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NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both go defense for Washington in the first round

Draft day mocks!

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We did it! It’s draft day morning for the 2021 NFL Draft! Lying season is still in full swing, and a lot of teams are linked to trading up, trading down, and every other option out there. Everyone is posting their final mock drafts to try to get credit for predicting what 32 different teams are planning tonight.

Todd McShay takes a big swing first for the Washington Football Team and has them drafting one of the more controversial first round prospects in this year’s draft, Penn State LB Micah Parsons. He is considered the top LB by a lot of people, but red flags continue to get thrown his way throughout the draft process and he opted out of last season. It’s still no where near certain that he would even be available at #19, but if he is, and Ron Rivera selects him, it’s a huge positive check in his character column.

Kiper goes in another direction for the Washington Football Team at #19, and gives them a player that has been linked to them recently. Safety has been an issue here since Sean Taylor’s death, and Trevon Moehrig gets the nod in the first round to try to provide a long-term solution. Kiper also mentions the possible move of safety Landon Collins to LB this year which would change a lot of things on defense going forward.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah continues to be the most popular pick for Washington. This trend has continued over the last month leading up to the draft, and it won’t be a surprise to most people if he is indeed the pick. One mock draft even has Washington trading down 4 spots and still picking up JOK. Jamin Davis(my pick) is still getting love here, but several people feel a trade down would be ideal to pick him up later than #19.

The offense is still getting a good amount of 1st round picks this week. Mac Jones and Trey Lance still show up this week, and rumors of Washington wanting to trade up are still out there. Christian Darrisaw is the top pick on offense at #19, and is frequently mocked as the 3rd OT off the board, but often before Washington gets a shot at him. Rashod Bateman and Kadarius Toney are the options at WR.

Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

E$PN+(Kiper)

There could be an opening at safety if Washington moves Landon Collins into more of a hybrid linebacker role. Moehrig is outstanding in coverage.

Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Pro Football Talk(Florio)

Even with William Jackson III added in free agency, more corners would be useful for an improving defense that is on the verge of becoming one of the best in the league.

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

E$PN+(McShay)

This is excellent value for Parsons, a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who would help stop the run and be the quarterback of the defense. I also expect Washington to pursue a quarterback — maybe Stanford’s Davis Mills — in Round 2.

CBS Sports(Edwards)

Micah Parsons slides a bit and Washington fills a position of need with the best player at his position.

Round 2: Walker Little, OT, Stanford

Pro Football Focus

Parsons was at one point the betting favorite to be the first defender chosen, and while he has since fallen off, there is a relatively good reason for it. However, his statistical comps when looking at coverage include Bobby Wagner and Fred Warner, two off-ball linebackers that we’ll all argue matter.

Football Outsiders

A well-documented off-field issue at Penn State, an opt-out year, and playing a non-premium position such as off-ball linebacker all contribute to Parsons falling a tad here, but Washington isn’t one to complain. The new administration took WFT to the playoffs last season in a down NFC East where they relied on a top-five DVOA defense. In his time with the Panthers, Ron Rivera coveted an athletic linebacker patrolling the line of scrimmage. He gets that in Parsons who excelled as a pass rusher too.

Touchdown Wire(Farrar)

With five former first-round picks on their defensive line, and the brilliant acquisition of cornerback William Jackson III in free agency, the Football Team is setting itself up to have perhaps the NFL’s best defense in 2021. They ranked third last season behind only the Steelers and Saints in Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted metrics, so it’s not a far-fetched claim. The one thing that could push Ron Rivera’s defense over the top is the addition of a true table-setting linebacker who can blitz, blow up run fits, and has the agility to cover all over the field. Parsons qualifies on all counts. Built like a terrifying strong safety at 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds, Parsons has a rare combination of blitz ability, run-stopping and coverage potential that would give Rivera a taste of the linebacker talent he had with the Panthers in Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

ESPN NFL Nation(Keim)

Pro Football Network(Sculte)

Credit to PFN Draft Analyst Matt Valdovinos for following this pick and tracking down plenty of connections for it to happen. Ron Rivera spoke about some of his former first-round picks, and he had this to say about Shaq Thompson, a former LB/S hybrid he drafted while in Carolina.

“Position flex, athleticism, intelligence. ‘Cause we were gonna ask him to do a lot.”

