Perfect Picks: Washington Football Team
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
After a tumultuous off-season in which they parted with their nickname and were rocked by off-field scandal, the Washington Football Team, under new head coach Ron Rivera, won a dismal NFC East with a 7-9 record and in the process gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Bucs a fright on Wildcard Weekend.
The defense took great strides under Jack Del Rio, no doubt buoyed by the inclusion of 2nd overall pick and DROY Chase Young. However, with question marks in several key offensive spots, including QB, it’s an important draft for new GM Martin Mayhew.
Round 1 - Pick 19 - Christian Darrisaw, T, Virginia Tech
At 19 Washington is in a difficult spot if they are looking to address signal caller. Personally, I envisage a veteran free agent and though I am not ruling out a trade up or down from this spot, in the event that they stick rather than twist, I love Christian Darrisaw here.
Darrisaw has the prototypical left tackle build at 6’5”, 314lbs with great length. He improved year on year for VT and was a dominant blocker this season. He was also utilised predominantly in a zone run scheme for the Hokies and proved adept at pulling and mauling down defenders in space, something Washington has greatly missed since the departure of All-Pro Trent Williams.
Rivera has already proven how keen he is to protect the QB by franchise tagging guard Brandon Scherff, and though Cornelius Lucas performed admirably last season, Darrisaw would be a solid pick whose ceiling is an eventual franchise left tackle.
Round 2 - Pick 51 - Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
Outside of Cole Holcomb and perhaps Kevin Pierre-Louis there is little confidence in Washington’s linebacking corps among the coaching staff (Rivera was openly critical of gap control at times last year).
Jabril Cox would be a plug and play starter for Washington if they can get him here. He was excellent at North Dakota State before transferring to the Tigers for his senior year. WFT fans have long lamented their linebackers lack of ability to cover tight ends, and Cox is excellent at both man and zone coverage. He’s raw, but he’s extremely athletic, highlighted by his High School career as a 4 year starter in basketball as well as football.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 124 - Daelin Hayes, Edge, Notre Dame
With Washington’s all-time sack leader Ryan Kerrigan likely moving on to play a rotational role for a contender, the team is in need of a developmental pass rusher to play behind its exceptional DE tandem of Chase Young and Montez Sweat.
Daelin Hayes could be a guy with tremendous upside for this role. He’s big enough and versatile enough to line up anywhere across the defensive front. He has proven to be very quick off the ball and has good agility, but isn’t the quickest nor the biggest, hence his projection. He was a team captain in 2020 too, and it’s clear that Rivera covets high character as much as he does a prospect’s college stats sheet. At the very least the Notre Dame product would be an immediate special teams contributor.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 243 - Trevon Grimes, WR, Florida
Wide receiver is absolutely an immediate position of need for the WFT. Cam Sims is being tendered but has only ever proven to be a WR3 at best. The lack of talent outside of stud Terry McLaurin is concerning for Scott Turner’s offense and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team use an earlier pick on a wideout. However, even if they address the position through free agency with the likes of Curtis Samuel or even Kenny Golladay, it’s still likely that they take a young guy in the latter half of the draft.
So I am taking a punt on Trevon Grimes from Florida here on the basis that, a) he was a forgotten man in one of the more explosive offenses in college football and could have been more utilised if it wasn’t for the talent ahead of him, and b) he is a good run blocker and red-zone target, two things Rivera will crave.
Draft In Full:
19. Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (OT)
51. Jabril Cox, LSU (LB)
74. Jevon Holland, Oregon (S)
82. Amari Rodgers, Clemson (WR)
124. Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame (Edge)
163. Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma (RB)
243. Trevon Grimes, Florida (WR)
245. Feleipe Franks, Arkansas (QB)