NFL Beast

The Best Damn NFL News Site Ever!


Bobby Gould’s Combine Hangover Third 2024 Mock Draft & Free Agency Conjecture

12 min read
   

#NFLBeast #NFL #NFLTwitter #NFLUpdate #NFLNews #NFLBlogs

#Washington #FootballTeam #WashingtonFootballTeam #WFT #NFC #HogsHaven

By: Bobby_Gould

Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Washington Commanders mock draft

For this third mock, I’ve decided to go in a slightly different – and far more ambitious – direction. We’re in a critical, but very short, window where we’ve been provided key athletic information on most of the draftees, but teams are not yet able to negotiate with free agents. As such, this is just about the last time to master plan the offseason before parts start falling into place in the real world.

That’s what I intend to do here, in several steps.

2024 Franchise Tag (must be determined by 4pm March 5)

In terms of Washington’s pending free agents, there’s really only one player who could even reasonably be considered for tagging: safety Kamren Curl. With a projected franchise tag amount of $17.2M, there’s simply no way I would consider Curl at that amount.

A more reasonable contract, which would put him just outside the top 10 paid safeties in the league would be a $12M AAV deal. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to assume he wants more and decides to test the waters elsewhere.

5th Year Option Decision (opened January 8, must be determined by May 2)

With a projected 5th year option price of $14.48M for Jamin Davis, this is one of the easier decisions to make this offseason. There’s almost no chance Washington picks it up, nor should they. This is also another reason you don’t use first round picks on linebackers (who don’t have EDGE versatility like a Micah Parsons).

Washington Commanders v New York Jets
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Free Agency (negotiation period opens March 11; signings begin March 13, 4pm)

Internal signings: (Total $28.5M)

First we’ll start with the free agents already on the team that I believe Washington should make the effort to re-sign. Where available, I will use the “market rate” amount offered by Spotrac, to avoid fudging the numbers too favorably in my own direction.

  • Curtis Samuel, WR – ($11.5M/year for 3 years) – Since his first, injured, season in Washington, Samuel has been quietly productive under less than ideal circumstances. Peters and Kingsbury see the potential of Samuel to thrive in a more creative offense, and lock the 27-year old into a 3-year deal.
  • Antonio Gibson, RB – ($4M/year for 2 years) – I’m generally leery of giving RBs second contracts, but Washington suppressed his value sufficiently that he’s worth keeping around. I look forward to a break out.
  • James Smith-Williams, EDGE ($3M/year for 3 years) – JSW seems worth keeping around in a depth role, especially given the team’s current situation at the position.
  • Cornelius Lucas, OT ($3M/year for 2 years) – The aging (32) swing tackle gets locked in for a couple more years.
  • Khaleke Hudson, LB ($2.5M/year for 3 years) – Hudson was one in a long line of players who Ron Rivera failed to use correctly until it was way too late. I’m counting on Joe Whitt to see his value.
  • Joey Slye, K ($2.5M/year for 3 years) – Slye’s value was dampened by some horrible snapping last year, but he’s worth keeping around.
  • Jeremy Reaves, S ($2M/year for 2 years) – Larry Izzo sees the benefit of keeping an All Pro special teamer on staff.

Lost, Despite Best Efforts:

  • Kendall Fuller, CB was a priority target for re-signing as the most reliable CB on the team for years. At a $14.1M valuation and 29 years of age, he’s just become too expensive to keep around during the “recalibration.” I wish him the best.

Key Cuts:

  • Charles Leno, LT – (save ~$7M)
  • Logan Thomas, TE (save ~$6.5)
  • Nick Gates, C – (save $300k)

Potential Comp Pick Generating Free Agent Losses:

  • Kamren Curl ($14.4M)
  • Kendall Fuller ($14M)
  • Jacoby Brissett ($8M)
Miami Dolphins v New York Jets
Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Outside signings ($46.6M):

As above, I’ve used Spotrac to estimate free agent contracts:

