As the 2022 NFL Draft draws ever nearer, options are becoming clearer and clearer. That’s why it’s a little odd to see Ben Standig of The Athletic report that the Commanders will travel to meet with Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker.
There’s nothing wrong with doing due diligence and making sure you’ve done your research on a prospect, but it’s hard to imagine any scenario where the fourth-best prospect on The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s prospect rankings falls to Washington’s first-round pick at 11th overall. There’s always a chance the Commanders could trade up to move into a better position to draft the versatile lineman, but it’s likely they’re just preparing for multiple scenarios with high hopes that one of the top prospects slips their way back to them.
Of all the prospects Washington has conducted visits with in the Draft process so far, the highest-ranked are Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson, and USC wide receiver Drake London. They also plan to meet this week with Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks. It’s extremely likely that one of these five prospects will be available to them at 11, and they may even be able to move back a few picks, to acquire a little extra draft capital, and still be able to get a prospect they covet.
The three receiver prospects make a lot of sense for Washington to look at. After bringing in quarterback Carson Wentz this offseason, the Commanders would love to add a talented pass-catcher to pair up with star receiver Terry McLaurin. With Landon Collins departing in free agency, Washington would be more than content to bring in the versatile Hamilton to pair up with Kamren Curl in the secondary.
Another reason the Walker visit is a little surprising is that the defensive line was a strength for Washington last year and the key pieces are all returning. It could be speculated that Walker would be a nice addition in preparation for the Commanders to eventually lose one of those returning contributors. Jonathan Allen recently signed a four-year deal, but Daron Payne is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Both young ends, Montez Sweat and Chase Young, have impressed in their first few years and are likely looking forward to big contracts in the near-future.
Walker spent most of his time in Athens at defensive end, but bounced all around the line with his large, strong frame. The high draft projections are mostly based on potential, as he didn’t have a ton of production as a Bulldog. In three seasons with the team, Walker started 15 of 36 games and racked up only 9.5 sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss. Despite the lack of output, it’s viewed as extremely unlikely that Walker drops past the third-overall pick, with some even speculating that he could be the first-overall pick in the Draft.
Still, the Commanders have put themselves in an enviable position. At eleventh-overall, Washington has a litany of options available to them to help improve their team.