It’s time for another edition of our NFL mock drafts. The Washington Football Team entered free agency with cash to spend, and after filling a few holes on its roster with some expensive veterans, Washington now shifts its focus to finding value in the draft. Washington will be operating the 2021 draft under a new brain trust – head coach Ron Rivera hired GM Martin Mayhew and EVP of Football Operations Marty Hurney to bolster Washington’s front office. The Football Team holds three picks in the top 75 and eight total picks in this year’s draft.
In order to become a mainstay in the playoffs, Washington needs to address their offensive line, skill positions, their quarterback room, and all-around depth. Washington signed journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason, and though they need a long-term answer, WFT will likely miss out on the top QBs since they are drafting in the 19th spot.
In the past four drafts, Washington has prioritized building the team’s defensive line in the first round, and so far, it is paying dividends for the WFT. The Washington defense ranked second in the NFL in yards allowed at 4,873, and the constant pressure provided by the first-round investments was a big factor in the team’s NFC East title. Moving forward, Washington needs to stabilize an offense that ranked 25th in PPG at 20.9 and 29th in total touchdowns at 16. Let’s take a look into how I believe Washington can improve its young core on both sides of the ball:
Washington Football Team NFL Mock Draft Day One:
1.19 | Teven Jenkins | OT | OSU
There is no denying that Quarterback is the highest priority for Washington moving forward, but I do not see Rivera putting together a hefty package for Deshaun Watson or a trade-up. Fortunately for Washington, this class is loaded with talent at left tackle – Washington’s next biggest need. At pick 19, I have the WFT sitting tight and getting a stud for a premium position of need.
Washington’s offensive line is set on the right side for the 2021 season with center Chase Roullier under contract, RG Brandon Scherff under the franchise tag, and RT Morgan Moses locked in. On the other hand, the left side of Washington’s line was makeshift all season. Veterans David Sharpe and Cornelius Lucas paired with 2018 third-round pick Geron Christian to split snaps at left tackle. Assuming Rashawn Slater and Christian Darrisaw are off the board, Washington goes with my OT4 in this year’s class – Jenkins has allowed 11 combined pressures over the last two seasons.
Jenkins gives Washington a player with the upside to be a bookend tackle for the foreseeable future – helping protect Fitzpatrick today and whomever Washington puts under center moving forward.
Washington Football Team NFL Mock Draft Day 2:
2.51 | Asante Samuel Jr | CB | FSU
Even with Washington giving William Jackson a four-year deal during free agency, I anticipate the Football Team still targeting the cornerback position early in the draft. Besides Kendall Fuller and Jackson, Washington’s depth at CB consists of 2018 seventh-round nickel Jimmy Moreland and UDFA Danny Johnson.
Samuel Jr comes from football pedigree and those intangibles pop out on film. Though he is undersized at 5-10, Samuel plays much bigger than he is. Samuel is a great man-to-man corner that also tackles well in the run game. In the NFL you can never have too many great pass rushers and cornerbacks, and this move, paired with the Jackson signing, gives Washington the makings of an elite secondary.
3.74 | Amari Rodgers | WR | Clemson
Washington’s offense was anemic last season, and coach Rivera made it a priority to add a playmaker by signing his old player Curtis Samuel to a four-year deal. Washington also added veteran slot, Adam Humphries, to a one-year deal. The Samuel signing gives Washington now three players (Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin) who amassed over 1000 scrimmage yards last season that are 25 years old and younger. The signing of Fitzpatrick should help these young threats blossom, but make no mistake, there is still room for Washington to improve the skills positions, especially WR.
Amari Rodgers gives Washington another young, ascending WR. Rodgers, a senior, had his best season at Clemson last year – he posted 77 receptions and recorded 1,020 receiving yards, and was the lead man on the Tigers’ offense. Washington has a few young WR options like Cam Sims, Steven Sims, Kelvin Harmon, and last year’s fourth-round pick Antonio Gandy Golden, but none of those four players are irreplaceable. Rodgers can come into Washington with a chance to start in the slot immediately.
3.83 | Kellen Mond | QB | Texas A&M
It is no secret that Quarterback has been Washington’s Achilles heel the past two decades, and Washington has no clear answer under center past the 2021 NFL season. Washington also should be just as good if not better than they were this past year, so there is minimal reason to believe Washington will be drafting in the top 10 in the 2022 draft.
Fresh off a Senior Bowl MVP, in comes Kellen Mond, one of the biggest risers on draft boards since the end of this past collegiate season. Mond can take the entire 2021 season as a redshirt and soak up all he can from Fitzpatrick in the QB room which makes this pick a slam dunk for Washington. Though there is no guarantee he will succeed in improving his ability to make reads, at least Washington can provide an environment for Mond to learn how to be a pro, how to study film, and how to hone his blossoming skills.
Washington Football Team NFL Mock Draft Day 3:
4.125 | Trey Smith | IOL | Tennessee
The strength of Washington’s offensive line last season was Scherff, the all-pro right guard, but Washington was still incapable of getting a long-term contract signed with their 2015 first-rounder. Scherff is playing the 2021 season under the franchise tag which commands $18 million of salary. Unless something gives on either side, RG can quickly go from a strength to a glaring hole for Washington moving forward.
Trey Smith has the skills, size, and power to start in the NFL immediately. Smith entered Tennessee as a tackle but found himself a home at right guard for the Vols. The biggest red flag for Smith is the medicals – Smith dealt with blood clots in his lungs over the 2018 season and has been taking blood thinners since 2019 to help prevent that issue. Medicals aside, Smith is a 6-6, 335 powerhouse, and at pick 125, Smith can be well worth the risk for Washington. He can prove to be a useful depth piece on the interior or even catapult to a starting role as soon as the 2022 season.
5.163 | Justin Hilliard | LB | Ohio State
Though he had a slow start to last season, Washington’s 2019 fifth-round LB Cole Holcomb is blossoming into a strong tackler that impacts the run game. However, besides Holcomb and veteran Jon Bostic, Washington is basically devoid at LB.
Hillard is a tough evaluation since he was the fourth linebacker on his own team in college. Furthermore, Hillard’s history of injuries (a bicep injury in 2018 and a torn Achilles in 2019) may also deter some teams from giving him a look. On film, Hillard showed a strong ability to diagnose run plays and make sound tackles. Though I do not think Hillard is as polished as Holcomb was coming out of the draft, Washington’s vacancy at SAM LB gives Hillard a shot to push for a roster spot and snaps.
7.244 | Luke Farrell | TE | Ohio State
Logan Thomas‘ emergence last season was a very welcome surprise for Washington. After having to move on from Jordan Reed, one of the most explosive tight ends in football when healthy, Washington was forced to find a replacement on the run. Thomas, a QB turned TE, was a revelation last year, showing athletic traits and ball skills that resulted in 72 catches for 670 yards.
Besides from Thomas, Washington is thin at TE, and this draft class is on the weaker side for playmaking tight ends. Farrell, however, would be the perfect complement for Logan Thomas. Though he is not an explosive athlete or a dynamic threat, Farrell relished the role of the grinder for Ohio State, frequently buried in the trenches blocking and creating opportunities for teammates.
7.246 | Tommy Doyle | OT | Miami OH|
With their final pick in the 2021 NFL draft, I envision Washington adding another developmental piece to their offensive line. Over three years in Miami, Ohio, Tommy Doyle played both tackle spots and his strength in the run game pops on film. Doyle needs to improve in pass protection, but overall, he would be a strong developmental piece to Washington’s offensive line.
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