Updated: Feb 21, 2021
Now that Washington's 2020 wild ride has come to an end, the focus shifts to the NFL Draft. The performance of 4th string quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, was a big step in the right direction for Washington who has lacked sustainable success at the position. Although inspiring, Heinicke's performance likely doesn't preclude Ron Rivera from drafting and/or signing a quarterback. At pick #19, finding a quarterback who fits OC Scott Turner's passing scheme could be tough. Fans will see the noticeable snub of OSU QB Justin Fields, but that will be explained later.
Washington's most glaring needs are at QB, WR, MLB, LT and CB. The order of those needs will certainly be up for debate; luckily for the Burgundy & Gold those positions will have decent depth in the early rounds of this year's draft.
There's a reason this is the Way Too Early Big Board, considering more underclassman will declare and free agency takes place prior to the draft.
The Burgundy and Gold Report big board is customized for the WFT and will feature the top 25 prospects we put together, with prospects draft grades varying from #1 overall- 2nd round
Up first are the receivers, which many believe is the top need for Washington. Second year receiver Terry McLaurin has been spectacular since arriving in Washington and eclipsed the 1k receiving mark in 2020 (1,118 yards rec). Unfortunately, the other receivers have come up short with Cam Sims being the closest to McLaurin with only 477 yards receiving. After Washington failed to sign Dallas receiver Amari Cooper last offseason, odds are Ron Rivera will make another run this offseason. However, the draft is where they'll likely find their compliment to McLaurin. At first glance, the number of receivers on the big board jump out with 7, but this is a deep draft at the position with many more just missing the top 25 cut.
It's a sure bet that Heisman trophy winner Devante Smith and LSU's Ja'Marr Chase will be off the board when Washington's pick in the first comes around, but crazier things have happened. The more likely receivers to drop, could fill an immediate need at the slot for Washington. There will be plenty of time this offseason to put each of these receivers under the microscope, but with pro-days and the combine on the horizon, we'll see plenty of WR prospects drop based on medical red flags.
Washington's need for a franchise signal caller has been a storyline for this franchise for decades. Although restricted free agent quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, played brilliantly nearly upsetting Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, he was the 4th quarterback to take the field for Washington in 2020.
Unfortunately, the 2020 Draft top prospect, Trevor Lawrence, will be long gone by Washington's pick, with Wilson and Lance likely to follow within the top 15 selections. The noticeable snub of OSU's Justin Fields can't be ignored. The team that selects him will have to tailor a system, considering the limited read system run at OSU. This isn't a knock on his talent level, but a 1-2 year developmental project isn't something Rivera will have the luxury of doing with a team that now has heightened expectations after winning the NFC East. There's no doubt Rivera will select a quarterback, at some point, in this years draft, but there'll be plenty of time to go through those prospects prior to April.
Left tackle has been an issue since the Trent Williams debacle. Although this year's draft boasts blue chip Oregon LT Penei Sewell, after that, the drop in talent is significant. VA Tech's Christian Darrisaw and Clemson's Jackson Carman are two lineman that will be surely be on Washington's radar, but might need time before they're ready to take over as an NFL blindside protector.
The Tight Ends
Tight End Logan Thomas surpassed expectations. Adding another field stretching tight end could help the run game, in addition to adding a dimension that Washington has never had in their passing game. Florida's blue chip, tight end Kyle Pitts leads the class at his position and is a prospect The Burgundy and Gold Report have as one of the draft's premier offensive weapons. There'll be plenty of time to put the Gator tight end under a microscope. After Pitts, Miami's Bevin Jordan and PSU's Pat Freiermuth should also be in play in the 2nd round and could be valuable additions to Rivera's offense.
Many believe Washington's early round focus should be on the offensive side of the ball, after investing 1st round picks in four straight drafts. A glaring need is at the MIKE Linebacker with the position being a revolving door since the retirement of London Fletcher. Penn State's Micah Parson is the premier linebacker of the class and is likely off the board within the top 10. Two names that have picked up steam are MIZZ linebacker Nick Bolton and Tulsa's Zaven Collins. Both linebackers fill a big need for the WFT and could be in play at #19.
We know that the playoffs are in full swing and not everyone is ready for draft coverage,
but for those who are. . .
Don't be left behind and stick with The Burgundy and Gold Report as we continue to go through early round prospects come February.