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VERIFY | Can the Commanders get a star with the 16th pick in the NFL Draft?

A look at past NFL drafts shows that very good players are available at the spot where Washington picks, if it chooses not to trade its first pick

WASHINGTON — The Washington Commanders are slated to pick 16th when the first round of the 2023 NFL draft begins Thursday. After missing the playoffs last season, fans hope some new talent will make a difference.

The Verify team looked at historical data on NFL drafts to see what level of talent fans can expect to be available to the Commanders, if they choose to use their first round pick and don't trade it away. 


Can the Washington Commanders get a star player with the 16th pick in the NFL Draft?


The National Football League

The Pro Football Hall of Fame



This needs context.

The answer may depend on a fan's definition of what qualifies a player as a star.


If a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the benchmark, Washington fans are likely to be disappointed. Only one player has earned a place in Canton after being picked 16th, but he is one of the best players ever: wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Recent history does show that teams can find good players with the 16th selection. In the last 10 years, half of the players taken at that spot (Zach Martin, Marlon Humphrey, Tremaine Edmunds, Brian Burns, and A.J. Terrell) have been selected to either a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team during their careers. In that same timeframe, only two players picked 16th overall (E.J. Manuel and Kevin Johnson) are now out of the league.

But Washington fans should know better than most about what the team could add with the 16th pick. The Commanders picked Jahan Dotson in that same spot last season, and he had a productive and promising rookie season.

Here are the players selected 16th overall in the previous 10 NFL drafts (listed by year, name, position, and drafting team):

  • 2013 E.J. Manuel, quarterback, Buffalo Bills
  • 2014 Zach Martin, offensive guard, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2015 Kevin Johnson, cornerback, Houston Texans
  • 2016 Taylor Decker, offensive tackle, Detroit Lions
  • 2017 Marlon Humphrey, cornerback, Baltimore Ravens
  • 2018 Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker, Buffalo Bills
  • 2019 Brian Burns, linebacker, Carolina Panthers
  • 2020 A.J. Terrell, cornerback, Atlanta Falcons
  • 2021 Zaven Collins, linebacker, Arizona Cardinals
  • 2022 Jahan Dotson, wide receiver, Washington Commanders

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