There is a long tradition of people giving draft picks a grade less than 24 hours after they’ve been made. Some of them are spot on after the players have shown who they are after a few years in the league, and some of them look pretty bad. A lot of graders get stuck on their personal rankings, and will tank a player’s selection because of that. How a player fits with a team, and their needs plays a big part here as well.
Jamin Davis got mixed reviews as Washington’s 1st round pick(19th overall). Washington opened day 2 by picking up the most athletic offensive tackle in the draft(Sam Cosmi, Texas). In the 3rd round they picked up a tall cornerback(Benjamin St-Juste, Minnesota) and another speedy wide receiver(Dyami Brown, North Carolina). Graders were general positive on Washington for their Day 2 selections, but there were some lower grades for St-Juste.
Washington addressed a lot of needs on Day 3 and traded a future 5th to the Eagles to pick up an extra 6th and 7th. Tight end, safety, long snapper, defensive end(2X), and wide receiver were all added on Day 3.
The lowest grade Washington received was a B- and they got one A+ for their 2021 draft class.
What grade does Washington’s 2021 draft get?
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Draft Wire (A+)
Living in the Washington D.C. area, this draft makes me want to buy a jersey and secure season tickets.
In the first round the Football Team added linebacker Jamin Davis. The organization had a need at the position and I might have preferred Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but Davis put together an impressive pre-draft program that saw him rocket up boards. His athleticism should be ideal for the modern game.
Then Washington added some impressive pieces during the next few rounds. Samuel Cosmi is one of the most athletic tackles to ever play the position, at least in terms of Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Scoring system. By that metric Cosmi was the second-overall tackle dating back to the 1987 draft class:
Of course the first-overall prospect was Tony Mandarich, known as perhaps the biggest draft bust of all time. Still, Washington added Cosmi in the second round, which is a great addition.
Beyond that they added two intriguing talents in the third round. First is cornerback Benjamin St.-Juste from Minnesota, who has a great blend of size, frame and change-of-direction skills. His movement skills might make the ideal matchup piece at corner for the modern defense. Then they added wide receiver Dyami Brown, one of my favorite receivers in the entire draft class. Getting him in the third round is a steal on paper.
Still, Washington was not done. They added Shaka Toney in the seventh round, and while Toney might have cratered in terms of draft value from how he was viewed at the start of the season, he could carve out a rotational role for the Football Team on passing downs. Then there is wide receiver Dax Milne, and honestly, Zach Wilsom might own him at least a portion of his signing bonus. Some of those splash throws that were displayed during the highlight package shown when Wilson was drafted? It was Milne laying out to make those catches. He might stick on this roster, and as a player drafted 258th overall that is tremendous value.
Davis is my early pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year—he’s that good and a perfect fit for the WFT’s defense. They needed a finishing piece on the second-level of the unit and his sideline-to-sideline ability is perfect. He was the start of an elite class.
Cosmi had first-round buzz thanks to a killer final season at Texas and amazing pro day, and can start right away. Brown was a needed addition too, completing an overhaul at the receiver spot. New QB Ryan Fitzpatrick might throw for 5,000 yards in 2021.
Pro Football Focus (A-)
Day 1: Washington definitely had a need at linebacker, but Jamin Davis comes with significant projection. He ranks No. 41 on PFF’s final Big Board but was impressive in his first season as a starter. On top of that, his workout numbers were phenomenal, and he flashed real talent in coverage, which has become the single most important trait in today’s NFL. Linebacker is a tough position to play at the next level, and Davis has the tools to get it done.
Day 2: Cosmi is easily one of the most athletic offensive tackles in this class. That athleticism, along with his size, is always going to interest teams. Cosmi also earned pass-blocking grades of at least 82.0 in three consecutive seasons as a starter at Texas. There are some things he’ll have to clean up with his technique in the NFL, but there is a lot to like with his profile coming out of college. He should compete with several in-house options for the starting left tackle job in Washington.
St-Juste brings a rare combination of length and change-of-direction ability at cornerback. The Minnesota cornerback is listed at 6-foot-3 with over an 80-inch wingspan, and his three-cone and short shuttle times both ranked in the 90th percentile or better at the position. You won’t find many big cornerbacks who can move like that. St-Juste just isn’t all that experienced (420 career coverage snaps) despite turning 24 years old in September.
Ranked 45th on the PFF Big Board, Brown falls to 82 overall. Brown wasn’t asked to fill a lot of roles at North Carolina, as he played left wide receiver almost every snap, but he’s a great route runner and you can project that onto the more advanced route tree he will have to run at the next level. He fills out the Washington receiving corps nicely.
Day 3: Darrick Forrest’s athletic profile is certainly alluring — he’s fast and explosive, as his 39-inch vertical and 132-inch broad jump can attest. He was a consistent performer in his time at UC with PFF grades of 73.3, 73.4 and 76.1 in his three years playing in a major role.
NBC Sports (A-)
Washington already had one of the best defenses in the league, and it upgraded the group even further with the first-round selection of Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis and the third-round selection of Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste. If veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can give Washington competent play at the most important position, this team will be right back in the mix for the NFC East title.
Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: B+
Analysis: Davis is a fantastic athlete who won over teams with his pro-day workout after playing well as a first-year starter in 2020. Washington could have selected an offensive tackle at 19, but still found a strong starter candidate in Cosmi in the middle of the second round. St-Juste has potential as an outside corner, and if Brown was picked at No. 51 instead of No. 82, no one would have complained. The Football Team certainly needed more playmakers at receiver.
