NFL Draft: Emil Ekiyor Jr. a Potential Day One Starter for the Washington Commanders

Emil Ekiyor, Jr. is one of the most intriguing interior offensive linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft. The former Alabama standout has the size, strength and technique to be a dominant force at the next level.

He played both guard and center for the Crimson Tide, showing his versatility and adaptability. He was a key part of Alabama’s explosive offense that won the national championship in 2021 and reached the semifinals in 2022.

Ekiyor is projected to be a second or third round pick in the draft, but he could rise up the boards with a strong performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

He has the potential to be a day one starter for a team that needs help on the offensive line, especially in the run game. One such team is the Washington Commanders, who ranked 28th in rushing yards per game and 29th in sacks allowed in 2022.

NFL Draft: Emil Ekiyor Jr. a Potential Day One Starter for the Washington Commanders

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The Commanders have a solid core of young skill players on offense, led by quarterback Taylor Heinicke and wide receiver Terry McLaurin. They also have a formidable defense that features stars like Chase Young and Montez Sweat.

However, their offensive line has been a weak spot for years, and they need to upgrade their interior to protect Heinicke and open lanes for running back Antonio Gibson.

Ekiyor would be a perfect fit for the Commanders’ zone-blocking scheme, which requires linemen to be agile and smart. He has excellent footwork and balance, allowing him to move laterally and reach the second level. He also has a high football IQ and can make quick adjustments on the fly.

He is a powerful run blocker who can drive defenders off the line of scrimmage and create holes for Gibson. He is also a reliable pass protector who can anchor against bull rushes and mirror speed rushers.

Ekiyor has some areas to improve on, such as his consistency and his hand placement. He sometimes plays too high and loses leverage against stronger opponents.

He also needs to work on his punch timing and accuracy to avoid holding penalties and keep defenders at bay. However, these are minor flaws that can be corrected with coaching and experience.

Ekiyor has all the tools to be a successful NFL lineman, and he has the pedigree of playing at a high level in college. He has starter written all over him, and he would be a great addition to the Commanders’ offense.

He could form a formidable duo with right guard Brandon Scherff, who is set to become a free agent after 2022 but could be re-signed by Washington. Together, they could give Heinicke more time to throw and Gibson more room to run.

Ekiyor is one of the best interior offensive linemen in this draft class, and he should not be overlooked by teams that need help up front. He has the potential to be a Pro Bowl caliber player in the NFL, and he could make an immediate impact for the Washington Commanders.

Final Thoughts: Emil Ekiyor Jr. Could Be a Game-Changer for the Washington Commanders

Emil Ekiyor Jr. is an impressive prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft who could be a game-changer for the Washington Commanders. As a former standout at Alabama, he has the size, strength, and technique to excel at the next level.

His ability to play both guard and center makes him a versatile option for any team in need of help on the offensive line.

The Commanders, in particular, could benefit from Ekiyor’s skill set. Their offensive line has been a weak spot for years, and they need to upgrade their interior to protect their quarterback and open lanes for their running back.

Ekiyor’s agility, footwork, and high football IQ make him a perfect fit for the Commanders’ zone-blocking scheme. He has the potential to be a day one starter for a team that needs immediate help on the offensive line.

While Ekiyor has some areas to improve upon, such as consistency and hand placement, these are minor flaws that can be corrected with coaching and experience. Overall, he has all the tools to be a successful NFL lineman, and he has the pedigree of playing at a high level in college.

If the Commanders select Ekiyor in the second or third round of the draft, they could form a formidable duo with right guard Brandon Scherff.

Together, they could give their quarterback more time to throw and their running back more room to run. Ekiyor could be a game-changer for the Commanders, and he should not be overlooked by any team in need of help up front.