That sounds an awful lot like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He’s the perfect defensive weapon for Jack Del Rio to utilize and helps take that already great defense to another level.

Round 2: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Washington has star Terry McLaurin and signed Curtis Samuel in free agency. However, I believe they are still looking to add more playmakers on the perimeter to their WR room. This wide receiver class boasts so much talent that it would be remiss not to take advantage of.

Rondale Moore is an electrifying talent. He’s a bit of an outlier with his size, and the durability concerns are certainly noteworthy, but Moore’s talent is superstar-worthy.

Round 3: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

Despite the addition of JOK, Washington needs to add another free safety to play deep. Troy Apke’s play so far has left a lot to be desired, and that’s not the kind of safety that Landon Collins or Kamren Curl is.

Andre Cisco is a rangy, deep safety who posted incredible interception numbers (13) in college, proving his abilities with the ball in the air. Washington was already an excellent defense, and adding a playmaker of Cisco’s caliber would make it even more so.

Davis Mills, QB, Stanford

There’s been speculation that Washington wants to trade up and nab one of the top quarterbacks in Round 1, but I don’t see that happening right now. With Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinecke, and Kyle Allen on the roster, Washington has their quarterbacks for 2021, but they could look to find one in the future.

Davis Mills is a prototypical “pro-style” quarterback with a good blend of size, progression speed, and touch. He doesn’t boast the strongest arm in the class, but he can put some zip on the ball and is generally accurate. He hangs in the pocket and doesn’t easily get fazed by pressure. I think his skill set will remind OC Scott Turner of some previous quarterbacks he’s coached and had success with.

Round 4: James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati

Fake Pigskin(Hallam)

Washington needs an offensive boost, but LB is the big defensive hole. Owusu-Koramoah would make this one of the best defenses in the NFL and be a terror to play against.

Round 2: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

Round 3: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

Larry Borom, OT, Missouri

Round 4: Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State

Round 5: David Moore, C, Grambling State

Round 7: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas

Jonathan Adams, WR, Arkansas State

NFL.com(Lewis)

One of my favorite players in this entire draft, JOK can do it all. I mean, how many first-round picks do you see run down the field and blow stuff up on kickoff coverage like Owuso-Koramoah did last year? (See: Duke game.) He earned Pro Football Focus’ second-highest slot coverage grade. Reminder: We are talking about a linebacker! This is the type of player creative defensive coordinators covet. He’d give the WFT a dynamic playmaker at the second level to match the elite talent up front.

NFL.com(Jeremiah)

Washington still has major needs on the offensive line, even after trading for Ereck Flowers this week. However, head coach Ron Rivera has a track record of taking athletic linebackers in the first round (Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson). Owusu-Koramoah’s speed and intelligence will be highly coveted.

The Athletic(Brugler)

Washington could go offense here with a left tackle or possibly trade up for a quarterback. But if they go defense, linebacker makes sense with either Owusu-Koramoah or Jamin Davis.

LA Times(Farmer)

Not a ton of experience, he played just two games in his first two years, but Owusu-Koramoah is a linebacker-safety hybrid who can line up all over and make an impact.

NFL.com(Zierlein)

*TRADE - Washington trades down to #23(Jets)

Washington moves down and still adds a dynamic linebacker who can shut down the running game, rush the passer and drop into coverage. There is still polish needed with his overall instincts, though.

Yardbarker(Trachtman)

Washington is on the cusp of having an elite defense but has to strengthen their linebackers. Owusu-Koramoah would fill a major need at linebacker and was a major playmaker for the second straight season at Notre Dame, with 62 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 12 games.

Round 2: Richie Grant, S, UCF

Philly Voice(Kempski)

A little mini run on linebackers here, as JOK is a hyper-energized LB/S prospect who flies around the field and makes plays. He can be a modern three-down linebacker for former linebackers Ron Rivera and MagaJack Del Rio.

Pro Football Focus(Renner)

Owusu-Koramoah completes the league’s most imposing front seven. JOK put up the second-highest coverage grade of any player from the slot last season — and he’s a linebacker.

CBS Sports(La Canfora)

Ron Rivera has been around a lot of great linebackers, and this kid has abundant potential. Moehrig will merit heavy consideration if he is there, but leaning LB.

Establish the Run(Silva)

Cover maven in middle of field.

Ben Standig

Draft Wire(Easterling)

Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

CBS Sports(Edwards)

Washington has a scary defensive front and now the Football Team adds an athletic and accountable linebacker to defend the second level.

