Who will Washington draft in the First Round? The tea leaves say it’s Ohio State WR Chris Olave

2022 NFL draft

For now, assume Washington will at least kick the tires on whichever top quarterback prospect is available.

Keep in mind, most teams – including those who are set at the position – will meet with the top QB prospects, so don’t put much stock into the fact that the Commanders have formally or informally met with all of them.

So if it’s not quarterback, then which way is the team leaning?

Start by creating two lists: one for all the players mocked to Washington, then another list for the players who are or already have met with the team.

That’s where the mock draft roundup compiled by Hogs Haven’s Scott Jennings comes in handy.

According to the roundup, USC receiver Drake London was picked to go to Washington in 11 different mock drafts, followed by Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson (nine mock drafts.)

However, the player most commonly picked to go No. 11 overall to Washington is Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, who was the Commanders’ top pick in 12 mock drafts.

How much stock should you put into the mock drafts? Individually, not much.

Collectively, though, those mocks start to paint a clearer picture.

That’s because many of the analysts are “plugged in” to their respective team or the league in general, meaning they get their information from team or player sources. Others, like NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein, heavily weigh the players’ tape. And then you get the analytic sites like Pro Football Focus, which obviously base their opinions on an overwhelming amount of statistical data.

It’s why an analyst like The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, for example, is higher on Georgia pass rusher Travon Walker than PFF or why Zierlein isn’t as high on North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson as other draft analysts.

Now compare those players with the prospects Washington is either going to interview or has already held a formal or informal meeting with to see if additional patterns emerge.

In this case, wide receiver is the common denominator. It was the position most widely mocked to Washington with pick No. 11, and thus far, it’s one of the positions the team appears to be focusing on the most with its interviews/meetings, according to available information.

Now see if any of the players mocked to Washington are among the prospects the team is meeting with, and only one name emerges: Ohio State receiver Chris Olave.

So pencil in Olave as the team’s pick on Day 1.

For what it’s worth, that’s right in-line with his ranking in the latest Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board, which ranks Olave No. 11 overall and the No. 1 receiver prospect.

Other takeaways include:

Safety

Washington very well could be eying Hamilton, but he’s not listed among the players who will take part in the team’s official 30 visits, nor is he mentioned as someone who has interviewed with the team. However, Maryland’s Nick Cross met with the team during the Combine. Cross told NBC Sports’ JP Finlay that his meeting with the team was “definitely a productive conversation.” Obviously, analysts think safety is a possibility with Hamilton leading the way. But if he’s not the pick – and he might not be, as his draft stock is falling – then don’t be surprised if Washington addresses the position in Round 2 or on Day 3.

Linebacker

Utah’s Devin Lloyd is picked to go to Washington in two recent mocks drafts. Although it appears that he’s not among the players Washington has met with or will meet with, the team has brought in three LBs, including two with Round 2-Round 3 projections (Alabama’s Christian Harris and Wyoming’s Chad Muma) and one who’s generally ranked in the Round 3 to Round 4 range (Montana State’s Troy Anderson). Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume the Commanders won’t draft a LB in the first round, but rounds 2 or 4 are certainly a possibility (Washington doesn’t own a third-round pick).

Receiver

The team has also met (or will meet) with three receivers: Olave, plus Arkansas’ Treylon Burks and Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce. Burks is seen as a mid- to late-first round pick, but Pierce is generally seen as a Round 3 or 4 prospect. He’d be amazing value with pick No. 113 overall in the fourth round, but there’s a great chance he doesn’t last that long. And, without a third-round pick, Washington would have to take Pierce in the second round to secure his services, meaning, they’d have to over-draft him in that round.

Who will Washington take with its first-round pick? Find out in Fanspeak’s latest mock draft for the Commanders.

 

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