Washington Football Team: What’s the move in the first-round of the draft?

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 29: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces Jamin Davis as the 19th selection by the Washington Football Team during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 29: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces Jamin Davis as the 19th selection by the Washington Football Team during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Where should the Washington Football Team’s focus be in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft?

The Washington Football Team is holding on to a 6-7 record at the moment. That puts them firmly in the wildcard race. In fact, they are currently just one game behind the San Francisco 49ers for that final spot. So why are we talking about the 2022 NFL Draft right now?

Well for a few reasons. First of all, that game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14 showed us some glaring weaknesses that Washington needs to fix. But also because if we’re being honest, the situation doesn’t feel great right now – and that’s coming from someone who tends to be extremely positive.

Washington has four games left on their schedule. It’s safe to say they are all “winnable” games. Two are against the Philadelphia Eagles, who hold the same record as them. They have another game against the 4-9 New York Giants, who they already beat one. Finally, they have one more game against the Cowboys (who they almost managed to beat).

The reason for the negativity right now is simple though, did you see that current COVID-19 list?

The Washington Football Team is already without some big names, such as Chase Young and Sam Cosmi. J.D. McKissic and Terry McLaurin are dealing with concussions, and Taylor Heinicke and Curtis Samuel might be hurt. Now there are 18 names on the COVID-19 list. Those names include most of the defensive line with Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Matthew Ioannidis, and Tim Settle all out (as well as some other depth players. Cornerback Kendall Fuller is on the list, so is wide receiver Cam Sims. Backup QB Kyle Allen is down as well, and if Heinicke can’t go that causes serious problems.

Do you see the very glaring problem? Never count any team out. We’ve learned that plenty of times over the years. But it looks like Washington might be coming into their most important stretch of the season with a bunch of must-win games, down most of their best players.

It sort of gives you that sinking feeling doesn’t it?

Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington found a way to win and sneak into the playoffs. This team has shown in the past that they play their best football when things are looking bleak and people start to lose faith.

That being said, that Cowboys game sticks with you. And it really highlighted the struggles of the offense. With that in mind, the question of the 2022 NFL Draft comes into play. Washington could have a late-first-round pick or if things go south, an early-to-middle-first-round pick. Either way, it’s time for them to really start focusing on the offense.

The offensive line has some holes. But this will depend on a few things. Do they bring back Brandon Scherff being the biggest one? If he is there, that’s a superstar on the line. Sam Cosmi looks to have superstar potential as well. Ereck Flowers is very solid and so is Chase Roullier.

Charles Leno and Cornelius Lucas are decent, but could definitely be upgraded upon. Saahdiq Charles is someone that still has loads of potential and might perform if/when given the chance.

So while the Washington Football Team line is far from perfect, it’s not a desperate need. Especially if Scherff returns.

Tight end is in a good spot too. Logan Thomas has missed most of the season due to injury. But he’s a top-tier tight end when healthy. Not elite, but very very good. John Bates was taken in the fourth round of the draft this year and looks like a solid piece too. Ricky Seals-Jones has been good depth and Sammis Reyes is intriguing at the very least.

Running back is a tricky one. McKissic is great and Antonio Gibson is one of the most electric running backs in football. Gibson has had some major fumble issues though. And he’s currently holding on to a sub-4.0 YPC, which isn’t exactly turning any heads either. However, this isn’t nearly a big enough issue to go first-round on.

That leaves two positions, quarterback and wide receiver. And honestly, Washington could easily go with either.

Heading into the year, wide receiver seemed fixed. Terry McLaurin is a superstar, and they added Curtis Samuel to add another star. Dyami Brown was drafted to add some insane speed and another threat. Cam Sims and Adam Humphries were the good depth pieces to round it all out.

