How the Matt Ryan trade shakes up Commanders' NFL Draft board

Gardner Walker Ryan

The quarterback carousel that has defined the 2022 NFL offseason continued to turn on Monday, as the Atlanta Falcons sent longtime signal-caller Matt Ryan to Indianapolis for a third-round pick in return.

After missing out on Deshaun Watson and by trading Ryan to the Colts, Atlanta is officially in need of a QB (and no, signing Marcus Mariota does not solve that issue). The Falcons' first chance at finding their next franchise quarterback will come next month during the NFL Draft. Atlanta is slotted to pick eighth -- three selections before the Commanders.

Washington's need at quarterback has been solved — at least temporarily — after trading for Carson Wentz. Ron Rivera said this past Thursday he believes acquiring Wentz will solve the team's QB issues and hopes the partnership is long-term. The head coach didn't stop there, either, saying the trade "doesn't preclude" Washington from taking a QB at pick No. 11 but that Wentz is "our QB1 going forward."

If Washington is still entertaining the idea of drafting a quarterback at No. 11, the Commanders now have to worry about another QB-needy team selecting in front of them. Atlanta joins Carolina and Seattle as clubs picking before Washington in the draft that have a need at the sport's most important position. Detroit cannot be ruled out of selecting a passer, either.

Many draft experts believe that the 2022 quarterback class is weak. But as we've seen this offseason, teams have never been more desperate to find a franchise QB. If Atlanta, Carolina or Seattle like a specific signal-caller in the draft, don't expect them to pass up the chance to take that player in the first round.


It's worth reminding that no position is overdrafted more than QB. That won't change this year, even with a consensus weaker class at the position. It's more likely that multiple quarterbacks will be taken within the first 10 picks than not.

With a minimum of three teams firmly in the QB market selecting in front of Washington, the only way the Commanders can ensure they get the quarterback they want — if there is one — is by trading up. After giving up multiple picks to acquire Wentz, it's hard to imagine the Burgundy and Gold even entertain the idea of moving up in the first round to take a QB.

Let's flip to the other side of the spectrum, though: Even if Washington has ruled out taking a quarterback in the first round of April's draft, Atlanta's trade with the Colts could certainly impact the non-QBs that are available for Washington at No. 11.

Prior to the new league year, multiple mock drafts had Washington taking the first QB off the board at No. 11. Now, with three or four teams in the QB market within the top 10, the Commanders could have their choice of multiple players that the franchise didn't think would make it to them just weeks ago.

Cornerback is one position Washington could use more talent at, even with William Jackson III and Kendall Fuller. Now, there's a realistic chance both LSU's Derek Stingley and Cincinnati's Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner are still on the board at No. 11. Both players seemed to be likely top 10 picks just weeks ago.

Wide receiver is another spot the Commanders are likely to address in the draft, especially after a quiet free agency at the position. Now, Washington could have their choice of pass-catcher when they get on the clock. At the minimum, at least one of USC's Drake London or Ohio State's Garrett Wilson should still be available.

And, of course, Washington needs defensive line depth after losing Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle in free agency. Georgia star defensive tackle Jordan Davis should be on the board when the Commanders are on the clock. The 2022 class is deep at edge rusher, though, and Washington could go best player available and take Georgia's Travon Walker or Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux, should either one of them make it out of the top 10.

With multiple quarterbacks and offensive tackles expected to come off the board before the Commanders are on the clock, Washington should have multiple options at No. 11 to fill a significant area of need. 


And now with the Falcons officially in the quarterback market, perhaps one more expected top 10 pick will fall into Washington's lap at No. 11. We're just over a month from finding out.