What Are The Washington Commanders’ Team Needs In The 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 28. As a lead-up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of the current depth chart and how big of a need each position is in the upcoming draft. You can find the rest of the team needs (as they’re updated) and the rest of our draft content in the 2022 NFL Draft hub.

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What Picks do the Washington Commanders have in 2022

The Washington Commanders have six picks.

Round 1 (11)
Round 2 (47)
Round 4 (113)
Round 6 (189)
Round 7 (230)
Round 7 (239)

Washington Commanders Top POSITIONS OF NEED

WR, Interior OL, QB, CB, S

Washington Commanders Strength of Schedule, 2022

The Washington Commanders have the EASIEST NFL strength of schedule for the 2022 season (#1 of 32 teams).

Washington Commanders Offense

By Rich Hribar


Carson Wentz
Taylor Heinicke

Washington was once again at the bottom of the league in production from their passing game, exiting 2021 23rd in the league in EPA gained via passing (22.6 points). They ranked 22nd in yards per pass attempt (6.8 Y/A) and 22nd in team passing rating (85.8). 

Their initial plan at improving things was to acquire Carson Wentz from the Colts

Wentz threw for just 6.3 yards per attempt over the final 11 games of the season, failing to recapture the production that he had early in his career paired with Frank Reich. 

Wentz still has three years remaining on his contract but will carry zero dead money towards the cap after this season. His addition — plus still having Taylor Heinicke under contract for 2022 — provides Washington with the flexibility of not having to force giving the keys to their franchise to a rookie passer art pick No. 11, but it also does not prevent them from taking a quarterback at any stage of the draft.


Antonio Gibson
J.D. McKissic
Jaret Patterson
Jonathan Williams
Reggie Bonnafon
Alex Armah (FB)

Washington does not have many offensive strengths, but their backfield built around the combination of Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic is solidified. 

Gibson did not make the full jump many had hoped last season, he still posted 1,331 yards and 10 touchdowns on 300 touches battling through a plethora of injuries. Gibson still has two years remaining on his rookie contract. 

McKissic appeared as if he was leaving Washington for Buffalo in free agency, but had a change of heart, returning to the team on a two-year contract. 

McKissic will turn 29 years old this August, coming off two productive seasons in Washington, where he caught 123 passes for 986 yards and four touchdowns. Over those two seasons, Alvin Kamara is the only running back with more targets (174) than McKissic’s 163 while only Kamara and Austin Ekeler have caught more passes at the position. 

As for depth, Washington has Jaret Patterson under a rookie contract as their lone other back signed beyond this season. 


Terry McLaurin
Curtis Samuel
Cam Sims
Dyami Brown
Antonio Gandy-Golden
Dax Milne
Kelvin Harmon
Marken Michel

Terry McLaurin was once again held back from accessing his full potential, posting 77-1,053-5 in his third season. 

McLaurin ranked 13th among wideouts in targets (130) in 2021, but just 62.7% were deemed catchable per Pro Football Focus, the lowest rate of all wideouts to see 100 or more targets last season. 

McLaurin still has a lot of meat left on the bone. All of that potential still may not fully materialize with Wentz, but Wentz is the best quarterback McLaurin has played with to date. Entering the final season of his rookie contract, Washington would be shrewd to extend McLaurin now while his climate has depressed his true worth. Especially with extensions coming for Deebo Samuel, D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, and Diontae Johnson from that 2019 class.

2021 was a lost season for Curtis Samuel, who Washington went out and splurged on in free agency. He had a groin injury in training camp that stunted the start of his season and limited him to just 84 offensive snaps all season. 

Samuel is still 26 years old with dead cap hits of $19.6 million and $7.2 million over the next two seasons.

Beyond McLaurin and Samuel, the cupboard here is lean. 

Last year’s third-round pick Dyami Brown was unable to seize the opportunity vacated by Samuel’s injury, catching just 12-of-25 targets for 165 yards with zero scores. Despite appearing in 15 games, Brown was seventh on the team in targets as a rookie. 

Washington is surely not giving up Brown on any level, but he also should not prevent them from adding another pass catcher to this group. Tack on that things could still potentially go south with McLaurin; this is an area still open for improvement.

The only other wide receiver here under contract beyond this season is Dax Milne, who played 19% of the snaps as a rookie, catching nine passes for 83 yards.


Logan Thomas
John Bates
Sammis Reyes
Tyrone Swoopes

Logan Thomas will enter the 2022 season at age 31 coming off an ACL injury in December. Thomas just signed an extension last offseason, but he only carries dead cap hits of $3.5 million and $1.75 million after this season.

The team has young depth that will be required to play early in the season if Thomas is not ready for the start of the season, investing in John Bates in the fourth round of last year’s draft and signing Sammis Reyes.

Bates caught 20 passes for 249 yards with one touchdown as a rookie, playing 46% of the snaps. 

Reyes was practically redshirted in 2021, playing just 39 total snaps after the former basketball player had no prior football experience before attending the International Player Pathway Program.

While Reyes is still a project, his athleticism offers upside alongside Bates while the team waits on the return of Thomas. The team could use more veteran depth here if Thomas has his timetable pushed back over adding more youth to the position. 


LT: Charles Leno
LG: Andrew Norwell/Beau Benzschawel/Nolan Laufenberg
C: Chase Roullier/ Tyler Larsen/John Toth
RG: Wes Schweitzer/Shaq Calhoun/Zack Bailey
RT: Samuel Cosmi/Saahdiq Charles

Washington fielded one of the better offensive lines last season, ranking ninth in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate metric (63%) and first in Run Block Win Rate (75%). Pro Football Focus supported their numbers there, grading out fourth in team pass blocking grade and seventh in run blocking. 

