The son of the former Steelers linebacking star of the same name, Porter Jr. is a big (6-2, 194) corner who could plug in nicely for a team that could use quality depth beyond what Kendall Fuller provides.
The Commanders have spent significant draft capital on the front seven over the past couple years and have neglected the back end. It shows. The Commanders' secondary is clearly the weak point of this defense and needs to be upgraded. Drafting Devon Witherspoon is a step in the right direction and helps improve this secondary.
Coach Ron Rivera has recently said, "I know this: We will go into OTAs, minicamp and training camp with Sam Howell more than likely QB1, and we'll see what happens." As much as I didn't expect Howell to last until the fifth round last April, it wouldn't be a shock if the Commanders took a chance on Richardson if he was still available here. Given his size, athletic traits and immense dual-threat upside, Richardson most often draws comparisons to Cam Newton, who won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in Rivera's first season as a head coach. (To be clear, I'm not projecting that Richardson will win OROY, or even start in this scenario, but Rivera should appreciate Richardson's potential.)
The Commanders need cornerback help, and this is a loaded class for that position. Smith is a physical cornerback with good ball skills, recording six interceptions and 18 passes defended for the Gamecocks. He finished ninth in the country in passes defended per game in 2021 and allowed multiple catches just twice in 11 games that year. His speed is good but not great.
A terrific cover corner, Witherspoon allowed just 3.3 yards per attempt thrown his direction this season, second best in the nation, and he picked off three passes. Washington's pass defense improved a bit in 2022, but it still needs a dominant playmaker on the outside opposite Kendall Fuller. And Witherspoon's ball skills would help create some takeaways after the Commanders finished 28th with nine interceptions.
Taylor Heinicke, Carson Wentz and Sam Howell (he was solid versus the Cowboys in Week 18) likely won't prohibit the Commanders from seeking a quarterback. Especially one that might remind coach Ron Rivera of Cam Newton — not necessarily his fashion sense — his former MVP signal-caller in Carolina. Richardson is the wild-card in this QB class. His range is anywhere from first overall pick — I expect scouts and coaches/coordinators to fall in love with his traits (i.e. ceiling) — to a day two selection.
Skoronski's lack of length could be an issue for NFL teams in the top half of the first round. Washington had great success converting another Big Ten tackle to guard when the team moved former Iowa Hawkeye Brandon Scherff inside. Could be déjà vu all over again, with Skoronski's mobility and power making him an excellent pro lineman no matter where he lines up.