2022 NFL Draft: Commanders Improve Season Outlook

From April 28-30, the seven rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft had football fans across the country on edge. This year’s draft was filled with unconventional and unsuspected picks, completely transforming the 2022-2023 season outlook.

The sole quarterback selected in the first two rounds was University of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett at the No. 20 pick. Pickett will be staying local with the Pittsburgh Steelers, looking to give the former Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky a run for the starting quarterback position– a spot which recently opened up after two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement at the end of the 2022 season.

The Baltimore Ravens took Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton at the No. 14 pick and the University of Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum at the No. 25 pick. With new additions to their defense and offensive line, the Ravens look to strengthen their line-up and challenge the Steelers in the AFC North.

Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected University of Georgia defensive tackle Travon Walker as the first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. According to Sporting News, the Jaguars plan to play Walker as an outside linebacker to improve their defensive capabilities.

The Detroit Lions picked up University of Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 pick. As a versatile defensive lineman known for his sacking capability, the Lions look to sharpen their defense. At No. 12, the Lions chose the University of Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams. Coming off of a strong season at Alabama, Williams is expected to improve Detroit’s scoring ability.

After finishing the 2021-2022 season at 4-13, the New York Jets were looking to build their roster with three first-round draft picks. To strengthen their defense, the Jets picked University of Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardener at No. 4 and Florida State University defensive end Jermaine Johnson II at No. 26. With their third pick of the first round, the Jets drafted Ohio State University wide receiver Garrett Wilson at No. 10. With Wilson’s ability to stretch opposing defenses and secure contested passes, the Jets hope to have more offensive production this upcoming season.

For the local Washington Commanders, the 2022 NFL Draft showed promise, according to ESPN sports analysts. Armed with a new name, logo and players from the offseason, the Commanders are looking to improve this season.

The Commanders traded draft picks to get No. 16, 98 and 120 in exchange for No. 11. With the No. 16 overall pick, the Commanders chose Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson, an explosive player with exceptional route running and precise footwork. Fans hope that Dotson will become a top passing target for the team’s new quarterback, Carson Wentz.

At No. 47, the Commanders selected University of Alabama defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis. After losing both defensive tackles Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle in the offseason, the Commanders aim to rebuild their defense with Mathis. The Commanders also selected University of Alabama running back Brian Robinson at No. 98 to reduce the load on running back Antonio Gibson and add depth to the position.

In the later rounds, the Commanders selected safety Percy Butler from the University of Louisiana at No. 113 and quarterback Sam Howell from the University of North Carolina at No. 144. Butler and Howell will provide depth at their respective positions. For their last three picks, the Commanders selected University of Nevada tight end Cole Tuner, University of Tulsa guard Chris Paul and Oklahoma State University cornerback Christian Holmes.

In the offseason, the Commanders picked up offensive guard Andrew Norwell and defensive end Efe Obada as free agents. The team also re-signed running back J.D. McKissic, offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas, wide receiver Cam Sims and cornerback Bobby McCain.

According to analysts from Sports Illustrated, the Commanders have one of the easiest schedules this season in the NFL. With their new additions from the 2022 NFL Draft and free agency, the Commanders can expect an improved season and, potentially, a shot at the NFC East.