WASHINGTON — The Washington Commanders have another defensive tackle from Alabama after selecting Phidarian Mathis in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night.
Mathis joins Crimson Tide products Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne on the roster. But Washington taking Mathis with the 47th pick opens up the possibility of trading Payne before he becomes a free agent following the 2022 season.
Mathis nevertheless gives the Commanders interior defensive line depth after losing Tim Settle in free agency and cutting Matt Ioannidis in a salary cap-saving move. He had 53 tackles and nine sacks in his senior season at Alabama.
Coach Ron Rivera said Thursday two main goals for the draft were giving new quarterback Carson Wentz more offensive weapons and some protection, while acknowledging there were also some needs on defense.
The Commanders checked the first box by taking Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson in the first round. The speedy, sure-handed pass-catcher provides Wentz another dynamic option to go along with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.
“Looking forward to that,” Dotson said of playing with McLaurin. "He’s a great athlete, one of the best in the NFL right now. I just can’t wait to learn from him.”
General manager Martin Mayhew said the Commanders wanted to add more draft picks, and they accomplished that by trading down from the 11th pick to No. 16, where they got Dotson. Washington acquired a third- and a fourth-round pick from New Orleans, giving it an addition selection Friday night and one more Saturday.
Help on the offensive line and a safety are the team's outstanding needs.