With the addition of Eric Bieniemy as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach to the Washington Commanders, there’s a fresh wave of hope for improved performance in the offense next season. With enough cap space and eight picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Commanders are situated well for making improvements.
There will be some impressive college hopefuls that may have attracted Bieniemy’s attention, as he continues to build his credentials ahead of future head coaching opportunities. Let’s take a look at some of the top picks for Washington:
1. Broderick Jones From Georgia Bulldogs
Obviously, improving the offensive line should be a top priority for the Washington Commanders. After Kansas City Chiefs managed to do it, their offense went to a whole new level. When the free agency begins there will be a budget allocated for the personnel changes but drafting a player like Broderick Jones may also be an option if he’s available at No. 16.
He was indispensably brilliant in his time with Georgia Bulldogs – his speed and agility gave him an edge over any kind of attack – and has all it takes to become a professional football superstar. Given that transition goes smoothly, Jones would be an instant starter and has great potential to join the Pro Bowl team very soon.
2. Michael Mayer from Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Michael Mayer, from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, is another ideal selection for the Commanders and their new offensive coordinator. On paper, Mayer looks to be the most balanced tight end in his class: he can effectively block, get downfield quickly, and attack the ball while in traffic.
His agility and ability to create separation make him a desirable option. If Bieniemy is looking towards improving the team’s passing game beyond Thomas and the existing core of receivers, then taking a look at Mayer could pay off huge dividends come draft night.
The presence of Michael Mayer in Washington would be incredibly valuable. His route-running ability, crisp hands, and physicality make him an exceptional player, and his blocking is already at NFL levels.
If he drops out of the first round, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy could advocate for picking him up. With his talent, Washington’s passing attack would surely be boosted.
3. Tyjae Spears from Tulane Green Wave
Meanwhile, the Commanders may choose to bolster their running back room with a new draft pick. Tyjae Spears is an interesting option. He received pre-season recognition and more significantly has the added bonus of being a proficient pass-catcher.
Getting Tyjae on board would give the new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy the chance to add yet another layer of flair to an already potent offense, thereby increasing the team’s chances of making a return to the playoffs.
Expectations skyrocketed after a stellar performance at the 2023 Senior Bowl, where his route-running and ability to swiftly move in and out of cuts was on full display. It’s a testament to his success at Tulane, where he made quite the impact as a dual-threat weapon.
He led the team with 1,837 all-purpose yards and scored 21 touchdowns – truely astounding numbers. Although it will be hard for him to transition into the NFL level, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy can deploy him creatively as an asset on offense.
4. Kayshon Boutte from LSU Tigers
The Washington Commanders may be happy with their collection of wide receivers, but if the perfect pick falls to them, they should go for it. Kayshon Boutte from LSU Tigers is an elite prospect who was originally projected as a top-10 pick before his final 11 games with the Tigers.
Boutte is an excellent athlete who could work out to be a great addition to the team if drafted. His size and agility make him a well-rounded receiver, so if he does manage to drop down far enough into the pecking order on draft night, the Commanders would be smart to snatch him up.
5. Anthony Richardson from Florida Gators
As the Washington Commanders consider filling their quarterback gap after parting ways with Carson Weltz, they may want to look toward college QB Anthony Richardson. His experience with the Florida Gators has shown plenty of potentials, and he could really benefit from Eric Bieniemy’s coaching style.
Considering Bieniemy’s success with Patrick Mahomes, many have high hopes that his offensive system and quarterback guidance can develop Richardson into an NFL-ready starter. Even though he’s still a little unpolished, it’s impossible to ignore the immense talent stemming from Richardson.
His dual-threat capabilities are incredibly impressive and he more than proved useful in the pocket over his last year at Florida. It might be a gamble for new coach Bieniemy, but taking a shot with Howell seems like a sensible option. He’s got obvious potential, so the risk is worth it.
A Tough Conference for Washington
The Commanders had an early exit last season even with a 0.500 record (8-8-1). Disappointing, yet not unexpected, considering the overwhelming strength of the NFC East in 2022. The Philadelphia Eagles finished with a 14-3 record and reach the Super Bowl LVII. The Dallas Cowboys finished 12-5 while the Giants also made it into the postseason the New York Giants surprisingly make their way out on the Wild Card round and face the Eagles in the Divisional.
It won’t be easy for Washington to compete against three teams that look playoff-bound again next season. There are numerous picks for Washington, but it will need more than that to succeed in NFC East.
As of today, here are the updated Super Bowl Odds from FanDuel Maryland sportsbook:
- PHI Eagles +900
- DAL Cowboys +1500
- NY Giants +4000
- WAS Commanders +5500