After last season’s virtual draft, Cleveland is playing host to festivities this year with a handful of potential draft picks present and socially distanced because of COVID-19.
Here’s a pick-by-pick look at how each player Washington has selected will fit.
Round 1, No. 19 overall: Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky
My take: Davis only started one season, but made quite an impact at Kentucky and showed a lot of athleticism and playmaking ability. Washington has a chance to build a special defense — when the Carolina Panthers had their best seasons under coach Ron Rivera, they did so with a top defense. Davis provides Washington with a lot of athleticism and speed, attributes needed at the position. He can play inside and he can cover. What Washington wanted most at linebacker: athleticism and versatility. Davis has both. There’s a risk because of his inexperience, but if he hits then Washington could have much more than just a good front four.
Patient approach: Washington liked quarterback Justin Fields, and definitely knows it needs a young quarterback to build around, but it wasn’t so enthralled that it wanted to move up in the first round. The team was content to see if he fell to No. 19. But the team has made it clear that it wants to build its roster first before being aggressive for a quarterback. Washington saw how the Kansas City Chiefs built their team; coach Andy Reid was there five years and built a consistent winner before it traded up for Patrick Mahomes. And San Francisco was aggressive this season, but has a roster that was good enough to reach the Super Bowl two years ago.
No O? Washington still needs more to help improve an offense that ranked in the bottom seven in both points and yards in 2020, but when you look at its schedule this season, and the trend in the NFC East, it’s understandable that it went defense first. Here are the quarterbacks the team will face this season: Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott (twice), Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers (maybe). And in the division, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted receiver DeVonta Smith while the Dallas Cowboys‘ Prescott is healthy and has a slew of weapons and the New York Giants added receiver Kenny Golladay in free agency and receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round on Thursday. Rivera knows a special defense will help any future young passer.
What’s next: Washington has three picks on Day 2 — the 51st, 74th and 82nd. They have not had a lot of luck with second-round picks lately; of their past five second-round choices none are with the team. But this is a different regime. Washington will look at quarterbacks — it likes Davis Mills and Kyle Trask. But it also wants to find a left tackle and there are safeties the team likes here as well — possibly Andre Cisco.