Round 2: Walker Little, OT, Stanford

Josh Norris

Ron Rivera and Marty Hurney have a long history of athletic linebackers being difference makers on that side of the ball.

The Draft Network(Reid)

This is my surprise pick of the first round. Davis has experienced a meteoric rise since the end of the season. At 6-foot-3 ½ and 234 pounds, he ran an official 4.41. That speed matches the tape, as he’s a patient and instinctive second-level player. With a need at linebacker and considering that he has a military background, Davis is someone that will appeal to Ron Rivera. Military kids are known for their structure and discipline, which could give him a significant boost up. A bit of a late bloomer, Davis’ best playing days could be ahead of him as he continues to gain exposure in the middle

The Draft Network(Weissman)

A bit of a surprise here as Davis goes ahead of more highly-touted names such as Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Zaven Collins, but from everything I have heard from league sources, Davis is going higher than you think. Davis is a freak of an athlete running a low 4.4 at 6-foot-4 and 224 pounds, and that athleticism is evident in his film. He is a heat-seeking missile in run pursuit and is outstanding in coverage, having shown an ability to cover the likes of Kyle Pitts man to man. His upside as a three-down linebacker in today’s NFL is easier to project than both Owusu-Koramoah and Collins, and that’s why the Football Team can’t pass him up.

The Draft Network(Fowler)

Washington added Chase Young into an already menacing front four in ‘20. Unless they trade up for a quarterback, I don’t see head coach Ron Rivera failing to add into the second level of his defense. Davis provides the speed Washington lost in Kevin Pierre-Louis, and the coverage ability Jon Bostic simply does not have. A do-it-all ‘backer with a military background, this is Rivera’s shiny new chess piece.

Underdog Fantasy(Winks)

Washington trading for Ereck Flowers makes an OT or OG less of a priority and pushes up positions like linebacker to the top. Ben Standig not only covers Washington for The Athletic, but he’s also been an elite mock drafter for years. When he makes a prediction about the Football Team, I’m tailing. Davis has the size, speed, and college production of a first-round linebacker. He’s just less hyped because he’s a one-year wonder. As a side note, I liked o4.5 LBs if you can catch that at plus odds. It’s a “safe” position with four off-ball linebackers and Azeez Ojulari headlining this year’s class.

The Draft Network(Crabbs)

The Draft Network(Marino)

The Draft Network(Solak)

Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

The Draft Network(Harris)

Collins is an instant starter who adds talent to one of the best front sevens in the NFL.

Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

NFL.com(Brooks)

Ron Rivera and the WFT could take the Alabama passer to be their franchise quarterback of the future. Jones is a distributor with the intelligence and managerial skills needed to win games from the pocket.

Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

CBS Sports(Wilson)

*TRADE - Washington trades up to #14(Vikings)

Washington has Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke but neither is considered the long-term answer at QB. Lance, who could be off the board by No. 3, will garner plenty of interest should he slip outside the top 10.

Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Pro Football Focus(Collinsworth)

Toney is the flashiest player in this draft. He will be a favorite of the post-game highlight shows. Despite weighing only 177 pounds, he shows power when running over potential tacklers. His routes and moves are what really set him apart, though. I found myself laughing while watching people trying to tackle or cover him. He will drop his head into contact and then back off a step before pulling free from tacklers. He is nearly impossible to cover inside on option routes.

It was a challenge to play Cover 0 versus Florida because you couldn’t leave Toney one on one with anybody. The Gators even played him at running back against LSU to try to isolate him, and the Tigers still doubled him. He would provide instant offense for Ryan Fitzpatrick in Washington. Toney’s weakness comes in traditional route running. I think he has plenty of time and the physical skills to improve there, though. Enjoy watching a lot of his highlights this year.

NFL.com(Reuter)

Ron Rivera brought a familiar face over from the Panthers in Curtis Samuel, and now adds another explosive, versatile weapon in Toney. Toney’s ability to work from the slot or outside will allow him and Samuel to confuse defenses, making Terry McLaurin even more effective. New quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick certainly approves.

Round 2: Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

Round 3: Davis Mills, QB, Stanford

Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami

Round 4: Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech

Sporting News(Iyer)

Washington will have its eyes on Virginia Teach’s Christian Darrisaw, too, for left tackle, but won’t be too upset by falling back on Toney to work as a big field-stretcher from the slot, as he would be a big-play supplement to speedsters Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.

