The Washington Commanders made a solid run this season with Taylor Heinicke under center that petered out as Heinicke came down to earth and Carson Wentz came back. Now the team heads into the 2023 NFL Draft with the No. 16 overall pick. With the Commanders’ No. 16 pick, the team could go in several directions. They have needs on the offensive line, in the defensive secondary, and of course, at quarterback. Here is what the Commanders’ draft could look like addressing these three need areas, starting with the QB position and Florida signal-caller Anthony Richardson.

QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

Unless the Commanders trade up into the top five of the 2023 NFL Draft, Bryce Young from Alabama, C.J. Stroud from Ohio State, and Will Levis from Kentucky will all be off the board. At the Commanders’ No. 16 pick, though, there should be a quarterback available with a first-round grade in Florida Gators QB Anthony Richardson.

Richardson is the most polarizing QB in this year’s draft. At 6-foot-4, 232 pounds with a rocket for an arm and athleticism to burn, Richardson is unquestionably the most physically gifted signal-caller in the Class of 2023.

From a purely physical perspective, he is Josh Allen 2.0.

There are two issues, however, with Richardson. One is that he is still raw and wildly inconsistent. There is almost no way he’ll be ready to be an NFL starter in 2023. That means the Commanders will have to basically throw away another season with a mid-level veteran QB before this Commanders’ draft pick is ready to go.

The other issue is his makeup. While he is incredibly smart and has excellent character, ESPN draft guru Todd McShay recently shared on the First Draft podcast that sources at Florida aren’t sure he “has the dog in him” to be a true franchise QB at the next level.

If Anthony Richardson does reach his potential, he could be the best QB in this draft class. And that makes him worth the risk for Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, especially with his current above-average job security during the tumultuous Daniel Snyder ownership era.

CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

The Commanders defense has the talent at almost every position to become one of the best units in the league over the next few seasons. Cornerback is the exception.

Live and breathe the NFL?

🚨 Get viral NFL graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

There are several college corners all bunched up at this mid-first-round level, and the combine will sort out where they ultimately go. Right now, it looks as though Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez could be available at the Commanders’ No. 16 pick, and he would be a perfect selection here.

Gonzalez is 6-foot-2, 201 pounds, and had four interceptions and seven pass breakups in 2022. He has everything a CB needs to become a true shutdown No. 1 corner in the NFL, which is why Washington should consider him at this spot.

Outside of Kendall Fuller, the Commanders don’t have any other top 50 corners in the league. As wide receiver corps around the league get better and more diverse, having a second player at the position who can shut down top pass-catchers (especially one who is three inches taller than Fuller) is hugely important.

If the Commanders’ draft produces a true CB1 like Gonzalez, it will propel the team’s defense into the upper echelon of the league and put them into contention even with an average offense next season.

OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State

Both the Commanders’ starting tackles — Charles Leno Jr. and Cornelius Lucas — are 32 years old and not among the top offensive tackles in the league. The best way to rebuild for any team is to start with the lines, which is why OT should be a consideration with the Commanders’ No. 16 pick.

Peter Skoronski of Northwestern should be the first tackle off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft and Anton Harrison of Oklahoma will be the third. If Paris Johnson Jr. of Ohio State gets past the New York Jets at No. 13, he would be an excellent selection for this Commanders’ draft.

Johnson is 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, and played both guard and left tackle for the Buckeyes in his career. This position-versatility gives him a high ceiling (franchise cornerstone LT) and a high floor where he could also start at guard if NFL edge-rushers give him problems.

If the Commanders pass on Anthony Richardson in the first round, any quarterback — be it Sam Howell or a veteran like Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo — will need a solid line in front of them, and Johnson would be a major building block toward that goal.