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PhiDarian Mathis: Player Profile

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After trading back in the 1st round of the 2022 NFL Draft to acquire more picks. The options for the Commanders entering the second round of the draft were wide open. Middle Linebacker, Safety were the most popular ideas among fans, but Rivera threw us a curveball.

That curveball came in the form of the 47th pick in the second round when Washington selected DT PhiDarian Mathis from Alabama.

A defensive tackle early in the draft was certainly a surprise for most fans and media. The selection of Mathis clearly spoke to a concern Rivera had with the defense and the defensive line. Rivera’s penchant having and building a stout group up front was key in his decision to select Mathis.

So, what are we getting in PhiDarian Mathis?

Stout Run Defender

At 6’4”, 310lbs Mathis possesses a thick lower half that is built for digging into the ground and holding his own against the run. With 34-5/8” arms Mathis can keep offensive lineman at bay giving him enough separation so he can clog rush lanes and stop the ball carrier in his tracks. While not a top-level athlete, he does have great lateral explosion that helps him shoot gaps while causing problems for the ball carrier.


Mathis is an extremely strong player, but that strength can only get you so far as a defensive lineman. Most Alabama defensive lineman are highly skilled with their hand placement and usage. Mathis is no exception here. PhiDarian has strong hands which he adeptly uses to control his opponent and move him where he wants him to go. He has an array of moves like (rips, swims, clubs, swipes, etc.) to keep his body free of would-be blockers. A major prerequisite of having great technique is preparation. In a recent interview with (The Draft Network), PhiDarian spoke about his preparation by saying “I do a lot of film study. I study my upcoming opponent all week long. I go into every game with a clear and concise plan in mind”. By that comment it is clear to see that Mathis’s technique is based on a lot of work behind the scenes. He is a dedicated player that takes his time putting work in all phases of his game.


Yes, leadership has been an important trait that Ron Rivera has looked for in players that he brings into the team. Mathis certainly fits the bill in this department. Prior to the 2021 College Football Season Mathis was named permanent Team Captain by coach Nick Saban. Mathis has been a player who leads by example and will set the standard for his teammates to follow. Mathis is a highly passionate player who gives his all on the field and off with his tireless preparation.

PhiDarian isn’t a perfect player by any means, but he comes to the Commanders as a player who can hit the ground running with his NFL ready frame and an unrelenting passion to play on the field.

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