We are 9 weeks away from the 2021 NFL draft, and it’s time to start looking at what the professional mock drafters are projecting for the Washington Football Team. Ron Rivera will be entering his second season as head coach, and he has completely reshaped the front office, bringing in former GMs Martin Mayhew, Marty Hurney, and Chris Polian. Washington rallied at the end of last year to win the NFC East with a 7-9 record. They did this while starting 3 QBs, and going with a 4th for their playoff game.
Quarterback is still a huge question mark going into the 2021 season. Taylor Heinicke, who put on a legendary performance against the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs, was re-signed. Alex Smith has been projected to be cut this offseason since his major leg injury in 2018, and his recent interview GQ Magazine has only added fuel to that fire. Washington attempted to trade for Matthew Stafford and inquired about other veteran QBs. Will Washington answer the QB question in FA, the draft, or both?
Some other big positions that need to be addressed if Washington wants to be the first team since 2004 to repeat as NFC East champions. They still need a long-term answer at left tackle. The linebacker position needs an immediate upgrade. Free safety continues to be a concern. Can we get some help for Terry McLaurin at wide receiver?
Mel Kiper Jr. released his 2nd mock draft this morning, and has given Washington an solution to one of those problems. His first mock draft of the year had the help coming from WR Kadarius Toney. Today’s pick has been a popular one in other mock drafts this month. Washington selects Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw, and protects starting QB...Taylor Heinicke!
What’s Washington going to do at quarterback? I don’t have one on the board this late with a Round 1 grade. If we assume Washington will figure that out before the draft — free agency starts in less than three weeks — that makes this pick easier. This team already has a young, talented defense, but it could address the offensive line, particularly if guard Brandon Scherff leaves next month. Darrisaw had a fantastic season, excelling as a run- and pass-blocker. He could play either tackle spot. In a rare deep tackle class, Washington could get a Day 1 starter here.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah’s second mock draft of the year also has Team Rivera going with Darrisaw.
Washington is going to address the quarterback position one way or another. I’m guessing the Football Team goes with a veteran addition to free them up to upgrade the offensive line with this pick.
Washington has been in the market for a left tackle since Trent Williams demanded a trade to San Francisco. Christian Darrisaw steps in to fill the void. The only question remaining, who will start at quarterback?
While Washington’s offseason starts and stops with the quarterback position, Ron Rivera’s squad won’t necessarily be in a position to select one of the top five prospects. Realistically, the team could move ahead with Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke (if re-signed this offseason). By taking that approach, the most logical plan is to build the cockpit around whoever starts.
Wide receiver and offensive tackle are extreme areas of concern. Fortunately, both positional classes are quite deep. In this particular case, one of the top three tackles is still available.
Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw can step in Day 1 and solidify Washington’s blind side. The 6’5”, 314-pound left tackle is an aggressive run-blocker and plays with a solid base in pass protection.
With the front five settled—as long as Brandon Scherff re-signs—Washington can address wide receiver a little later in the process.
ESPN’s Todd McShay released his second mock draft after this year’s Super Bowl. His mock dropped two days after Kiper’s and they both agreed that Florida WR Kadarius Toney was the pick at #19. McShay’s first attempt at projecting a player for Washington saw them getting QB Trey Lance who went #3 overall after the Carolina Panthers traded up to get him.
Toney isn’t the most polished receiver in the class, but he is ultraversatile and offensive coordinator Scott Turner could get very creative with the way the team uses him. After Terry McLaurin (1,118 yards), you have to look all the way down to Cam Sims (477) for the second-most productive WR on Washington this season. Toney caught 10 touchdowns with the Gators in 2020.
And of course, Washington is another QB-needy franchise. But Alex Smith is still under contract, and the team can afford to wait it out if no one falls to it in this spot. Washington could handle this in free agency or via a trade, too.
Former Bleacher Report draft head honcho and current ESPN contributor also has the Washington Football Team upgrading their WR corps.
Mac Jones feels like a possibility here, but Ron Rivera isn’t likely to tie his future to a quarterback with less-than-average athleticism and a so-so arm. Expect Washington to be very involved in Sam Darnold talks and to add weapons—like Florida burner Kadarius Toney—to make sure whomever is under center has weapons galore.
Do we need a QB in this mock draft? Of course we do! Are we going to get the QB that everyone wants at #19? Never! Pro Football Focus has Washington taking Alabama QB Mac Jones in the first round. Three of hi receivers are projected to go in the first round, and there are plenty of questions about him at the NFL level.
The Football Team has two options: they can try to upgrade the quarterback position with a veteran through a trade or free agency, or they can take a shot on a player like Jones if he falls to them at 19th overall. Of course, the Jones route comes with the added benefit of a rookie contract, which would allow Washington to continue fleshing out the remainder of the roster.
From a pure production standpoint, there is a strong argument to be made that Jones should go higher than this, and he very well could. His 95.8 PFF grade this past season was nearly five points higher than any grade Tua Tagovailoa recorded in a single season while at Alabama, and Jones was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the nation.
The concerns are about his ceiling and how much of his success owes to his situation on an absurdly talented offense while at Alabama. Still, there is reason to believe he can be an above-average starting quarterback in the right environment — an extremely valuable outcome for a quarterback on a rookie deal.
We can’t have a mock draft roundup without at least one player on defense. Especially when Head Coach Ron Rivera and Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio are both former linebackers. Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah(JOK) is one of the top LB prospects in this year’s draft and is pretty locked into the top 20. Many projections have him going one pick before Washington picks to Miami. Former Redskins GM Charlie Casserly calls JOK a better prospect that last year’s #8 overall pick Isaiah Simmons, and gives him to Washington in his first mock draft of the year.
A better prospect than Isaiah Simmons, Owusu-Koramoah will make an immediate impact and eventually become a star. A quarterback could certainly be in play here, depending on what Washington decides to do this offseason.
Who is the best pick for Washington at #19?
This poll is closed
OT Christian Darrisaw
WR Kadarius Toney
QB Mac Jones
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah