

“The Commanders began with only six selections,” Standig wrote. “They also were quiet in the veteran marketplace, outside of acquiring quarterback Carson Wentz. Seeking volume additions, they dealt No. 11 to the Saints for No. 16 (wide receiver Jahan Dotson), No. 98 (running back Brian Robinson) and a fourth-round selection. The Commanders flipped the fourth and their sixth-round pick for QB Sam Howell and pass-catching tight end Cole Turner…Dotson looks like an immediate contributor. So do Robinson…and Turner, along with second-round defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis.”

After the trade for quarterback Carson Wentz, many viewed the draft in a more negative light considering the perceived wealth of talent in the Day 2 area the team lost capital within.

But as I agree with Standig here, the Commanders not only recouped good value on draft weekend, they added at least four players who look like they could be early contributors, with others in the class showing promise as well, from later portions of the draft.