The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets. The Washington Football Team is the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.
In 2020 the Washington Football team became the first team since the 2015 Carolina Panthers to make the playoffs with a losing record. Coincidentally, that team was also coached by Ron Rivera, who began his tenure as Washington’s head coach last season. The Football Team put a scare into the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in that playoff contest, quarterbacked by Taylor Heineke. They ultimately lost, but have a foundation to build on.
Former first overall selection Alex Smith departed from the team (on bad terms) after winning Comeback Player of the Year. To replace him and to give Taylor Heineke some veteran competition, Washington signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will be entering his 17th NFL season on his ninth NFL team. Other key signings came in the form of wide receivers Adam Humphries and Curtis Samuel, and cornerback William Jackson III.
Perhaps no other division in the NFL is as wide open as the NFC East. Here is how Washington can use their first four draft picks in the 2021 NFL Draft to get back on top of it for the second season in a row.
2021 NFL Picks
Washington will have four picks to use in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick): No. 19
Second Round (one pick): No. 51
Third Round (two picks): Nos. 74 & 82
Offensive tackle- Washington franchise tagged Brandon Scherff, one of the best offensive lineman, let alone guards, in the league. But one excellent guard does not a cohesive line make. They need some depth here, especially at tackle.
Linebacker- Defensive wizard Ron Rivera loves his linebackers. He can seemingly never have enough depth or versatility at the position. Other front seven positions are also on his list, but expect Washington to focus on linebackers.
Quarterback- 38-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the future of the quarterback position in Washington. He may not even be a full-season answer for the Football Team. Henieke also has a lot to prove despite playing decently well at the end of 2020. Grabbing another quarterback is advisable, not just for competition, but for depth.
2021 Draft Targets
Pick No. 19: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
As with many teams in the middle rounds, the Washington Football team is benefitting from all of the scrambling by other teams to get inside the top 10 picks of the draft. There is plenty of high-level talent that is going to fall because other teams will be panic-buying high draft picks for quarterbacks and receivers.
Micah Parsons is the quintessential example of this. Yes, there are absolutely some questions about his character, if the stories coming out of Penn State are accurate. But he may be the best defensive player in the entire draft and Ron Rivera is going to have a very hard time saying no to a linebacker like this. He does everything; cover, tackle, defend passes and rush the passer.
If the new culture has truly taken root in Washington, Parsons is the perfect test of it.
Pick No. 51: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Taking Mayfield with a pick this low may prove to be very wishful thinking, but there is a relatively decent chance he will fall to the middle of the second round due to the amount of talented linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Mayfield is the exact kind of tackle the Football Team is looking for. He comes from a lineman-factory school in Michigan and he is strong enough to start Week 1. There are so many options in this draft that it is not the end of the world if Mayfield does not fall to them here, but he is exactly what the team needs to put next to a player like Scherff. Another option is Landon Dickerson, who played all five offensive line positions during his time at Alabama.
Pick No. 74: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
As discussed in previous draft profiles in this series, Campbell is a risky pick. Regardless, he will not fall out of the third round, so Washington is a team who could easily take that gamble. Their identity is shifting to defense quickly with players like Chase Young taking the league by storm. Rivera is the kind of coach that could not only get Campbell ready for the league quickly, but turn him into a lockdown option at the corner position.
Pick No. 82: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Speaking of risks, Trask definitely fits that mold. Less so, however, with a late third round selection. One of the best things to say about him is the sheer amount of tape that he provided during his time in Florida. The team that gets him more or less knows exactly what they are going to get out of him. Thus, he could only impress, rather than disappoint, right?
Either way, as stated above, Fitzpatrick cannot be given the job on veteran status alone and Heineke has not earned it either. They need someone fresh below them to light a fire underneath them.
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