Commanders Draft grades 2022: Breakdown of each Washington pick

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAR 01: Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Commanders speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAR 01: Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Commanders speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The 2022 NFL Draft is over and it was a wild ride for the Washington Commanders. Let’s try to figure it all out and give them an overall draft grade.

With the 2022 NFL Draft over, there are always going to be reactions. A lot of those reactions are of the “over” variety. With that in mind, you have to try to stay rational. You need to remember that even with those rapid reactions and grades, things will change.

With that in mind, let’s grade the Washington Commanders’ overall draft.

Okay, obviously we’re going to have to keep everything I just said in the back of our heads. These are just grades for the immediate reactions. Looking back in a year, we could be looking at everything about this draft in a completely different light. But for now, this is the information that we have.

Washington went into the first round with the 11th overall pick. They traded back to add some later picks and ended up with the 16th pick. That was used on wide receiver Jahan Dotson out of Penn State. I loved this move.

Not just because he went to my high school (Nazareth baby!), but because the Commanders getting a playmaker like this is exactly what they need. He takes a lot of pressure off Terry McLaurin and gives the offense someone else they can trust.

Next was a second-round pick (47th overall). This was used on defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis out of Alabama. Honestly, this confused me. It’s not that Mathis is bad, but more the fact that Washington wasn’t really in need of a defensive lineman.

Yes, they lost Matthew Ioannidis and Tim Settle this offseason. And yes the Da’Ron Payne situation is strange.

But they do still have Payne. Oh, and Montez Sweat and Chase Young and Jonathan Allen. Still an insanely stacked group. There were much bigger needs. So taking a defensive tackle that wasn’t projected to go until the third, in the second, felt weird.

The third round (98th overall) was also used in a confusing way. This time the Commanders picked up running back Brian Robinson Jr. out of Alabama. Now, he’s a good player and there could actually be a role for him.

Especially with Antonio Gibson’s fumble problems and Robinson Jr.’s bowling ball running style that will get them those needed short-yardage situations.

Washington had Gibson and J.D. McKissic (who they re-signed this offseason) already on the roster though. Taking a running back when you had much bigger needs was a bold move.

The Commanders’ next pick came in the fourth round (113th overall) to take safety Percy Butler out of Louisiana. This made a lot more sense in terms of Washington actually needing the position.

However, Butler likely would’ve been there later in the draft. That being said, this was a good pick in my opinion. He is an athletic freak with tons of speed. Not only does he have a chance to compete for a starting spot immediately, but Butler will be a stud special teams contributor right out of the gate.

The fact that he’s making an impact day one gives a lot of value.

Next came the fifth round (144th overall). And with it, the Commanders got their best value of the draft. They snatched up free-falling quarterback Sam Howell out of the University of North Carolina. Howell is an interesting case. He was the projected number one pick a year ago.

But he fell to a projected second-rounder by the time the draft came around. Then QBs didn’t land where people were expecting, and Washington found him in the fifth.

The Commanders traded for Carson Wentz this offseason. But he’s only on a one-year deal. And even that doesn’t guarantee he’ll start all year. Howell might have disappointed in his final season in College, but the potential is there.

This could be a massive steal. And if it doesn’t work out, it was a fifth-round pick so it’s not the worst loss in the world.

Washington had another pick in the fifth round. They selected tight end Cole Turner out of Nevada with the 149th overall pick. This was definitely good value in my opinion.

Tight end was a position of need. Logan Thomas had that breakout year in 2020. And he looked good when he played in 2021. That was rare though as injuries really riddled his season – and it ended with a torn ACL.

John Bates was brought in from the draft last year, but he is not known as a pass-catcher. Turner on the other hand is a 6’7″ athlete that is going to be an absolute problem in the red zone.

The Commanders didn’t have a sixth-round pick. They had two in the seventh though. And with their first of those two (230th overall). With that selection, they added guard Chris Paul out of Tulsa. Obvious jokes aside (because I already made them), Paul is a phenomenal pickup.

He’s versatile, with the ability to play guard and tackle. And the fact that he started for four years in College. Paul can be a swingman backup as he tries to work his way into a starting spot.

Washington’s final pick was at 240th overall. They used that to bring in defensive back Christian Holmes out of Oklahoma State. This is a fun seventh-round pick right here. He has good size and great athleticism (can jump out of the gym).

Not the best speed for his position, but everything else is there. That includes some good instincts and coverage abilities. Holmes isn’t the youngest prospect in the draft, but he has the ability to fight for a spot pretty early on.

The Washington Commanders had a very up-and-down draft. They reached a few times and made a few picks far away from positions of need. However, there are quite a few things to love too.

Dotson is a stud receiver. Mathis and Robinson Jr. were the two “out of position” guys but they both bring a lot to the table. Butler is seen as a reach but he’ll contribute immediately. Getting Howell in the fifth could end up being the steal of the draft. Turner has great potential at tight end. And their late-round picks can contribute.

Overall, this wasn’t the Washington Commanders‘ best draft when looking at it through that “rapid reaction” lens. However, there are a few picks that could have us saying something very different in a few years. With that in mind, it’s hard to grade. But we’ll give them a solid overall.

Overall Final Grade: C+