By Adam Aniba
Washington's new signal caller, Carson Wentz is tasked with getting the passing game on track. A strong run game anchored by Antonio Gibson will open up opportunities for play-action and Terry Mclaurin will lead the way with as the teams top receiver.
Although Cam Sims was re-signed, Adam Humphrey and DeAndre Carter were not. The group features hope, with Curtis Samuel who signed a 3-year $34.5 million dollar deal last season, albeit only played in 5 games registering 27 receiving yards and 11 yards rushing.
Second year receiver Dyami Brown, who was active for 15 games, only registered 12 receptions for 165 yards on 25 targets. Brown should have a much bigger role with a second year in the offense.
Filling out the receiver group is Antonio-Gandy Golden, Kelvin Harmon, Dax Milne and Marken Michel. Scat back J.D. McKissic will also have a significant role in the passing game. A few of those receivers will likely not even be on the open day roster, so Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew have work to do.
A McLaurin deal should be on the horizon, with the framework likely mirroring Carolina receiver DJ Moore's recent extension (3-year $64.8 million $41.6 million guaranteed), who has registered three strait 1,000 yard seasons. Regardless, Washington needs offensive help and lucky for them this is a deep receiver draft class.
Early Draft Options
The transition from the college game to the NFL, can be a steep learning curve for a rookie a receiver. Many NFL teams are utilizing more college spread concepts and RPO/Zone Read packages have been a staple with pro offenses as well. The transition will be easier for some, with the early round receivers potentially having immediate impacts.
An explosive receiver who can line up in the slot and outside is what could lift OC Scott Turner's offense to the next level. The headliners for the class and sure bet 1st rounders feature Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Treylon Burks, Chris Olave and Drake London. Rivera could justifiably selecting Wilson or even Jamison at #11, but the others represent better value in the 20's.
Quarterback needy teams could be looking to move up to the Commanders pick at #11. Trading back would be an ideal way to recoup the '22 3rd rounder given up in the Wentz deal and also select one of the aforementioned receivers.
Day 2-3 Options
Outside of the 1st round, Washington will still have their pick of game changers. At pick #47 in round 2, PSU's Jahon Dotson, Georgia's George Pickens and N.Dakota St's Christian Watson all offer varying skill sets.
After round 2 things get a little less uncertain. In saying that, the receivers projected to go in the 3rd-4th round range fit a developmental role, but receives John Metchie III (rehabbing from a Dec '21 knee surgery) and Cincinnati's Alec Pierce could be the mid round steals of the draft if available.
As mentioned, as trade back scenario in Round 1 is more of a realistic possibility, considering that multiple teams are in need of a quarterback and picking outside of the top 15.
Rivera will have an opportunity to find a game changing receiver in the early rounds and the the upside will be there at a position of need.
Banking on Samuel being a solid WR2 and having a huge impact from the slot might be wishful thinking. It's more likely Samuel's contributions will come from a gadget role and that's if he can stay healthy.
As for the rest of the receivers, becoming solid WR3's might be their ceiling, albeit Brown has the most upside to become much more if he can put it all together. Washington has spent consecutive 1st round selections on the defensive side of the ball and the last time they selected a receiver within the top twenty was Rod Gardner at #15 in '21.
This is the draft Washington needs to select an early round game changer to pair with McLaurin or it could be more of the same offensive struggles under Rivera.