Broderick Jones

AFC East Rumors: Patriots OL, Saleh, Milano

With veteran left tackle Trent Brown departing in free agency, the Patriots are looking to fill his old role this offseason. As organized team activities have opened, free agent addition Chukwuma Okorafor has been taking first-team snaps at the position, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.

Okorafor, a former third-round pick for the Steelers, has spent the first six years of his NFL career in Pittsburgh. His first two seasons only saw the Nigerian find starting time as an injury replacement. After Okorafor finished out his rookie contract with two straight seasons as a starter, the Steelers rewarded him with a three-year, $29.25MM extension. After losing his starting job to first-round rookie Broderick Jones last year, though, the Steelers released Okorafor to free agency.

Now in New England, Okorafor will have the opportunity to re-earn a starting job and fill in for the departed Brown. Okorafor’s competition for the job will be Vederian Lowe, who started eight games in injury relief for the Patriots last year, and third-round rookie Caedan Wallace out of Penn State.

In additional offensive line news out of New England OTAs, second-year lineman Atonio Mafi was seen taking snaps at center behind starter David Andrews. Mafi, a former fifth-round pick who converted from defensive line to guard at UCLA, had yet to seen time at center while making five starts at left guard as a rookie. New offensive line coach Scott Peters and assistant offensive line coach Robert Kugler seem to have some interest in expanding his role on the line.

Here are some other rumors coming out of the AFC East:

  • We had reported previously that Jets head coach Robert Saleh had explored the idea of reducing the role of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. This exploration came after the seeing Hackett seemingly lost for options after the loss of starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers early in the season. A more recent report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini claims that Saleh is now taking a deeper role in the offense himself. The former defensive coordinator seems to be keeping a close eye over the shoulder of Hackett as their jobs both heat up in 2024.
  • Long-time Bills starting linebacker Matt Milano missed 12 games after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year. The team is looking to pair Milano back up with last year’s emergent starter Terrel Bernard, but that won’t be happening in OTAs. According to Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN, Milano is on schedule with his recovery, but “it’s probably going to be more closer to training camp until” he sees the field again.

Latest On Steelers’ Offensive Line

The Steelers offensive line in 2023 was pretty decent, allowing the ninth-least sacks in the NFL and ranking as the 13th-best rushing offense. Still, Pittsburgh opted to make a number of moves towards an upgrade on their offensive front for the 2024 season. In fact, the Steelers utilized their first two draft picks (and three of seven) this year on linemen, and all three could be in line to start as rookies.

The only position that lost a starter on the line this year was center. The team watched their starter of the last two seasons, Mason Cole, depart in free agency. Cole graded out as the league’s 29th-best center out of 36 graded players at the position last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). They have a couple options to replace Cole, including veteran Nate Herbig. Herbig hasn’t played center much at the college or NFL level, but he has versatile experience all over the line and could be utilized there in a pinch. The favorite to start, though, is the second-round rookie out of West Virginia, Zach Frazier.

At guard things are a bit more interesting. Like Frazier, fourth-round rookie guard out of South Dakota State Mason McCormick is currently slotted to start on the depth chart of the team’s website. McCormick is listed as the starting left guard, presumably because that’s the only position he played in college. The team’s returning left guard, Isaac Seumalo, graded out as the team’s best offensive lineman in 2023, though, per PFF. So, unless the team benches their top returning lineman, Seumalo or McCormick will need to move over to the right side to compete with James Daniels. Seumalo has experience starting at right guard in the past, so it makes the most sense to move him over.

At tackle, the Steelers utilized their first-round pick to bring in Washington lineman Troy Fautanu. Many projected Fautanu’s skillset to fit best at guard or center at the NFL-level, though he spent most of his time at tackle during college in Seattle. Pittsburgh believes that he has the ability to stay at tackle and start in the NFL. Pundits predict that last year’s rookie first-round pick Broderick Jones will remain at right tackle, where he played in 2023, putting Fautanu at left tackle to replace Dan Moore Jr. as the starter. According to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, though, Fautanu has spent the first three days of organized team activities at right tackle behind Jones.

Kaboly doesn’t think Fautanu will stay as the backup at right tackle, though. More likely, with OTAs serving as the ideal time to mold and learn. This experience is the perfect opportunity for Fautanu to learn both positions in the event that he may have to move over to the right side and fill in for an injured Jones. It’s not uncommon for offensive lineman to need time to develop, but the Steelers likely didn’t use their first two draft picks on players they didn’t intend to start.