Washington has had movement on the line this offseason, losing both of last season’s starting guards in Brandon Scherff (free agency) and Erek Flowers (released).  

Scherff was a loss they will feel, grading out as the 13th ranked guard at Pro Football Focus. The team is replacing his loss with veteran Andrew Norwell, who ranked 43rd among the same group last season with the Jaguars. Norwell ranked 22nd in 2020.

Wes Schweitzer is expected to take over for Flowers. Schweitzer only played 53% of the snaps due to injury but logged 313 of his 401 snaps at right guard last season. He played well on those snaps, grading out as the ninth-ranked guard per Pro Football Focus, the highest grade over his five years in the league. Schweitzer is in the final year of a contract he signed with Washington in 2020.

Washington still has strong starters in Charles Leno and Chase Roullier signed through 2024.

Right tackle is helmed by Samuel Cosmi, who the team selected in the second round of last year’s draft. Cosmi made nine starts as a rookie. He allowed the highest pressure rate (6.1%) among the Washington starters.

Forced to start their best swing lineman in Schweitzer, Washington could pursue a top interior lineman, but are a better bet to be looking for more interior line depth on day three.

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Washington Commanders Defense

By Dan Pizzuta

Interior Defensive Line

Jonathan Allen
Da’Ron Payne
Daniel Wise
Tyler Clark
Dabid Bada

This position was the deepest on the roster but with Tim Settle leaving in free agency and the release of Matt Ioannidis, it’s been thinned out. Yet, it’s not a problem because of the existence of Jonathan Allen, who has turned into one of the best and most consistent interior defensive linemen in the league.

Allen was second in pressure rate among defensive tackles, behind only Chris Jones, and he was eighth in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate at the position. He signed an extension in 2021 that has him under contract through 2025, though no guaranteed salary after 2023.

Da’Ron Payne has been a good run defender but took a step forward in pass rushing last season with 15 quarterback hits and he was 25th in pressure rate. Payne is on his fifth-year option.


Chase Young
Montez Sweat
James Smith-Williams
Efe Obada
Casey Toohill
Shaka Toney
Bunmi Rotimi

Chase Young’s season only lasted nine games but it was a bit of a disappointment up until then as a followup to his DROY season. He had just four quarterback hits and 1.5 sacks and ranked 66th among 102 defensive ends/linebackers with at least 200 pass rush snaps. At the owner’s meetings, head coach Ron Rivera said he expects Young to be present for the team’s offseason workouts.

Montez Sweat had his troubles both on an off the field in 2021. He missed time with a fractured jaw and when was was expected to return, was forced out with a positive COVID test. Sweat played in just 10 games, had 13 quarterback hits, and ranked 52 among edge rushers in pressure rate.

At full health, the Young-Sweat duo will do the significant lifting for the pass rush, but behind them the Commanders have taken some swings at high-upside athletic rushers like James Smith-Williams, Shaka Toney, and this year’s free agent signing of Efe Obada.

Off-ball Linebacker

Jamin Davis
Cole Holcomb
David Mayo
Khaleke Hudson
Milo Eifler
De’Jon Harris

Washington used a first-round pick on Jamin Davis last season and the rookie got on the field for just over half of the team’s defensive snaps. As his college profile suggested, he was rangey but struggled to hold up in coverage. He ranked 81st of 85 qualified linebackers in yards allowed per coverage snap.

Cole Holcomb, a 2019 fifth-round pick, was on the field more often (92% of the defensive snaps) but he had a similar split in performance. He was 13th among all defenders in solo tackles but ranked 84th among linebackers in yards allowed per coverage snap. He’s in the final year of his rookie deal and has been slotted to play more as the MIKE this season.

Some of those MIKE responsibilities went to David Mayo late in the season. Mayo spent most of the season on special teams and slide into a linebacker role over the final three regular season games. The first game in Week 15 came when Davis was inactive and also the following week when Davis only played 21% of the snaps.

Washington played nicked 66% of the time and dime another 16%, so those linebacker spots should be accounted for.


William Jackson III
Kendall Fuller
Benjamin St. Juste
Danny Johnson
D.J. Hayden
Corn Elder
Troy Apke

William Jackson was signed to be Washington’s top corner last offseason but there were some ups and downs in 12 games. Jackson ranked 62nd of 92 qualified cornerbacks in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap, which accounts for touchdowns and interceptions.

Kendall Fuller played 91% of the defensive snaps with half of his coverage snaps on the outside. He ranked 55th in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap and had better production on the outside than in the slot. The versatility can open up where Washington goes elsewhere.

Danny Johnson, a 2018 undrafted free agent, played well in limited snaps as the slot corner. Benjamin St. Juste struggled some in his rookie season, but the 6-foot-3 third-round pick has length to play on the outside. Washington worked to converted Troy Apke from safety to cornerback last year, but he did not play a defensive snap.


Bobby McCain
Kamren Curl
Jeremy Reaves
Darrick Forrest

Bobby McCain was a successful late offseason signing last year after he was released by the Dolphins in May. McCain played 93% of the defensive snaps and had a career-high with nine passes defensed as he played all around the secondary.

Kamren Curl was also moved around and the ability of both Curl and McCain to rotate allowed Washington to play in a two-high shell 55% of the time, which was the 10th highest rate in the league, while they only played two-high coverages 40% of the time, which ranked 16th.

There is likely to be an addition here since Washington did play so much dime last season, using defensive backs to play with box responsibilities. That role mostly belonged to Landon Collins, who returned to play 13 games and 60% of the overall defensive snaps, and was released this offseason. Washington used dime personnel 19.9% of the time when Collins was on the field and 10.9% when he was off it.

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