Addressing the O-Line and Few Draft Prospects to Watch | Washington Commanders
By Adam Aniba
In this report we'll take a look at a few Offensive Tackle prospect fits for Washington in Free Agency and more importantly, the NFL Draft. The Commanders have had a void at LT, since the loss of All-Pro Trent Williams. They can finally solidify the blind side this offseason with a blue chip tackle.
Commanders current starting LT Charles Leno Jr has played well below par this season, particularly in pass pro. Leno carries a $12.5M cap number for '23 and restructuring should be on the table. Some have mentioned possibly trying Leno at RT, which isn't that far fetched. Bottom line, expecting Leno to improve at this point in his career is a longshot.
It's slim pickings on the free agency front for high ceiling left tackles with Kansas City's Orlando Brown and Miami's Eric Fisher the most notable names. The Dolphins LT is 32 years old and would be more of a bridge, but Brown is 26 wit a ton of upside. In saying that, Brown will demand top money and has expressed his desire to stay in Kansas City.
Brown on his contract situation after receiving the franchise tag for the '22 season.
"I want to finish my career here in Kansas City. To me, man, with the contract situation, there just wasn't enough guarantees."
This year's draft boasts a pretty deep group of tackles in the early rounds, with a few plug & play possibilities.
1st Round Options
*Northwestern Peter Skoronski 6'4" 315 lbs
The Northwestern LT is viewed as the top tackle in the class and the most refined. Skoronski has a vicious initial punch and mean streak. He projects well in pass pro and in the run game with the ability to play in a variety of schemes, based on his athleticism and high football IQ.
Although he'll likely be off the board before Washington picks at #16 overall, they could move up a couple slots, if they're enamored with his ability during the pre-draft evaluation process.
*UGA Broderick Jones 6'4" 310 lbs (8-Game Scouting Report)
This year's draft class features some true maulers along the offensive line. University of Georgia OT Broderick Jones played right tackle and left tackle during his time with the Bulldogs and is a prospect to watch, during the draft evaluation process. His athletic ability and overall length, should lead multiple OT needy teams being in play for his services during the '23 NFL Draft
* OSU Paris Johnson Jr 6'6" 311 lbs
Johnson was the Buckeyes starting right guard in 2021, but moved to left tackle for the '22 season. The OSU starting LT is extremely athletic and looked like a natural last season. His quickness and size jumps out.
His overall technique needs refinement, after playing only one season at LT. His upside is undeniable though and should impress teams during the NFL Combine, potentially leading to a top 25 selection.
2nd Round Options
*Okl U Anton Harrison 6'5" 315 lbs
The Sooners lineman was the starting LT for Oklahoma in '21 and '22. Harrison is another long/athletic tackle prospect with a ton of upside. When it comes to hand placement and overall functional strength, he has room to grow.
He displayed the ability to pull and is a valuable chess piece to have in the run game. He showed off impressive range and disciplined eyes in pass pro as well, but is far from a finished product.
An impressive Combine could put him in the first round discussion. Once he refines his kick slide and footwork on the next level, he'll be a tough assignment for even the best speed rushers on the next level.
*UMD Jaelyn Duncan (8-Game Scouting Report)
The Terrapins lineman has been one of the most impressive offensive lineman in the Big 10 over the last two seasons. Duncan didn't allow a sack from Wolverines star pass rushers Aidan Hutchinson ('22 1st Rd Lions) and David Ojabo ('22 2nd Rd Ravens) in the Terps '21 matchup vs Michigan.
During the '22 season, Duncan displayed tremendous growth as a pass blocker with run blocking being his strength. He also made strides when asked to be a pulling blocker this season. It's not out of the question that Duncan could move into the Day 1 discussion with an impressive Combine, but for now the 2nd round is where he's slotted.
*Tenn U Darnell Wright 6'6" 335 lbs
Wright saw time at LT, RT and RG during his time at Tennessee. Some evaluators are torn, regarding the ideal fit for Wright on the next level and if LT or RT will be his best fit. He displays an impressive initial punch and has shown the ability to stonewall pass rushers.
Wright is a mammoth man, but some believe he could improve his overall suddenness by losing some weight. In saying that, Wright is an asset in pass pro and the run game, but will require patience on the next level.
Starting his career at RT or even guard, might be the best way to get him acclimated to the pro game. Totally abandoning the idea of him being a LT early on, shouldn't be a consideration though.
Addressing the o-line has to be the Commanders #1 priority this offseason and lucky for them, it's a deep draft class.
As the pre-draft evaluation process moves along and with the Senior Bowl only weeks away, there will be a lot to talk about regarding Washington's roster. The Burgundy and Gold Report will continue to drop Scouting Reports for Day 1,2 and 3 prospects, so Stay Tuned.
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