Things are still extremely early. The rookies are still finding their footing, and a number of camp battles are sure to ensue. The team even has plenty of time to sign a veteran free agent if they deem it necessary. Still, Pittsburgh has the potential to serve as a rare occasion in which we see three rookies starting across the offensive line.

We last saw that in 2020 when the Dolphins started Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, and Solomon Kindley (their first-, second-, and fourth-round picks, respectively) as rookies. That Miami team improved their record from 5-11 the previous year to 10-6 despite the youth across the line. The Steelers may be hoping for a similar level of improvement.

Steelers High On OL Graham Barton, Eyeing Broderick Jones Shift To LT

The Steelers have two starter-caliber tackles, having drafted one of them (Broderick Jones) in last year’s first round. But the team did not replace February cap casualty Mason Cole. Center sits as an obvious need for Pittsburgh.

Linked to wanting to come away from the draft with center and tackle additions, the Steelers brought 11 offensive linemen in on “30” visits. One of them is generating significant interest as the draft nears. Some in the building view Duke prospect Graham Barton as a “generational”-type player, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.

Although Barton spent the past three seasons as the Blue Devils’ starting left tackle, he played center as a freshman. The 6-foot-5, 313-pound blocker is expected to return to center to start his pro career, and the Steelers appear a live candidate to select the former Duke mainstay at No. 20. This would be an interesting choice, with Barton having just five starts at center while in college. But he sits 22nd on Daniel Jeremiah’s big board; teams also have regularly converted tackles to inside players at the sport’s top level.

Cole started every Steelers game at center over the past two seasons, coming in after the team did not like former third-rounder Kendrick Green‘s progress. The Steelers could shift James Daniels back to center, where he spent some time in Chicago, but it does not appear that is the preferred option.

This draft is flooded with tackle prospects, with Jeremiah’s big board including seven in the top 25. With tackle a more valuable position, the Steelers passing on options at that spot to fill a need stands to generate a healthy debate in their war room — depending on which tackles the team likes and how the board looks at 20, barring a trade-up maneuver. The Cowboys, who sit at No. 24, are also interested in Barton.

Additionally, the Steelers do appear to be planning to switch Jones from right to left tackle. Earlier this offseason, Dulac predicted Jones — Georgia’s left tackle in 2022 — would move to the blindside post after spending most of his rookie year at RT. The veteran reporter adds the Steelers could prioritize a right tackle due to a desire to shift Jones to the left side. Dan Moore has operated as the Steelers’ LT starter for three seasons, but he is going into a contract year. Pro Football Focus has also continually given the former fourth-round pick low marks, though teams obviously do not use that as a surefire measuring tool.

Pittsburgh has Daniels, Jones and Isaac Seumalo entrenched as starters, and Moore has proven durable during his career. But two new blockers may be en route early in this draft. As Russell Wilson (or perhaps Justin Fields) prepares to take over, the Steelers’ line could certainly be upgraded from 2023.

OL Notes: Jets, Alt, Titans, Jones, Steelers, Shelton, Rams, Jones, Ravens, Giants, Hawks

Once the draft moves past its quarterback stage, wide receivers are expected to be the focus. This draft also features a few high-level tackle prospects that should go off the board soon after, potentially breaking up the QB-WR string that could lead off this year’s event. Arguably the top tackle available, Joe Alt, has begun his run of pre-draft visits. The Jets and Titans used “30” visits on the Notre Dame tackle this week,’s Ian Rapoport tweets. A first-team All-American in back-to-back years and the top tackle on Daniel Jeremiah’s big board (No. 8 overall), Alt should not need to wait long before his name comes off the board.

The Titans (No. 7) and Jets (No. 10) figure to be two prime suitors. The Jets are not as needy here compared to the start of free agency, having reacquired Morgan Moses via trade and signed Tyron Smith. The All-Decade blocker is among the NFL’s most injury-prone players, and with both Smith and Moses going into age-33 seasons, a tackle-in-waiting would benefit a Jets team that has encountered regular issues up front over the past several years. The Titans cut Andre Dillard and have not added a tackle, potentially making them the Alt floor. Though, the Chargers should not be entirely ruled out — now that Jim Harbaugh is running the show — of a first-round tackle investment to pair with Rashawn Slater.

