The Washington Football Team was one of the best stories in 2020. Universally picked to finish last in the division, Ron Rivera’s scrappy underdogs clawed their way to the top led by a stellar defense. It was a great story, but stories change. Can Washington step into the next chapter with the right foot? Here is Washington’s draft picks grades for the 2021 NFL Draft.
- 19th Overall Selection (R1-P19): Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
- 51st Overall Selection (R2-P51): Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
- 74th Overall Selection (R3-P10, from San Francisco): Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota
- 82nd Overall Selection (R3-P18): Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
- 124th Overall Selection (R4-P19): John Bates, TE, Boise State
- 163rd Overall Selection (R5-R19): Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati
- 225th Overall Selection (R6-P41): Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan
- 240th Overall Selection (R7-P12, from Philadelphia): William Bradley-King, EDGE, Baylor
- 246th Overall Selection (R7-P19): Shaka Toney, LB, Penn State
- 258th Overall Selection (R7-P30, from Kansas City): Dax Milne, WR, Brigham Young
Who did Washington draft on Day 1?
With the 19th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Washington Football Team selected Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis.
The Washington Football Team entered the night as a potential sleeper team to trade up for a quarterback.
Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
However, the board didn’t quite fall their way, so they instead stayed put at No. 19. There, they were able to have a solid group of players available. They had a choice between Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Christian Darrisaw, Caleb Farley, and Davis.
Of the available players, Davis might be the most uncertain. Nevertheless, he has some of the highest upside in the entire class. He’s a 6-foot-4, 234-pound linebacker with elite athleticism, length, and play speed. At his Pro Day, Davis logged a 4.48 40-yard dash and a 42-inch vertical. He’s entering an excellent situation in Washington, where he’ll be able to play behind a top-tier defensive line and learn from a former linebacker in Ron Rivera.
All told, Davis has the top-end physical traits and the high character worth taking here. Owusu-Koramoah has a higher floor, but Davis might have a higher upside with his elite combination of traits. Time will tell if the WFT can get the most out of him, but the potential is tantalizing.
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
This is a home run, plain and simple. Offensive tackle might not be the biggest immediate need for Washington, but with Cornelius Lucas’ future unclear after 2021, it makes sense to add a high-upside tackle. That’s exactly what Samuel Cosmi is. The former Longhorn was worth taking late in the first round from a talent perspective. With elite athleticism and overwhelming power, he has the natural physical traits to be a high-level starter.
Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota
With all the Day 2 quarterbacks taken, the Washington Football Team had some flexibility to improve other areas of their roster. Rather than address wide receiver or safety, however, they instead decided to pick Minnesota’s Benjamin St-Juste.
St-Juste had a good Senior Bowl showing, and he has some intriguing change-of-direction skills for his size. But he’s a big reach here, and as of now, there isn’t much room for him in the lineup. They could have used this pick more effectively.
Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
The NFL is a glorified arms race, and the Washington Football Team just added one of the most explosive weapons in the draft to their arsenal. Dyami Brown is a pure boundary threat, with the burst, top-end speed, and elaborate release pattern to get open downfield. He’s also dangerous on slants, and he complements the team’s current weapons well. Washington made up for their previous reach here. All of a sudden, their receiving corps is a strength.
John Bates, TE, Boise State
We knew the Washington Football Team wanted to add a No. 2 tight end next to Logan Thomas, and they did that with this pick. Having said that, John Bates isn’t spectacular in any one area. He’s a good-not-great athlete, and he never broke out as a receiving threat in college. There’s some upside here, but considering the other prospects on the board — Brevin Jordan and Kenny Yeboah among them — it’s a big reach.
Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati
This is a nice pick for the Washington Football Team. There were more natural free safeties on the board, but Darrick Forrest is an elite athlete with some flashes of instinct in his game. He’s a versatile defensive back who can play both in the deep third and in the box, and that will be especially valuable for Washington. On top of that, he should have immediate special teams utility.
Camaron Cheesman, LS, Michigan
I personally don’t think there is a lot of value in spending draft capital on special teams players that don’t see the field as often. Washington fills a need here, but they could have acquired much greater value by selecting Trey Smith, Trill Williams, or another available skill position player. It’s not entirely cost-effective to use picks on lower impact players, even if the risk is lower at this point. I’m allergic to dairy, I’m sorry.
William Bradley-King, EDGE, Baylor
In a vacuum, William Bradley-King is a great pick for Washington. He’s a high upside edge rusher with the athleticism and length to develop, and he projects well as depth behind Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Nevertheless, with Dylan Moses still on the board, it seems like Washington could have potentially engineered far more value out of this pick. They played it safe instead. Time will tell if they missed out.
Shaka Toney, LB, Penn State
I’m a big fan of the player, Shaka Toney. He’s undersized as a pass rusher but has some of the best explosiveness and bend in the 2021 class. The questions surround his fit with the Washington Football Team. He’s more of a 3-4 outside linebacker. As a pass rusher, he doesn’t fit as a 4-3 defensive end. They could potentially try and mold him as a versatile JACK linebacker, but the fit dilutes the upside here.
Dax Milne, WR, Brigham Young
The Washington Football Team ends their draft with an underrated wide receiver in Dax Milne. Milne broke out in 2020 on the receiving end of Zach Wilson’s passes. He’s a tough wideout with some nice body control. He’s not a huge target or a great athlete, but his grit in contested situations gives him some utility.
Washington Football Team Overall Grade: B
At its best, the Washington Football Team’s draft class was exceptional. Washington got a top-end talent in Davis with their first-round pick, and they allowed value deals like Cosmi and Brown to fall to them at various points. However, reaches like St-Juste and Bates drove their stock down. They also spent a sixth-rounder on a long snapper with exciting talent still on the board and drafted Toney, who isn’t a great scheme fit. Washington’s draft was good, but a few factors kept it from being great.
Team needs for Washington coming into the NFL Draft
After signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington is clearly aiming to compete next season.
The Washington Football Team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency. He at least gives them a serviceable veteran. However, Washington’s roster is ready to compete now, and they should waste as little time as possible with a bridge quarterback. They need a potential heir to groom, at the very least.
After losing Kevin Pierre-Louis to the Texans in free agency, Rivera doesn’t have much depth at linebacker. Washington would be well served to use one or two of their draft picks in the 2021 NFL Draft on this position. They have the defensive front to make this job easier.
Washington might see Jeremy Reaves as a potential option to start alongside Kamren Curl. Still, free safety was a noticeable hole on defense in 2020. It’s fun to think about how good this defense could be if Ron Rivera had a respectable threat on the back end alongside Curl.
There’s some flexibility at tackle on Washington’s roster. Cornelius Lucas played well in 2020, as did Morgan Moses. They also have Saahdiq Charles in the wings. Yet, the offensive line should never be neglected, and Washington would be wise to invest in the future at some point.
The Washington Football Team is certainly looking a lot better at receiver after free agency. They re-signed rotational threat Cam Sims, and they also added Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries. Regardless, Washington lacks a true boundary threat opposite Terry McLaurin. In this deep class, they’ll have plenty of chances to fix that.
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