  • Bryce Huff, EDGE – ($16M/year for three years (well above Spotrac estimate)) – Huff picked the right year to break out. The almost 26-year old is hitting the prime of his career in a contract season. He could be a foundational piece to build around in DC.
  • Michael Onwenu, RT – ($14M/year for 3 years) – Onwenu switched from guard back to right tackle in the middle of last season, and played the position very well. Good tackles are hard to find, and with this move Adam Peters locks one in during the prime of his career (he’s 26) for several years. This allows the team to have both tackle positions locked down in 2024, and to target a developmental tackle in the draft to assume Charles Leno’s role once he departs next season.
  • Josey Jewell, LB – ($7.6M/year for two years) – Washington’s lack of players – much less, talent – at linebacker is staggering. Jewell helps stop the bleeding and provides a bridge for drafted talent at the position.
  • Jonnu Smith, TE ($6M/year for two years) – With Logan Thomas’ cut, picking up a free agent tight end becomes a must. Smith’s stock is low, and it’s a good time to buy.
  • Andre James, C – ($5M/year for two years) – James, 26, has been a solid presence inside for the Raiders for a few years. With a new QB, Washington can’t afford to fool around at the position.

Pre-Draft 53-Man Roster

Offense (25)

QB1: vacant

QB2: Sam Howell

RB1: Brian Robinson

RB2: Chris Rodriguez

RB3: Antonio Gibson

RB4: vacant

TE1: Jonnu Smith (free agent)

TE2: John Bates

TE3: vacant

TE4: Armani Rogers

WR1: Terry McLaurin

WR2: Jahan Dotson

WR3: Curtis Samuel (re-sign)

WR4: Dyami Brown

WR5: vacant

WR6: Mitchell Tinsley

OT1: vacant

OT2: Michael Onwenu (free agent)

OT3: vacant

OT4: Cornelius Lucas (re-sign)

G1: Sam Cosmi

G2: Andrew Wylie

G3: Braeden Daniels

C1: Andre James (free agent)

C2: Ricky Stromberg

Defense (25)

DT1: Jon Allen

DT2: Daron Payne

DT3: Phil Mathis

DT4: John Ridgeway

EDGE1: Bryce Huff (free agent)

EDGE2: KJ Henry

EDGE3: vacant

EDGE4: James Smith-Williams (re-sign)

LB1: Jamin Davis

LB2: Josey Jewell (free agent)

LB3: vacant

LB4: Khaleke Hudson (re-sign)

LB5: Shaka Toney

CB1: Emmanuel Forbes

CB2: Ben St-Juste

CB3: Tariq-Castro Fields

CB4: vacant

CB5: vacant

CB6: Christian Holmes

S1: Darrick Forrest

S2: Quan Martin

S3: vacant

S4: Percy Butler

S5: Jeremy Reaves (re-sign)

Special Teams (3):

K: Joey Slye (re-sign)

P: Tress Way

LS: vacant

Re-cap:

Washington goes into the 2024 draft with 12 final roster-level vacancies. Two of those, RB4 and LS will be addressed either with undrafted free agents or new vet-min deals. Even these “vacancies” could largely be filled by players already under contract. Essentially these represent easy opportunities to raise the ceiling of the position.

2024 Draft

“Needs”

  • QB1, OT1, OT3, EDGE3, LB3, S3, TE3, CB4/5, RB4, WR5, LS

This is the third of my 2024 pre-draft mocks, conducted using the Pro Football Network mock draft simulator.

This looks like a full re-build to me, and that calls for a small trade back from #2 to acquire more picks, particularly with as many good QBs are available in this draft. The Giants offered to trade back to #6, and I took it.

First round Trade

Washington offers #2 (717 pts) for NYG: #6 (446 pts), #39 (153), #47 (124), #70 (70), 2025 5th (8). 717 < 801. Washington comes out on top by about the value of a late second round pick.

Round 1, Pick 6 – Jayden Daniels, QB

Williams, Maye, Alt, Harrison, and Bowers were off the board at this point. If you think Daniels is unrealistic here, plug in JJ McCarthy as a substitute. One way or another, Washington gets its future QB1.

