The Washington Football Team reached the playoffs last season with some of the worst quarterback play in the NFL and nearly beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Taylor Heinicke. While they will have a great chance to take another step forward in 2021, don’t expect it to be with a rookie quarterback leading the charge.
Sitting at the No. 19 pick, the WFT has little hope of a top quarterback falling to them. At the very least, we will see four passers drafted within the first 10 picks. There’s also an increasing likelihood that all five of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones are taken within the first nine selections.
If Ron Rivera and Co. want a potential franchise quarterback, someone to develop behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, they must trade up. With one of the NFL’s best defenses and an improved offense, Washington could theoretically afford to make a blockbuster draft-day trade. But with the 2021 NFL Draft closing in, it seems nothing will happen.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer believes the Washington Football team won’t be trading up for a quarterback this year. Instead, the organization will prioritize strengthening its roster and being in the best possible position to contend in 2021.
It’s hard to blame the front office for having that mindset. Just to move up to No. 3 overall, the San Francisco 49ers traded three first-round picks and a future third-round selection. Holding the 19th pick, even if Washington targeted No. 8 overall, the cost would likely be multiple first- and second-round picks for discussions to even begin.
Who will the Washington Football Team draft in 2021?
If Washington is committed to Fitzpatrick as the starter this season, they can still win the NFC East. There’s a real chance this defense is even better than we saw in 2020. On the other side of the ball, signing Curtis Samuel should help give this offense more explosiveness. With that in mind, the WFT can go a few directions in the 2021 NFL Draft.
In terms of needs, Washington could address offensive tackle, linebacker or its secondary at No. 19 overall. Trading down is also an intriguing option, but the front office already has three Day 2 Picks (52, 74, 82) to operate with. So, barring a strong offer, it’s expected that Washington will stay put.
An offensive tackle like Teven Jenkins or Christian Darrisaw would be a fantastic addition. Jenkins is tenacious as a blocker, bringing a demeanor and physicality that is unmatched in this draft class. Darrisaw is a bit more raw, but profiles better at left tackle and could thrive in pass protection.
On the defensive side, linebacker Zaven Collins is an intriguing fit. He is a ridiculous athlete for his size and is more than capable of rushing the passer, dropping back in coverage and unleashing huge hits on running backs. He’s a projected top-25 pick and would fit in Rivera’s defense quite nicely.
We’d also keep an eye on cornerback Caleb Farley. A consensus top-10 talent, he underwent a microdiscectomy this spring and there are some concerns about the longevity of his NFL career. But he absolutely boasts the ability to be a shutdown cornerback and adding him to this secondary might give Washington the best defense in the NFL.