McLaurin has lived up to his name. Samuel has spent most of the year injured though, and even when he has played it’s been insanely underwhelming. Brown has been bad. He’s a rookie and dealt with some injury issues so it feels unfair to judge him too harshly. But when he plays he’s struggled to get open and had drops. Through 11 career games, Brown has nine receptions for 87 yards and no touchdowns (also has one carry for -4 yards).

Sims has continuously proven he’s a weapon when he gets a chance. But still not exactly a number two. Humphries has been solid but is best for his role as a depth/slot guy. Antonio Gandy-Golden hasn’t gotten a chance this year after disappointing his rookie season. Dax Milne has made a few plays as a rookie but nothing to get too excited about.

DeAndre Carter has been the one receiver to really outplay expectations. The 28-year-old has career-highs in receptions (21), receiving yards (279), touchdowns (3), rushes (6), and rushing yards (45). He’s also been a great return man, even getting his first return touchdown this season. Again though, Carter shouldn’t have to be a big(ish) part of your offense.

Meanwhile, quarterback has been an issue as well. Ryan Fitzpatrick has missed the entire season (except the first half of the first game) due to injury. Taylor Heinicke has been great in his absence and proven that he deserved a shot. But the arm strength and overconfidence have led to some issues. Washington can’t expect to move forward and win with a quarterback who can’t go deep to their superstar receiver. It takes an entire element out of the game.

So that leaves those two spots open for the draft. The defense isn’t perfect, but it’s stacked with pieces and is the strength of the team. It’s time to focus on building up that offense. And it starts with receiver and quarterback.

This is going to depend heavily on where Washington falls in the draft order. This isn’t a great quarterback draft. That’s good news for the fact that if the Washington Football Team gets something like the 10th pick, they might not have seen any quarterbacks go yet. It’s bad news in the sense that it feels less likely that they could get a potential superstar at the position.

Kenny Pickett out of Pittsburgh, Matt Corral from Ole Miss, Malik Willis of Liberty, Sam Howell for UNC, and Desmond Ridder from Cincinnati are the top quarterbacks at the moment in my opinion.

There’s a much stronger chance Washington lands Pickett, as Corral will likely be the first QB off the board. And they would really need to tank to fall into the top-10. Willis, Howell, and Ridder are very intriguing. But I could see Washington passing up on them if those are their options. Then the hope would be that they could snatch one up in the second round (even if they have to trade up a bit).

Receiver brings them plenty of options as well though. A few that pop out to me are Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave (Ohio State), Jameson Williams (Alabama), Jahan Dotson (Penn State and more importantly my high school, Nazareth), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), and Drake London (USC).

Burks is just a stud. Wilson does it all. Olave is that polished and perfect route-runner that reminds you of Keenan Allen. London is a monster of a human. Williams is the stereotypical Alabama beast that you expect great things from. Dotson is lightning in a bottle with insane speed and underrated route running.

For some reason, I’m taking London out of the equation. Something about his fit. If Washington doesn’t get a QB with better arm strength it just feels like he’d be wasted a bit. Olave, Wilson, and Burks could be taken early so if Washington wins a few games they might be gone.

That leaves Williams and Dotson (which to be fair they could also be taken early but I think there’s a better chance they’re available). Both would be massive gets for Washington.

And if they could manage to steal a QB early in the second, then we could be getting something special.

The Washington Football Team defense is once again proving that it’s ready to win. They struggled to start the year, but have found their footing perfectly in recent weeks. There are some good pieces on offense too. They just need more weapons at receiver and a true starting quarterback to put it all together.

Due to that, it’s the only real solution.

The Washington Football Team needs to focus on quarterback and wide receiver to start the 2022 NFL Draft. Yes, they’re still in the playoff hunt now. But if these issues don’t get fixed this will continue to be the life of Washington fans. They’ll get either miserable seasons (which there have been a lot of in the last 20-plus years). Or seasons like this, where they are barely holding on in the playoff race and working with a sub-.500 record.

They need to pass that threshold and start being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. No more of this “maybe they can win a weak NFC East” garbage. And it starts with a QB and a receiver.