The Washington Commanders trade for Carson Wentz ruled out them taking a quarterback early in the upcoming draft.
With no guaranteed money left on his contract after 2022, Wentz is essentially entering a make-or-break year, even though Ron Rivera has expressed confidence in the former second overall pick as the long-term answer.
The Commanders’ head coach has raved about Wentz at every turn, seemingly communicating that the team would prioritize other positions in the draft.
With needs at wide receiver, safety, cornerback, tight end, and offensive line, it would be pretty shocking if they wereted an early-to-mid-round pick on a QB after they just unloaded two picks to acquire Wentz this offseason.
With that in mind, it didn’t surprise anyone the Commanders hadn’t hosted a quarterback during their rotation of pre-draft visits. That changed late last week, however, and now fans are questioning the team’s strategy.
According to The Athletic’s Ben Standig, Washington held a private workout with Nevada gunslinger Carson Strong.
Will the Commanders draft Nevada quarterback Carson Strong?
Yes, Wolfpack tight end Cole Turner was included in the workout, but Strong is the big takeaway for obvious reasons.
Of the 2022 class, Strong feels like the most likely quarterback to fall to Washington. With Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ridder all expected to go in Round 1 and Matt Corral and Sam Howell likely to come off the board in the second at the absolute latest, that leaves Strong as the de facto next-best option.
While it wouldn’t be surprising if Washington came away from the draft with a quarterback, we just hope they don’t reach for Strong.
With no third-round pick due to the Wentz trade, how smart would it be to take a quarterback with one of your six picks? Is this roster deep enough to withstand only adding five position players? And can we guarantee all of those five picks would be immediate contributors? These are all pertinent questions, folks.
The Commanders also have to consider what drafting Strong would do to their current Carson. If you remember, the Eagles’ selection of Jalen Hurts in the 2020 Draft rubbed Wentz the wrong way and seemingly sparked the beginning of his demise in Philadelphia. Why risk toying with Wentz’s confidence?
Of course, Strong isn’t nearly as well-known as Hurts was coming out of Alabama, but that shouldn’t matter here. It’s more likely that the fundamental idea of Philly drafting a quarterback offended the former Eagle.
We’re merely playing devil’s advocate here, but Wentz’s history reckoning with his team’s drafting a QB suggests it’s worth playing. If that variable wasn’t at play, Strong would make a ton of sense for Washington as a mid-round pick.
At 6-foot-4 and 226 pounds, the Nevada product has an ideal frame of a pro quarterback and some analysts view him as the best pure passer in this year’s class. Of course, Strong has had two knee surgeries, so he isn’t all that mobile and we all know Rivera thinks mobility is a must have intangible for QBs.
There are so many variables to consider with Strong that his injury history is almost buried at the bottom of the list of concerns. To review, here are the burning questions Washington must ask in its evaluation of Strong:
- With Taylor Heinicke on the roster, would it be worth spending a mid-round pick on another QB when the roster has other pressing needs?
- Would drafting Strong rattle Wentz’s cage? Big factor to consider.
- In a fast-evolving NFL, would it be smart to draft a QB who’s had multiple knee surgers and wouldn’t offer much from a mobility standpoint?
The Commanders have nine days to figure it out.