Washington Football Team NFL draft picks 2021: Analysis for every selection – Washington Blog

The 2021 NFL draft was held April 29 through May 1 and every Washington Football Team draft pick has been analyzed here.

After last season’s virtual draft, Cleveland played 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 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 also provides Washington speed, an attribute needed at the position. He can play inside and he can cover. What Washington wanted most at linebacker: an elite player who has versatility, and they got it in Davis. 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 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 the San Francisco 49ers were aggressive this season, but has a roster that was good enough to reach the Super Bowl two years ago.

No offense? 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 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 wide receiver DeVonta Smith while the Dallas Cowboys’ Prescott is healthy, and the New York Giants added wide receiver Kenny Golladay in free agency and drafted wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round Thursday. Rivera knows a special defense will help any future young passer.


Round 2, No. 51 overall: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

play

0:57

Check out the best highlights from Texas OT Samuel Cosmi’s college career.

My take: Washington traded Trent Williams a year ago and Cosmi could walk in as their starting left tackle with Morgan Moses on the right side.

In 2020, he started the eight games he played at Texas before opting out and started all but one of his 35 games in his career. He was a team captain and a first-team All-Big 12 pick in 2020. He is not a tremendous athlete, but he has the smarts to know how to keep himself in good positioning to protect the quarterback.

Washington’s strength is its defensive line and Rivera wants to build his offensive line in a similar way. With Cosmi joining Moses, Ereck Flowers, Chase Roullier and Brandon Scherff, Washington might be on to something in its bid to defend its NFC East title. — Todd Archer


Round 3, No. 74 overall: Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota

play

0:46

Check out the highlights from Minnesota safety Benjamin St-Juste’s college career.

My take: Starting cornerback isn’t a pressing need after Washington added William Jackson III in free agency, but the team could use depth in the secondary and there’s always the possibility St-Juste could be viewed as a safety. A native of Quebec, Canada, St-Juste appeared in 18 games at Minnesota, including five last season, where he finished with 11 tackles and a pass defensed.


Round 3, No. 82 overall: Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina

play

0:59

Check out the best highlights from North Carolina WR Dyami Brown’s college career.

My take: Washington added another receiver to complement Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries.

Brown brings an ability to get down the field with 4.4 speed and nice athleticism. He’s not the prototypical big outside receiver that perhaps Washington needed, but he does track the deep ball well. Brown, 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds, is a little raw coming out of North Carolina but is a talented player with upside, and a nice addition to the wide receiver mix in the third round. He was Mel Kiper Jr.’s best available player at the time of his selection. — Jordan Raanan


Round 4, No. 124 overall: John Bates, TE, Boise State

My take: Washington needed more depth at tight end and wanted another pass-catcher to pair with Logan Thomas. Bates’ speed should provide help, especially down the seams. If he comes through then it helps diversify the offense, particularly with the weapons Washington has added at wide receiver with Curtis Samuel and third-round pick Dyami Brown.

Bates also has the size (6-5, 250) to develop into a quality blocker, something Washington absolutely needs.


Round 5, No. 163 overall: Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati

My take: Washington needs a starting free safety but it’s hard to say Foster can be that guy. He does have leadership skills — he was a team captain — and he was productive. Foster showed he could play in the box or deep and even cover some in the slot. There are questions if he’s big or fast enough to be a starter but if nothing else he can help on special teams and sub packages.


Round 6, No. 225 overall: Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan

My take: After releasing veteran long snapper Nick Sundberg this offseason, Washington needed to find his replacement. It found one in Cheeseman, considered one of the country’s best thanks to his consistency. He opted out this season. Sundberg was excellent for 11 seasons, rarely making a bad snap, but injuries over the years — and triceps surgery this offseason — left the team wondering how much he had left.


Round 7, No. 240 overall: William Bradley-King, LB/DE, Baylor

play

1:07

Check out the best highlights from Baylor DE William Bradley-King’s college career.

My take: Bradley-King was mostly a pass-rusher in college, transferring to Baylor after three years at Arkansas State. At 252 pounds, he’ll probably have to add weight to be an effective rusher in Washington’s base 4-3 front, though if he makes it he would be a situational rusher. Washington needs more young pass-rushers to develop into capable backups behind Chase Young and Montez Sweat.


Round 7, No. 246 overall: Shaka Toney, LB/DE, Penn State

play

1:00

Watch some of the best highlights from Penn State’s Shaka Toney.

My take: For a second consecutive pick, Washington selected a potential situational pass-rusher in sub packages. Toney was an outside linebacker/edge rusher and recorded five sacks in nine games in 2020. He ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day and is considered a “twitchy” athlete. They need to build depth with young edge rushers. Special teams will also be important here and Toney’s speed and size will help.


Round 7, No. 258 overall: Dax Milne, WR, BYU

My take: Milne was one of Zach Wilson‘s favorite targets and caught 70 passes for 1,188 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s considered a strong route runner and has decent size at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds. His special teams play will dictate whether he makes the roster. Washington has enough depth at receiver that it will be tough but not impossible to win a job.