Here is the latest from the O-line ranks around the league:

OL Rumors: Steelers, 49ers, Jets, Fins, Pugh

The Steelers may have executed a permanent switch at right tackle, and Chukwuma Okorafor believes it came because of comments he made near the end of the team’s Week 8 loss to the Jaguars. Pittsburgh benched Okorafor for its Thursday-night game against Tennessee, moving first-round pick Broderick Jones into the lineup. Okorafor said (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko) the Steelers benched him because he was “acting out” toward the end of the Pittsburgh-Jacksonville game. Mike Tomlin said (via The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly) Jones was deserving of an opportunity and helped the Steelers “provide a spark.”

Signed to a three-year, $29.25MM deal in 2022, Okorafor has been the Steelers’ starting right tackle since 2020. The team drafted Jones with the intent on making him its future left tackle, but a configuration in which left tackle Dan Moore moved to the right side to accommodate the rookie was floated as the more likely scenario this offseason. Since the Week 9 change, Jones and Okorafor said (via Kaboly and the Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac) they expect the Moore-Jones starting duo to remain due to Jones receiving the first-team reps this week. The Steelers’ depth chart lists Jones as the RT starter, though the Georgia product said he would prefer to play left tackle, where he lined up for the SEC powerhouse. Okorafor believes what he said has resulted in “significant” ramifications but maintains his benching was not performance-based, creating an interesting storyline to follow in Pittsburgh.

Here are some O-line subplots from elsewhere around the NFL:

  • Missing the past two games with an ankle injury, Trent Williams returned to a limited practice Thursday. Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers‘ All-Pro left tackle has dealt with more than a low ankle sprain, via’s David Bonilla. The 49ers lost both the games Williams missed, after dropping from the unbeaten ranks — in Cleveland — following Williams’ injury-driven exit in Week 6. A limited practice represents a good sign for Williams’ Week 10 availability and San Francisco’s offensive capabilities.
  • The Jets may soon be without yet another offensive lineman. Robert Saleh described Billy Turner as encountering a “concerning” injury, and’s Ian Rapoport notes the veteran blocker suffered a broken bone in his hand. This will leave Turner’s status uncertain for the Jets’ Week 10 tilt. Turner has not practiced this week, pointing to an absence. The Jets have turned to Turner at guard in the wake of Connor McGovern and Wes Schweitzer‘s IR trips. The team is likely to have Duane Brown back, however; the 38-year-old tackle — who remains on IR — has practiced fully this week. Saleh recently pointed to Brown’s return kicking Mekhi Becton back to right tackle.
  • Although left tackle Terron Armstead came off IR in time to face the Chiefs, the Dolphins played their Germany game without both starting guards. Isaiah Wynn is on IR with a potential season-ending injury, and Robert Hunt missed the game because of a hamstring ailment. Wynn fill-in Robert Jones also left the game, due to a hyperextended knee. While Mike McDaniel said Jones does not need surgery, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson notes Lester Cotton and 2022 left guard starter Liam Eichenberg are set to vie for the starting role before the Dolphins return to action in Week 11. A third-year UDFA who made his first career start in Week 9, Jones is likely to miss some time, per McDaniel.
  • Justin Pugh signed a one-year, $1.43MM deal to rejoin the Giants last month. Pugh’s second Giants contract includes an incentive package worth $2.1MM, he revealed on his NetWorth Podcast (via the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard). Pugh can earn part of that $2.1MM by hitting the 50%, 70% and 90% playing-time thresholds from the point he debuted (Week 6). Despite the October arrival, Pugh has started — at both guard and tackle — in each of the four games in which he has played this season.

Latest On Steelers’ Battles At OT

Last weekend, we noted how the Steelers seemed to be prepping first-round rookie offensive tackle Broderick Jones for a starting role in training camp. Now, after the team’s first preseason game of 2023, it seems Jones has some ground to make up on the incumbent starters from last season.

Pittsburgh opened camp not only with Jones at left tackle in place of Dan Moore, who started at the position all last season, but also with Moore in the place of Chukwuma Okorafor at right tackle. Not only did it seem that Jones was set to start as a rookie, it appeared that he was about to push both of the prior year starters out of their positions.