Round 2: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

Round 3: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina

Richie Grant, S, UCF

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Pro Football Focus(Palazzolo)

Wide receiver is less of a need in Washington after adding Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries to the mix this offseason, but Bateman is still an excellent fit within that receiving corps. Terry McLaurin can do it all as a big-play threat, and Bateman complements him nicely as a strong route-runner with catch-point skills and some of the slickest releases in the draft class.

Bateman has done it all, winning from all alignments, playing big at the catch point and forcing 36 missed tackles on 147 career receptions.

Pro Football Talk(King)

Admirable story. As the 171st-rated offensive tackle coming out of high school, Darrisaw got one major-school offer (Virginia Tech) and took it . . . and started 35 of 36 games in his three-year career with the Hokies, all at left tackle. At 6-5 and 322, Darrisaw is a feisty and battle-tested player who could play in year one on a line that got overrun for 50 sacks in 2020. The left-tackle position allowed 38 sacks/pressures for WFT last year, and with a stationary quarterback for at least one more year in Washington in Ryan Fitzpatrick, the immediate need is there to do better than, say, Cornelius Lucas at left tackle.

Sportsnaut(Johnson)

Washington could move up or down the board depending on its strategy for taking a quarterback. The idea is for general manager Martin Mayhew to target area of specific need. With all the top QB prospects off the board, the Football Team makes a move for a potential future top-end pass-catcher in Bateman to team up with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. We’re talking about a receiver who already runs pro-ready routes and can make the contested catch with the best of them. It’s an ideal fit for both Bateman and Washington. — Vincent Frank

Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

The Athletic

The debate here typically centers on Washington adding a left tackle, a linebacker like Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah or USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. Not sure Washington passes on Tucker even if he kicks inside, but Darrisaw is a true tackle. Despite some physique and snap-to-whistle questions, he arguably offers the most upside among linemen besides Sewell. Darrisaw gives Washington a chance to upgrade over the capable Cornelius Lucas and fill the hole created by the Trent Williams fiasco. — Ben Standig

Round 2: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

Maybe the linebacker with a body seemingly made from granite wasn’t my top option at pick 19, but Davis’s name was in the mix. Landing him here feels like a gift considering his three-down capabilities and coverage skills plus Washington’s need for more at the position. — Ben Standig

MMQB(Breer)

Washington’s another team that I believe has been intrigued with Davis—and I think whether Davis is still available here, the debate between filling the linebacker need and taking Darrisaw would be an interesting one. The semi-local prospect (Darrisaw’s from the Richmond area) could fill a crying need for a true left tackle in Washington.

NFL.com(Schrager)

If one of the QBs falls out of the top 10, both Washington and Chicago could be movers and shakers in the teens. Here, Washington takes Darrisaw — a player who went from being lightly recruited out of a Military Academy to becoming a top-20 prospect at Virginia Tech.

CBS Sports(Trapasso)

Home-run pick for The Football Team, an organization that’s done a fine job rounding out its roster this offseason.

Round 2: Walker Little, OT, Stanford

NFL.com(Davis)

Pick, plug and play. Darrisaw becomes the immediate starter at LT.

Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Sports Illustrated(Orr)

Was Washington’s first visit to Trey Lance’s pro day indicative of a desire to somehow grab a quarterback? We’ll find out. But here, the team can lay the groundwork for whomever that will be. Jenkins is a physical player who can secure Washington’s near future as a team with dominant lines on both sides of the ball. Controlling the trenches means more to Rivera than reaching on a QB.

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC

Yahoo Sports(Edholm)

Over Darrisaw? Maybe. Vera-Tucker could at least be tried at left tackle and has more snarl in his game than his OL counterpart.

CBS Sports(Prisco)

They need an upgrade at left tackle and Vera-Tucker did a nice job there last season for the Trojans. He can also play guard, which gives Washington some versatility.

Poll

Who will Washington pick in the 1st round this year?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
    (38 votes)
  • 16%
    Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
    (116 votes)
  • 32%
    Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
    (229 votes)
  • 20%
    Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
    (147 votes)
  • 4%
    Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
    (30 votes)
  • 0%
    Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
    (2 votes)
  • 12%
    Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
    (92 votes)
  • 2%
    Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
    (0 votes)
709 votes total Vote Now