Washington approached the 2020 NFL Draft with multiple needs on the offensive side of the ball with LT being a top need. Head Coach Ron Rivera selected Texas OT Samuel Cosmi with pick #51 in the 2nd round, addressing arguably the top position of need. Immediate expectations for Cosmi starting at LT should be tempered though, with a big transition ahead.
The depth along the o-line is a concern with Morgan Moses being the only veteran entrenched at a starting tackle position. The recent trade for Eric Flowers is a move to sure up the interior o-line, after his switch from tackle to guard. Flowers played some of his best ball in 2019 for Washington and a switch back tackle seems unlikely. The remaining depth consists of Geron Christian, David Sharp, Saahdiq Charles (moved to LG) and Cornelius Lucas. Although Lucas showed flashes in 2020 as a competent blind side protector, better production is needed from the position with new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looking to air it out.
It came as no surprise when Chicago released LT Charles Leno Jr after drafting two tackles in the draft. The LT will pay a visit to Ashburn on today and a signing seems imminent. Per Pro Football Focus, Leno played a total of 1,066 snaps in 2020, allowing 5 sacks (T-12th) and 6 penalties (T-12th). The 30 year old tackle has a lot of upside as a 2014 7th round selection from Boise State, with 94 starts in 102 career games (hasn't missed a start in 5 years). Leno was also named to the 2018 Pro Bowl as an alternate.
Charles Leno Jr has displayed the ability to be an effective blind-side protector, but also extremely durable, which has been an issue for Washington. If signed, the former Chicago Left Tackle would instantly become the most experienced tackle on the roster next to Morgan Moses. At age 30, Leno still has plenty left in the tank, but Washington only needs short term help after selecting Cosmi 51st overall. Veteran tackle Cornelius Lucas will also be counted on as a backup tackle, but likely gets a shot at the starting LT job, after showing he was more than serviceable in 2020.
Signing Charles Leno Jr to a 2-year deal with front loaded incentives/guarantees would be a wise play for Washington, who spent the offseason building up the skill positions on offense. Leno could solidify the left side for the short term, allowing Fitzpatrick to extend plays and tap into his alter "Fitz Magic" ego, which over the years has been must see tv. Washington has put together an offensive, that should rank as a middle of the pack unit at worst and the signings they've made will continue to breed more competition. Until Washington finds their signal caller of the future, they need to protect the ones they have in the present. Here's to Leno not being permitted to leave Ashburn without a deal.
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