Mark Kaboly of The Athletic was not having it. Kaboly delivered an extremely honest and realistic take after attending Steelers’ practice last Sunday. What he saw did not have him feeling confident about Jones lining up against Nick Bosa in Week 1, when the 49ers open the season in Pittsburgh. Kaboly gave the rookie some credit; the young man is a physical specimen playing at one of “the most unnatural” positions on offense.

It’s never a given that a rookie can come in and start during their first season, but the Steelers traded up in the first round to select an offensive tackle for the first time in 25 years. It would seem like a disappointment for Jones not to develop into a starter to open his rookie year, but it’s only important that he develops into a starter eventually. The preseason will be an important time to get Jones acclimated to the speed of the game at the NFL level, but rushing Jones into starting action could be detrimental to the team and Jones’s development.

Right now, Kaboly asserts that Moore, the incumbent starter on the blindside, currently looks better than Jones. He certainly should considering he has 34 NFL starts on his resume. Jones is still learning the ins and outs of playing one of the most challenging positions in the NFL. Moore’s got the experience, as does Okorafor, who’s started 52 games over his first five years in the league.

To start the preseason tonight, the Steelers trotted Moore and Okorafor out in their starting positions from last season on the first series of the game. The rest of the contest saw Jones getting his feet wet against NFL competition as the team’s left tackle. That sequence of events seems to support Kaboly’s assertion. It seems the Steelers feel better about Moore and Okorafor’s abilities to start right now, while Jones still needs a bit of seasoning.

Jones delivered a mixed bag in his first NFL action. For much of the appearance, he impressed against a second-team Buccaneers defense, eventually showing inconsistencies as the game wore him down. The results don’t matter too much, though, for now. It was just important for Jones to get out there and start getting comfortable at the position. Despite not starting his rookie year on the first team, his draft stock makes him the de facto tackle of the future in Pittsburgh.

With Jones expected to take over eventually, that makes this season crucial for Moore and Okorafor. Both linemen are under contact through the 2024 season and would be likely extension candidates in the coming offseason. According to another Kaboly take, though, Jones’s presumed place atop future depth charts makes it likely that only one of Moore or Okorafor will be chosen to extend their tenure in Pittsburgh. It will likely be a combination of who performs better this season and who fits best across from Jones that will decide the team’s other tackle of the future.

For now, though, it appears Moore and Okorafor will continue their stints as starters on the Steelers’ offensive line. It’s too early to rule Jones out to open the season as a starter, but it’s seeming more and more likely that he’ll be coming off the bench to start the year and will need to continue working to earn a starting role.

AFC North Rumors: Browns, Steelers, Gordon

This offseason, the Browns gave offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt the added responsibility of quarterbacks coach. According to Mary Kay Cabot of, the move was part of a concerted effort to give quarterback Deshaun Watson everything he may need in order to succeed.

The team went out this offseason and secured receiving reinforcements for the veteran passer. This offseason, the team added two speedsters of varying vintage. The younger Elijah Moore comes over from the Jets in a trade as he tries to find his footing in the NFL. He’ll have an established veteran to learn from in Marquise Goodwin, whom the team signed back in March. They also added tight end Jordan Akins in free agency and used their top draft pick on Tennessee receiver Cedric Tillman in the third round.

Lastly, they gave Van Pelt the added title, a move that Watson reportedly endorsed heavily. Van Pelt has coached quarterbacks before for the Bills, Buccaneers, Packers, and Bengals, so the move isn’t completely out of left field. But the promotion of such an important coaching position shows just how far Cleveland will go to keep Watson happy.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC North:

  • It’s no surprise that the Steelers plan to start this year’s first-round pick, Broderick Jones, as a rookie. The surprise is that, in their efforts to start the tackle out of Georgia, they are resorting to shuffling around their offensive line configuration. Last year, Chukwuma Okorafor started every game at right tackle for Pittsburgh, while Dan Moore covered every game on the blindside for the Steelers. According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, the Steelers opened up the first team period of camp this week with Jones at left tackle, pushing Moore over to the right side of the line. Neither Moore nor Okorafor were necessarily stellar at their positions last year, hence the drafting of a tackle in the first round, but to see Pittsburgh push Moore out of position to make room for Jones shows just how much they want Jones to be in a position to succeed. Keeping Moore in the lineup shows that the Steelers are more concerned with starting the best tackles than keeping their tackles specialized on either side of the line.
  • The Ravens added some veteran running back depth last month in Melvin Gordon on a deal reportedly worth up to $3.1MM. Jamison Hensley of ESPN was able to provide us a few more details on the deal, disclosing that the contract has a base salary of $1.17MM with no reported guarantees. The remaining $1.94MM to get to the potential ceiling of the deal comes from undisclosed incentives that are not likely to be earned, meaning they won’t count against the team’s salary cap this year. If Gordon does, in fact, earn the full value of the contract, the $1.94MM will be counted against the 2024 salary cap.

