By Adam Aniba
The offseason is in full swing and after the announcement of Washington's new name, Commander fans can turn the page and their attention to the Senior Bowl. Although the first 2-3 rounds of the draft will feature some big names, Day 3 prospects are the foundation of an NFL roster. The Burgundy and Gold Report has three senior bowl prospects, who could be potential steals for a Washington roster in desperate need of more playmakers.
Sterling Weatherford S/LB | Miami (OH)
Height: 6 feet, 3 5/8 inches
Weight: 230 pounds
Hand size: 8 5/8 inches
Arm length: 31 3/8 inches
Wingspan: 76 1/2 inches
Career(36 games) 209 total tak (131 solo),10.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 ints,1 td, 19 PD, 3 FR & 2 FF
'21(12 games) 66 total tak (39 solo), 2 TFL, 1 sack, 2 ints, 1 td & 4 PD
Miami (OH) defensive back Sterling Weatherford has been pigeon-holed as a "tweener", but all preconceived notions should be thrown out the window when projecting him to the NFL.
The "Buffalo Nickel" has become trendy in the NFL, which utilizes a 3 safety look in situational sub-packages. While at Miami (OH), Weatherford was utilized all over the field as a DB, even saw reps as a single high safety. With his size, range, and tackling ability, Weatherford could be a force playing close to the line as a sub-package LB as well.
Weatherford is a ferocious hitter and prospect that has an opportunity to raise his stock against higher level competition.
Charlie Kolar TE | Iowa State
Height: 6 feet, 6 1/4 inches
Weight: 256 pounds
Hand size: 10 inches
Arm length: 34 1/2 inches
Wingspan: 82 1/8 inches
Career (43 games) 168 rec 2,181 yards for 23 tds
'21 (12 games ) 62 receptions for 756 yards & 6 tds
Standing 6'6", Kolar is a physical specimen, built more like a basketball power forward than a tight end. He uses his ability to box out and contested catches are his speciality,
Kolar's catch radius ih huge and is at his best when facing zone, frequently hauling in contested catches. His ability to box out defenders, allowing for his quarterback to trust him with 50/50 balls, is noteworthy.
HIs overall length allows him to utilize his long arms as a solid blocker. But make no mistake, Kolar is a pass catching tight end. Although he requires route running refinement, his hands can be counted on and is a weapon in the red zone.
Christian Watson WR | NDCU
Height: 6 feet, 4 inches
Weight: 211 pounds
Hand size: 10 inches
Arm length: 32 3/4 inches
Wingspan: 77 1/8 inches
Career (52 games) 105 rec 2,140 yards for 14 tds
*Rushing- 49 att for 392 yds 2 tds
'21 (12 games ) 45 receptions for 800 yards & 7 tds 18.6 per rec avg
Watson's stats through 52 career games don't jump out, but his blend of size, speed, and athleticism do. The Bison receiver dominated the FCS level and is a true gamebreaker. Although he only recorded 26 kick returns for 686 yards & 2 tds, he finished his career with a 22.7 yards per ret avg.
Watson is just scratching the surface of his talent level. His ability as a precise route runner and the burst he possesses at 6'4" make him an appealing day 3 draft prospect with the ability to help his stock with a good week in Mobile and a potential invite to the NFL Combine.
All three prospects fit a need for the Commanders, starting with Sterling Weatherford who would be an immediate upgrade on special teams. His ability to contribute as a sub-package safety/linebacker, could allow Washington to move on from Landon Collins if they desire.
Although Washington invested a 4th rd pick on Boise State tight end John Bates in '20, ISU's Charlie Kolar would add another dimension to the passing game. The Commanders will likely have a new QB under center and tight ends can be the best safety blanket for a new signal caller learning a new system. Fans believed Washington struck gold with Logan Thomas, but durability could be a short term concern with Thomas, who is recovering from ACL surgery from December. Kolar should be available in the 4th-5th round and would be a wise investment.
Lastly NDSU receiver, Christian Watson, has a unique skill set for a prospect of his size. At 6'4" 211 lb, his frame can actually carry even more weight, adding to his value as a boundary receiver. A big receiver with kick returning ability is rare and his ability as a savvy route runner should make him even more appealing to teams.
Last season's free agent signing of DeAndre Carter ('22 Free Agent) addressed the need for a special teams' returner. His role expanded as a receiver due to necessity and the need for a returner and could still be on the list for Washington who needs receivers. Regardless, if Carter is re-signed, Ron Rivera needs more weapons on offense for the team's future signal caller.
The Senior Bowl will feature many potential gems and here at the B&G Report, we'll have individual evaluations and interviews from some of those prospects, so Stay Tuned.
**CLICK Card for Prospect Cards**