Should the Commanders Trade Up To Draft an OT? Here’s How Much It Would Cost Washington

The Commanders will draft a QB at No. 2, but they desperately need a left tackle, too. Will Washington think about trading up on draft night?

While we don’t know the identity of the player the Washington Commanders will select with the second overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, it will almost certainly be a quarterback.

LSU’s Jayden Daniels is the betting favorite to come off the board at No. 2, but North Carolina’s Drake Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy might also be in consideration.

Finding a franchise QB is item 1A on Washington’s draft to-do list — but signal-caller is hardly the club’s only need.

The Commanders also have a gaping void at left tackle after releasing starter Charles Leno Jr. Sending a rookie quarterback out behind a blindside-protection problem isn’t the best idea, and Washington has the draft capital to trade up for a tackle it likes.

Commanders Should Move Up for a First-Round Offensive Tackle in 2024 NFL Draft

Leno started 47 games for the Commanders over the past three seasons but missed four games in 2023 before undergoing hip surgery in March.

While Washington could re-sign Leno later this summer or add another veteran free agent OT like Donovan Smith or Mekhi Becton, general manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn may prefer the idea of pairing their rookie quarterback with a first-year left tackle.

The 2024 offensive tackle crop is considered strong but somewhat top-heavy. This year’s OT class also features a clear tier break after the top seven tackles.

Joe Alt, Olu Fashanu, Taliese Fuaga, JC Latham, Amarius Mims, Tyler Guyton, and Troy Fautanu rank as top-25 overall prospects on Pro Football Network’s Big Board.

Those options are followed by a cluster of four tackles — Jordan Morgan, Kingsley Suamataia, Kiran Amegadjie, and Roger Rosengarten — ranked between No. 41 and No. 62.

Washington selects at No. 2 overall but won’t pick again until No. 36, the fourth selection of the second round. Peters and Quinn have five other top-100 choices — Nos. 36, 40, 67, 78, and 100 — to work with.

“They have the flexibility, with the draft capital and those extra picks, to make any move they so choose to go up,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper said of the Commanders during a Thursday conference call.

Kiper sent Morgan to Washington in his most recent mock draft but admitted the club’s plans could change.

“It depends on, who do you love?” Kiper said. ” … To me, that’s the decision you have to make. Who slides a little bit that you have a high grade on?”

PFN Mock Draft Data Illustrates Commanders’ Decision

While the Commanders could hold onto their swath of draft capital and stack talent in a rebuilding year, it might make sense to package a few of their extra picks to trade up for an offensive tackle. If they wait until pick No. 36 to find an LT, Peters and Quinn will likely miss out on the top-seven Tier 1 prospects.

Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft Simulator data elucidates Washington’s potential problem. All seven Tier 1 offensive tackle prospects have average draft positions (ADP) before the Commanders’ picks at the top of Round 2:

  • Joe Alt: 7.4
  • Olu Fashanu: 10.9
  • Taliese Fuaga: 15.0
  • Troy Fautanu: 18.4
  • JC Latham: 20.1
  • Amarius Mims: 20.2
  • Tyler Guyton: 28.6

Sumataia (35.4) and Morgan (36.4) have ADPs at the beginning of the second round, suggesting many MDS users are sending an OT to the Commanders at No. 36.

If Washington wants a Tier 1 option, it needs to trade up — and they have the draft capital to do it.

The Commanders probably need to get ahead of other OT-needy teams like the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 18), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20), Miami Dolphins (No. 21), and Dallas Cowboys (No. 24) to feel comfortable about landing a top-seven prospect.

The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the 17th pick in the first round and could make perfect trade partners. A deal that sends picks 36 and 40 to Jacksonville in exchange for No. 17 is roughly fair, regardless of which trade calculator is used.

Should the Commanders Trade Up To Draft an OT? Here’s How Much It Would Cost Washington

By moving into the middle of the first round, Washington should have a shot at at least two high-end offensive tackles, if not three or four.

Of course, how the board plays will affect how strongly the Commanders consider a trade-up. If more defensive players than expected start hearing their names called early in Round 1, enough tackles might fall that Washington doesn’t feel pressured to make a move.

The club has enough draft capital that it can think about smaller moves, too.

Acquiring pick No. 26 from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for example, would allow the Commanders to get ahead of teams like the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, and Kansas City Chiefs, all of whom could use a tackle near the end of Round 1. A move to 26 might only cost Washington 36 and 78.

The Commanders have a bevy of paths to choose from as they look for a long-term left tackle. But don’t be surprised if they decide to move up the board for a top-tier option on draft night.

KEEP READING: Top OTs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s all-new Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls — lone wolf or with your friends!

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