Steelers Sign Round 1 T Broderick Jones

The Steelers are now down to one unsigned draft choice. Their first-round pick, tackle Broderick Jones, agreed to terms on his four-year rookie contract Friday.

Georgia’s left tackle starter last season, Jones is now under contract through 2026. By May of that year, the Steelers can decide to pick up his fifth-year option and push the deal through 2027. For now, Jones is early in his developmental stages. While he comes to Pittsburgh expected to take over at left tackle, the ascent is not guaranteed to happen before Week 1.

[RELATED: Steelers Sign Round 2 DT Keeanu Benton]

Although Jones entered the draft pool as one of this year’s top prospects, he spent one season as a primary college starter. Granted, it was for a program that won a second straight national championship. But Jones resided as a backup during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Following eventual Chargers sixth-round pick Jamaree Salyer‘s NFL entrance in 2022, Jones took over at left tackle for the Bulldogs. He started all 15 games on Stetson Bennett‘s blind side, gliding to first-team All-SEC acclaim and setting himself up as a higher-regarded prospect than Salyer.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc. graded Jones as the No. 3 tackle available and 13th-best overall prospect. After the Bears chose Tennessee’s Darnell Wright at No. 10, the Titans went with Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski. Following two non-O-line choices at Nos. 12 and 13, the Steelers swooped in with a three-spot move up the board. Steelers decision-makers have confirmed they believed the Jets were preparing to draft Jones at No. 15, leading to the trade talks with the Patriots, who enjoyed the ancillary benefit of denying the Jets a first-round-caliber tackle. While the Patriots also have questions at tackle, they preferred Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

Jones will attempt to wrest the tackle job from two-year incumbent Dan Moore, a 2021 third-round pick. The Steelers have received unspectacular tackle play from Moore and Chukwuma Okorafor, leading to the team’s first Round 1 tackle investment since 1996. But Moore has thus far held his own against the high-end prospect. This matter will not be settled until pads come on, and Jones is ticketed to be Pittsburgh’s long-term answer on Kenny Pickett‘s blind side. For now, however, the 14th overall pick is not a lock to begin the season as a starter.

With Benton signing earlier today, only No. 32 overall pick Joey Porter Jr. remains unsigned from Pittsburgh’s 2023 class.

Steelers LT Dan Moore In Line To Retain Starting Role?

An upgrade at offensive tackle was widely seen as a top draft priority for the Steelers this year, so it came as no surprise when they used their first-round selection (following a trade up the board) on Broderick Jones. That decision came with the expectation of a change on the blindside immediately taking place, but spring practices suggested otherwise.

However, incumbent Dan Moore has taken all of Pittsburgh’s first-team snaps so far this offseason, as noted by The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (subscription required). Moore has started all 33 of his regular season appearances in two years with the Steelers since joining the team as a fourth-round pick. His level of play over that span has drawn underwhelming reviews from PFF along with plenty of criticism. However, the team’s coaching staff has been impressed dating back to the 2022 campaign.

“If you watched him from midseason last year to the end of the season, he’s improved as much as anybody I have ever been around,” offensive line coach Pat Meyer said while evaluating Moore, 24. “To me, he’s going to be lights out.”

The Texas A&M alum did take a step forward in terms of PFF ratings in 2022 compared to his rookie season, though his overall grade (62.4) leaves plenty to be desired. Moore was charged with seven sacks allowed last season, as was the case in 2021. That may provide Jones a window of opportunity to showcase his pass protection in training camp, but one of the downsides to his pre-draft evaluation was his lack of playing experience at Georgia.

As a result, Kaboly adds that the eventual transition from Moore to Jones at left tackle may not take place in 2023, or at least by the beginning of the campaign. Interestingly, the former has also spent time practicing as a right tackle, the spot he is likeliest to occupy once the latter becomes a first-teamer. The RT position currently belongs to Chukwuma Okoraforas it has since 2020. Moore could very well find himself competing for the starting spot on that side, though the point at which that happens may be delayed relative to early expectations.