Round 2, Pick 36 – Tyler Guyton, OT

Ascending tackle prospect with the traits and tape to project a bright future as a high-level pass protector in the league. Guyton has battled injuries and had limited reps coming over from TCU after the 2021 season, but his flashes have been complemented by increasing consistency. He plays with a high center of gravity and needs to get stronger, but leveraged hand strikes can help overcome those concerns. He should continue to get better as a run blocker but might never shine in that department. Guyton’s value comes with his pass protection, as he has the length, feet and body control to become a human roadblock. He should become a talented starter at either tackle position.

Round 2, Pick 39 – Darius Robinson, EDGE

Right out of the gate, Robinson’s physical attributes should give him a potential advantage in head-to-head matchups. He has jarring power in his hands and a twitchy upper body to get rid of blockers quickly. His arm length is a weapon at the point of attack. His play can lack control and awareness at times, but the good outweighs the bad. He’s a good athlete, but his pass rush is predictable. He lacks potent moves and counters as an edge rusher, leaning heavily on force. Robinson’s power and motor increase the chances he becomes a good starting base end who reduces inside on third downs.

Round 2, Pick 40 – Kingsley Suamataia, OT

A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Suamataia spent time at Oregon before transferring to BYU and finding two years of starting experience. He has good size and adequate play strength, but sloppy hand placement limits control and consistency as both a run and pass blocker. Suamataia could struggle to handle NFL edge speed in pass protection, but he’s quick enough for move-blocking duties in outside zone and in space. He can redirect and mirror counters when he’s postured up and appears capable of dealing with bull rushers. The tape is more solid than spectacular, but Suamataia has the ability to become an average starting tackle on the right side.

Round 2, Pick 47 – Tyler Nubin, S

Talented safety prospect with the size, length and instincts that teams are looking for to shore up the back end. Nubin has the ability to play as an interchangeable safety but will make his money as a ball thief. He’s rangy over the top in two-high safety looks and plays chess in the middle of the field, using instincts to think along with the quarterback and pounce on throws from an angle. He’s average in man coverage and might lack ideal top-end speed, but his anticipation and discipline help make up for that. He’s capable in run support, but his pursuit angles get him beat outside. Nubin’s traits, instincts and ball skills give him an opportunity to become a successful long-term starter.

Round 3, Pick 67 – Max Melton, CB

Versatile inside/outside cornerback who displayed improvement every year at Rutgers. Melton carries good size and did a nice job staying with some of the better receiving options from the Big Ten. He’s adequate from press and has the burst to make up ground when he gets behind early. He’s at his best, however, when playing with his eyes forward from zone and searching for clues to jump in and make plays on the football. The ball skills can flip the field, and he’s very aggressive in collapsing the catch point. He’s capable in run support but needs to work on his angles of pursuit. His versatility, traits, instincts and ball skills could make him an eventual starter and an early CB3/4.

Round 3, Pick 70 – Sedrick Van Pran, C

Just as one of Van Pran’s strengths is channeling power, one of his biggest weaknesses is absorbing it. He frequently exposes himself to power and loses his balance and pad-level advantage when faced with opposing forces, and he’s not yet adept at preventing displacement at the center of the line.

Nevertheless, getting stronger and continuing to work on leverage should help Van Pran grow in that area, and on a broad scale, he has high-end explosiveness, football IQ, and tenacity worth banking on. He can be an impact starter as a run blocker early in his NFL career, and he has a Pro Bowl upside with more pass-blocking development.

Round 3, Pick 101 – Ben Sinnott, TE

Sinnott came in a bit heavier (6-foot-3 7/8, 250 pounds) than his listed weight at Kansas State (245) but still posted explosive jumps (40-inch vertical, 10-foot-6 broad) and a solid 4.68-second 40-yard dash to confirm the athleticism he showed at Kansas State. He also led all tight ends with a 6.82-second three-cone drill. His on-field work in drills was excellent, too. Sinnott’s knack for snaring throws on the move was on full display, as was his ability to make tight cuts around cones. Don’t be shocked if he’s picked in the early-to-middle second round.

