Draft Rumors: Commanders, Chargers, Giants, Bengals, Bears

It’s the eve of the 2023 NFL Draft, and connections are being made left and right. Every team has hosted several prospects and done their fair share of homework. Here’s a few things we’re hearing in the hours leading up to the draft:

  • The Commanders can go in a lot of directions at the exact midpoint of the first round. They’ve been connected to offensive tackle and cornerback prospects in most situations. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, though, Washington’s executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney is a big advocate for Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. The team has committed to last year’s fifth-round pick Sam Howell as their starting quarterback for 2023, as well as bringing in Jacoby Brissett as an experienced backup. Drafting Richardson would likely be a sit-and-learn situation while either Howell or Brissett man the starting spot under center.
  • The Chargers have been rumored to be looking ahead in this year’s draft towards next year’s needs, according to Breer. Even though wide receiver is clearly not a need with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Josh Palmer, Williams may end up as a cap casualty after this season with a pending $32.46MM cap hit in 2024. This could lead to Los Angeles getting ahead of that hole and drafting a wideout in the first round this year. Breer hears the team really likes Boston College receiver Zay Flowers.
  • Another team who could possibly be looking to cover a future contract situation, the Giants are reportedly fairly high on Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs, according to Breer. With contract negotiations with veteran Saquon Barkley being reported as tenuous, it’s hard to imagine general manager Joe Schoen further stirring the pot with another first-round running back. It would provide the team with a backup option if negotiations with Barkley turn sour, though.
  • The Bengals ranked 29th in 2022 for team sacks and are reportedly looking for more pass rushing help on the interior defensive line, according to Breer. At the end of the first round, there’s only so many options. Georgia’s Jalen Carter surely won’t still be around at No. 28 overall. Clemson’s Bryan Bresee has some strong tools but is expected to need to improve his pass rushing arsenal. Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey is the only real answer here. With 14.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the last two years, the diminutive tackle projects as a discount Aaron Donald. If Kancey isn’t available or not what the Bengals are looking for, they could trade back or just wait for someone like Auburn’s Colby Wooden in the third or fourth round.
  • Lastly, the Bears have been frequently tied to offensive line prospect Peter Skoronski out of Northwestern. It’s unclear whether they like Skoronski as an improvement at tackle or a new starter on the inside, but if he’s available by the time the tenth pick rolls around, it’s hard to imagine Chicago passing up the nearby offensive lineman.
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