Latest On Patriots’ First-Round Trade Talks: Commanders, CBs, Jones, Jets, Steelers

The Patriots’ decision to trade their first-round pick (No. 14 overall) to the Steelers produced some fallout, with the Jets believed to have been targeting Broderick Jones at No. 15. The Commanders factor into this interesting decision as well, having also discussed a trade-up with the Pats.

Washington GM Martin Mayhew spoke with Patriots scouting director Eliot Wolf during the run-up to New England’s No. 14 selection. The terms discussed (via a video showing Commanders draft-night proceedings; h/t’s Mark Daniels) point to Washington not wanting to give up its third-round pick (No. 97) in a deal to climb two spots.

Mayhew indicated the team might be willing to send its fourth-rounder (No. 118) to the Patriots for No. 14, and a second phone conversation revealed the Pats were willing to throw in a sixth-rounder to acquire the Commanders’ third. But after the Packers chose Lukas Van Ness at No. 13, the Commanders stood down. Ron Rivera and Commanders exec Marty Hurney referenced the likelihood of either Emmanuel Forbes or Christian Gonzalez remaining on the board at No. 16 as a reason not to complete a trade with the Pats. As it turned out, both Forbes and Gonzalez were available.

Forbes, who returned six interceptions for touchdowns during a prolific career at Mississippi State, did not end up being docked for his size (6-foot, 166). Despite ESPN’s Scouts Inc. slotting Gonzalez as this draft’s eighth-best prospect and ranking Forbes 21st, Washington preferred the smaller player to the Oregon prospect. The Pats chose Gonzalez at No. 17.

The Commanders’ decision not to complete a trade to ensure they ended up with Forbes led to the Patriots sending their pick to the Steelers, who took Jones. The Pats ended up with a fourth-round pick (No. 120) two spots below the one they may well have been able to obtain from the Commanders, but the much-rumored bonus of denying the Jets a first-round tackle likely sweetened the deal for Bill Belichick and Co.

I’m not going to delve into the relationship between New England and the Jets; let’s just say I’m glad we found a partner,” Mike Tomlin said during a Rich Eisen Show appearance (video link). “I’ll put it this way: there wasn’t a lot of hesitation on New England’s end.”

Both Tomlin and GM Omar Khan confirmed the view inside the Steelers’ war room pointed to a Jets plan to take Jones. While the Jets have denied indicated they were comfortable with Will McDonald at No. 13 — their draft slot before the Aaron Rodgers trade — or 15, the belief around the league was a Jets preference for Jones. The Steelers are expected to give Jones a shot to unseat two-year left tackle incumbent Dan Moore.

We were speculating there. We knew with the acquisition of Aaron Rodgers and so forth, [the Jets] might be fishing in those waters,” Tomlin said. “And so we did what we thought we needed to do to get the player and the position that we coveted. … There was a run on the position, starting with, I think [Bears selection] Darnell Wright at about 10 where they were coming off pretty clean. We just had that as a position of priority and we had Broderick as an individual of priority.”

The Commanders chose corners in Rounds 1 and 2, selecting Illinois’ Jartavius Martin at No. 47. The team moved on from a William Jackson miscalculation last season and will expect Forbes and Martin to make significant impacts alongside Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St-Juste. Despite Fuller’s past as a slot corner, the Commanders are planning to leave him on the outside in their zone-based system, John Keim of tweets. Ron Rivera said OTAs have featured Forbes and St-Juste being used both inside and outside. Rivera noted the team liked what St-Juste, a 2021 third-rounder, brought as a slot defender last season.

As for the Patriots, Gonzalez marks the first pure corner Belichick has chosen in Round 1 since he took the reins in 2000. The team expected the Commanders to choose Forbes, leaving them Gonzalez, whom the Pats — despite their three-spot trade-down maneuver — universally held in high regard.

Teams have to wait a little bit here in the first round before they get their picks in. We didn’t know, but we had a pretty good feeling as to how Washington was going to play it out,” Pats player personnel director Mike Groh said (via Daniels). “So that sped things along for us. Again, it’s nice when you’ve got a consensus on a player. So from the coaching staff, to the scouts, we’re fairly unified grade wise on Christian. That just sped the process along.”