Why Commanders should take a WR in the first round of 2022 Draft

Why Commanders should take a WR in the first round of 2022 Draft

In the before time – and by that, I mean before the Jacksonville Jaguars paid Christian Kirk $ 300,000 for every catch he has ever made in the NFL – I would not have advocated the Washington Commanders use this year’s first-round draft pick on a wide receiver .

Kyle Hamilton would have been my choice. If he were gone, I would have looked for Travon Walker or Trent McDuffie. It’s not because I prefer defense to offense. It just works out that those are the players that I think have the best chance of having immediate impact at the pro level.

Wide receivers are notoriously unreliable when making this transition. Commanders fans are well aware of the unpleasant history. A lot of first round mediocrity has passed under the bridge since Washington grabbed Art Monk in 1980.

But the math has changed now. All it took was one insane contract for Christian Kirk.

Kirk is a decent receiver who may get better in the coming years. But let’s be honest. He hasn’t done much in his four years in Arizona. Playing mostly as a second, or third fiddle, Kirk managed 17 touchdowns in 56 games.

So by that measure, the Jags are paying him just over $ 4 million for every TD pass he has caught.

After Kirk signed his deal, elite receivers like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill began a “Show me the money” chant that resulted in both being moved to new teams. Vegas is paying Adams more than $ 14 mill. That’s a lot of money, though on a per catch or per TD basis, it is still dwarfed by that Kirk deal.

Now, Deebo Samuel has asked for a trade from San Francisco. You can read how this might affect the order of the upcoming draft here, but to me, this is just a continuation of the explosion kicked off by the Jags’ Kirk deal. So even if San Fran decides to honor Deebo’s request and looks for a trade partner, and even if you, as a true blue Washington Commanders fan begins fantasizing about what Deebo and Terry might look like in the same offense, you have to stop and consider the NFL’s new math.

That new math suggests that a team cannot carry two veteran elite receivers.

Sure there will be the odd exception, but going forward, this is will be the reality. We all assume that Washington is working on a long-term deal with McLaurin, and most of us hope they will get it done. But in the wake of Kirk, that price tag went way up. This means Washington has to least consider trading McLaurin for a knockout offer. I sincerely hope that will not happen.

Washington can hope and pray that they reach a deal with McLaurin, and that both Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown perform better (or in Samuel’s case, at all) than they did in 2021. That remains a pretty big gamble at this point.

And so, the Washington Commanders have to address this need through the draft.

This is how team’s will have to build rosters moving forward. They can afford one veteran stud. If they want a second stud, he has to be on a rookie deal. Realistically, that means you will have your stud tandem in place for 3-4 years before you have to reload. That may mean moving the vet. It may mean letting the younger player leave. Either way, you will have to find your next rookie stud 3-4 years down the road.

If the 2021 draft is any indication, the NFL is getting a little better at rating receivers. The three receivers taken in the first 10 picks of the draft – Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, and DeVonta Smith – were the three best rookie receivers in the league. But the results after that were a very mixed bag.

This year, at pick No. 11, there will be several excellent prospects. My choice would be Chris Olave, but I have read plenty of draft boards that have him fourth or fifth. My version of this new math drops Jameson Williams back because you cannot wait for your rookie to emerge. You need him on the field making plays from Day 1. And I drop Drake London and Treylon Burks back a bit simply because I don’t see very many big receivers flourishing in today’s NFL. So it’s Olave or Garrett Wilson for me.

But of course there are exceptions and I could be wrong in my projections.

But I’m not wrong about this. Wide receivers are going to eat up a larger and larger share of a team’s salary cap in the near future. If you want a dynamic passing attack with multiple threats, at least one of them is going to have to be a bargain. That means rookie contract. That means the Washington Commanders – whether they trade back or not – should take a wide receiver with their first pick.

After Desmond and Michael and Rod and Josh, those are not words I ever thought I would type. But then, I never thought any team would be foolhardy enough to pay Christian Kirk like he was the second coming of Jerry Rice.

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