Round 4, Pick 103 – Braden Fiske, DT

Defensive tackle with below-average mass and length who makes up for it with above-average quickness and a constantly revving engine. Fiske uses sudden hands and nimble feet to whip single blocks. Once he finds daylight, he flies to whoever has the ball. He doesn’t have the anchor to sit down and muddy gaps, so scheme will be important for him. Fiske is a hustle rusher who can win quick or late if opponents don’t play with proper hand usage and match his energy. He lacks ideal measurables but has a chance to become an impact defender.

Round 5, Pick 138 – Dylan Laube, RB

The New Hampshire star is gaining more fans this week. Laube carries a broad, muscular build. He showed off his speed to turn the corner during a wide-flowing run on Tuesday and beat Washington State cornerback Chau Smith-Wade on a post corner as a wideout during one-on-one drills on Wednesday. He’s worked at his craft as a slot receiver, and it showed last season with 68 catches for 699 yards and seven receiving touchdowns. There is often a concern about whether small-school players will be able to handle the jump in competition in Mobile, but Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy nailed it with the invitation for Laube, as he fits right in from a talent and confidence standpoint.

Round 6, Pick 181 – Mohamed Kamara, EDGE

Broadly built edge defender with substandard traits but lights-out production over the last couple of seasons. Kamara won’t be everyone’s cup of tea due to his lack of length and tendency to rely heavily upon his power. He gets into the pocket with violent hands, lower-body drive power and a relentless desire to meet the quarterback. He’ll have to prove he can circumvent long-limbed technicians on the next level, which could be a challenge. He’s not a classic edge-setter against the run but does a nice job of playing under blockers and sneaking into the gaps. He might drop some on draft day due to the measurables, but the kind of will to conquer he’s shown typically translates in the NFL.

Round 7, Pick 220 – JD Bertrand, LB

Team leader with above-average production who carries good lean mass on his frame. Bertrand’s stats are appealing, and he plays with a decent nose for the football, but his lack of speed and short-area quickness could be a major concern as teams project his ability to keep up with NFL skill players on the move. He needs to get much better at taking on or slipping blocks and finding a way to improve his angles and positioning to become a more consistent tackler. Bertrand could get a look on Day 3, but special teams might need to be his calling card.

Post-Draft 53-Man Roster

Offense (25)

QB1: Jayden Daniels (or JJ McCarthy) (draft)

QB2: Sam Howell

RB1: Brian Robinson

RB2: Chris Rodriguez

RB3: Antonio Gibson

RB4: Dylan Laube (draft)

TE1: Jonnu Smith (free agent)

TE2: John Bates

TE3: Ben Sinnott (draft)

TE4: Armani Rogers

WR1: Terry McLaurin

WR2: Jahan Dotson

WR3: Curtis Samuel (re-sign)

WR4: Dyami Brown

WR5: Mitchell Tinsley

OT1: Tyler Guyton (draft)

OT2: Michael Onwenu (free agent)

OT3: Kingsley Suamataia (draft)

OT4: Cornelius Lucas (re-sign)

G1: Sam Cosmi

G2: Andrew Wylie

G3: Ricky Stromberg

C1: Andre James (free agent)

C2: Sedrick Van Pran (draft)

OL1: Braden Daniels

Defense (25)

DT1: Jon Allen

DT2: Daron Payne

DT3: Phil Mathis

DT4: John Ridgeway

DT5: Braden Fiske (draft)

EDGE1: Bryce Huff (free agent)

EDGE2: KJ Henry

EDGE3: Darius Robinson (draft)

EDGE4: James Smith-Williams (re-sign)

LB1: Jamin Davis

LB2: Josey Jewell (free agent)

LB3: JD Bertrand (draft)

LB4: Khaleke Hudson (re-sign)

LB5: Shaka Toney

CB1: Emmanuel Forbes

CB2: Ben St-Juste

CB3: Tariq-Castro Fields

CB4: Max Melton (draft)

CB5: Christian Holmes

S1: Darrick Forrest

S2: Quan Martin

S3: Tyler Nubin, S (draft)

S4: Percy Butler

S5: Jeremy Reaves (re-sign)

Special Teams (3):

K: Joey Slye (re-sign)

P: Tress Way

LS: Guy off the street

Originally posted on Hogs Haven