They also needed another tight end, and Bates was the appropriate pick in the fourth round. Forrest’s pro-day workout and solid film made him a good value in the fifth. Washington decided making two picks late in this draft was better than selecting one in the fifth round next year, cutting a deal with the Eagles for Nos. 225 (Cheeseman) and 240 (Bradley-King). Cheeseman was only the second long snapper picked in the draft, a fact Washington fans might not enjoy. Either Bradley-King or Toney will stick as a pass-rush specialist behind Chase Young and Montez Sweat.
Sports Illustrated (B+)
This was a fun draft in Washington that ran the gamut. In a lot of ways, you have to respect their decision to take a playoff team from last year, double down on what they do well and let the quarterback situation take care of itself when the time is right.
Samuel Cosmi might have been their best pick, and while he’ll have some pressure with the left tackle vacancy hanging over his head, he’s athletic enough to make up for the inevitable rookie jitters.
Washington also ended up with Benjamin St-Juste, who was a favorite of many during the draft thanks to his backstory and origins in Canada. While players of that size can sometimes find themselves without a position, St-Juste looked more than adequate at cornerback and could be an ideal matchup piece in a division with playmakers of all shapes and sizes (but most notably, solid tight end play that could warrant a player like him stepping up).
The Ringer (B+)
It’s tough to poke holes in Washington’s draft. Davis is a long and rangy playmaker who will make an already good defense that much better in 2021. Cosmi offers starting potential at left tackle. St-Juste has intriguing length at corner. And Brown is a tough-to-defend deep threat who should pair nicely with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s YOLO style. There’s no wow pick among this bunch, but Washington’s class looks solid across the board.
Mel Kiper Jr. (B)
Top needs: QB, OT, WR
Washington won the NFC East last season — at 7-9 — but it was because of a great defense (and poor division). It got poor quarterback play from a combination of Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins Jr., Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen. And the quarterback issue has loomed over its offseason. The team signed veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who can be fine in 2021, but would Washington try to trade up for one of the top five prospects in this class?
No, as it turns out, as the Bears, who were a pick behind Washington, were the team to trade up. Washington instead went defense again in Round 1, taking linebacker Jamin Davis (19), a tackling machine with range in coverage. He’s a great player, but I didn’t see linebacker as an immediate need. Did the organization try to move up for Justin Fields or Mac Jones? We could remember this pick as the one that got away.
Second-round pick Samuel Cosmi (51) could play tackle or guard, and Washington got good value there. Benjamin St-Juste is a long, 6-foot-3 press corner who gets a little handsy at times, but he could play a role as a rookie. I’m a big fan of Dyami Brown (82), who I thought might sneak into the top 40 picks. He can get down the field in a hurry on vertical routes and will make contested catches in traffic. Fitzpatrick will love him. Washington probably took tight end John Bates (124) a round too early, but he could find a role. I was surprised edge rusher Shaka Toney (246) lasted deep into Round 7. He’s worth the flier there.
This is one of the few teams in the league that has no idea who its long-term quarterback is, and that is something that lingers in the back of my mind as I grade this class. But I do like the players Washington chose the first two days.
Coach Ron Rivera and his handpicked front office addressed big needs at LB and along the offensive line. First-round LB Jamin Davis could thrive while playing behind Washington’s talented defensive line. Second-round T Samuel Cosmi came off the board a bit earlier than some draft analysts had projected but is a potential starter. Will Rivera regret not making a move for a QB on one of the draft’s first two days? Signing Ryan Fitzpatrick was a stopgap measure, and there’s no prospective long-term solution on the roster.
Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew did a solid job to match Philadelphia’s overall body of work. Davis will make a ton of plays for their defense and Cosmi will hold down left tackle well. They found more valuable depth and big-play potential across the board with the rest of their picks. The notable grade drop is being left out of the quarterback fun.
Pro Football Network (B)
This was a really mixed bag from the Washington Football Team. Selections such as Jamin Davis and Samuel Cosmi were ideal. However, those were then countered by reaches for Benjamin St-Juste and John Bates. Spending a sixth-rounder on a long snapper was a strange moment. Overall, this draft was good but not great.
The Score (B)
Washington did well to address its top needs. Davis was likely a reach at No. 19, and his pick ultimately played a role in the club falling short of an A-range grade, but Ron Rivera’s squad was in dire need of an every-down linebacker and Davis does have high upside. While Cosmi wasn’t our favorite offensive line prospect, he represents great value in the middle of Round 2 and will likely start at left tackle as a rookie. Both St-Juste and Brown could have been selected earlier, and they’ll influence two key phases of the game. Bates and Forrest round out a solid third day, though it could be argued there were better players on the board. Washington is clearly banking on potential with its class this year, and it’ll be interesting to look back in a few years and see how some of these players developed.
Draft Kings Nation (B)
It doesn’t seem like Washington got any players who are future stars but made solid picks early on in the draft. The Football Team addressed its rapidly blossoming defense first by adding ESPN’s No. 3 linebacker prospect in Kentucky’s Jamin Davis. It then replaced Trent Williams with Texas OT Sam Cosmi before adding Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste in the third round.
Washington bolstered its receiving corps by adding pairing Curtis Samuel with Terry McLaurin and also got one of the draft’s premier deep threats in North Carolina’s Dyami Brown. Few wideouts stretched the field like Brown in college. Ryan Fitzpatrick loves to take shots deep, and having a large target who can spread the secondary thin will help the veteran quarterback make some big plays.
New York Post (B-)
Analysis: Opted against trading up for a QB of the future, making this a win-now team. Davis was one of the fastest risers in the last month. Brown in the late third round is great value. Cosmi in the second isn’t.