The Washington Football Team is heading into one of its most critical offseasons in recent memory as they hope to build upon their NFC East title in 2020. Washington hopes to shore up the elusive quarterback position after shuffling through four quarterbacks in the 2020 season, culminating with an electrifying performance by Taylor Heinicke. After adding Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney to the front office, Washington could look towards the draft to solve the quarterback position or fill holes at the skill positions on offense and at linebacker. Here is Mock Draft 1.0 for the Washington Football Team using the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator. Although it could very well happen, this mock draft assumes that there will be no trades prior to the draft, including a potential Matthew Stafford or Deshaun Watson deal.
Washington Football Team Mock Draft 1.0: Seven rounds
Round 1, Pick 19: Zaven Collins
Alabama standout Mac Jones was on the board at 19 and he will be a very tempting prospect for Ron Rivera and Company. But, with limited mobility, the Washington Football Team could easily pass on Jones and take a linebacker who could take this defense to the next level: Zaven Collins.
The 6’4 260-pound redshirt junior out of Tulsa has been exceptional in his three-year career with the Golden Hurricanes. In his past three seasons, he has had at least 7.5 tackles for loss, despite playing just eight games this past season. While he lacks elite speed, most likely running in the late 4.6 range at the combine, Collins has a unique burst that is not typically seen with a player of his size. He is a physical and sure-handed tackler and constantly improves at filling gaps in the run game. Especially behind Washington’s daunted defensive line, Collins would immediately be their most talented linebacker with his athleticism and gap-filling ability.
Jack Del Rio could use Collins in the pass rush with his 260-pound frame and Collins has shown potential in coverage, a massive need for Washington. The linebacker position was the weak link on the Washington defense this past season and drafting Zaven Collins would be an important upgrade.
Round 2, Pick 51: Rondale Moore
Wide Receiver, Purdue
Just as dire as the linebacking corps on the defensive side of the ball, the wide receiver position is an area of improvement for Washington. Rondale Moore is an explosive athlete who is a running back in the open field, despite his 5’9 180-pound frame. In his 20-game Purdue career, Moore had 2163 yards from scrimmage, 1915 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns. He had an unbelievable freshman year, catching 114 passes for 1258 yards. Moore was hampered with a hamstring injury in his sophomore season, playing just four games. Then, he decided to opt back into the 2020 season and 35 receptions for 270 yards in three games.
His athleticism and versatility will be a perfect fit for Scott Turner’s offense as he will have a role similar to what Steven Sims Jr. was supposed to have this season. But, Moore is on another level with his speed and quickness, making him one of the best pure athletes in this draft. Although Moore has legitimate injury concerns with his hamstring injury and small frame, he will have home run ability every time he touches the ball in Washington.
Round 3, Pick 74: Kenneth Gainwell
Running Back, Memphis
Third-round running back. Memphis. Transitioning to running back. Kenneth Gainwell’s journey sounds familiar to Antonio Gibson, Washington’s standout rookie from last season. The high school quarterback has a slightly different skill set to Gibson. At Memphis, he had excellent vision and receiving skills as he has a versatile route tree from the slot and solid ball tracking ability. Like Gibson, Gainwell has deceptive power to turn a two-yard run into a four or five-yard run. In 2019, Gainwell ran for more than 1400 yards and caught 51 passes for 610 yards. Although he may not have the best pass protection skills, he could easily be a third-down threat, similar to J.D. McKissic.
As evident by Antonio Gibson’s absence late in the 2020 season, Washington needs another three-down running back to complement Gibson. Gainwell provides that with his receiver-like ball skills and solid vision from the backfield. With Gainwell and Moore, Scott Turner has two more strong weapons to use.
Round 3, Pick 82: Shaun Wade
Defensive Back, Ohio State
With or without Ronald Darby, Shaun Wade would be an excellent mock draft pick at 82 for the Washington Football Team. Although he was torched in the National Championship game by Devonta Smith, Wade offers physicality at the cornerback position for Washington. He is an excellent tackler with fluid hips as a slot corner, intercepting six passes with the Buckeyes. With his tackling abilities, there are thoughts of Wade being a safety at the next level. The real issue with Wade is when he is placed outside as he struggled in press coverage this season. Although Jimmy Moreland was solid in 2020 and Fabian Moreau is a very good fourth corner, Wade could be an immediate contributor on special teams and find his way on the field in nickel situations at the slot position.
Round 4, Pick 117: Brady Christensen
Offensive Tackle, BYU
Washington fans are probably more fascinated with another player on the BYU offense, Zach Wilson, but Washington adds tackle depth in this mock draft with Brady Christensen in the fourth round. He is a physical lineman on the left side who could be a perfect fit in the zone blocking scheme and a force in the run game. He had very good technique at BYU, but there are questions about his athleticism on the edge, especially due to the competition. Similar to Washington’s fourth-round pick last season, Saahdiq Charles, Christensen could be a prime candidate to move the guard, a move that would be needed if All-Pro right guard Brandon Scherff were to walk in free agency.
Round 5, Pick 149: Malcolm Koonce
In Washington’s top five offseason needs, a rotational edge rusher commanded the fifth spot on the list. Malcolm Koonce out of Buffalo has a chance to be that third, or fourth, edge rusher for Washington. Over his last seasons, 17 games, Koonce posted 13 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. He is an intriguing edge rusher due to his athleticism, a combination of speed and bend. While he is far from being a starting edge rusher, due to his struggles against the run (partly because of his strength), Koonce could immediately be a contributor on passing downs, similar to Cassanova McKinzy and Junior Galette.
Round 7, Pick 210: Matt Bushman
Tight End, BYU
Logan Thomas had a breakout year in 2020 with 72 catches for 670 yards. But the next two tight ends on the roster, Jeremy Sprinkle and Marcus Baugh (not including Temarrick Hemingway), combined for just two catches in the regular season. To address this need, Washington goes to BYU again, this time in the seventh round, to grab Matt Bushman. Bushman missed the entire 2020 season after suffering a torn Achilles. In 2019, Bushman caught 47 passes for 688 yards after catching 29 passes for 511 yards in 2018. He could be a matchup problem at 6’5 and has a solid frame to be an inline blocker. At age 25, the BYU product is on the older side, but he could challenge for playing time in his rookie season.
Round 7, Pick 212: LaBryan Ray
Defensive Tackle, Alabama
To cap off the Washington Football Team mock draft, the team takes a swing at a massive talent in the seventh. Adding to their plethora of Alabama defensive linemen, Washington could look to develop LaBryan Ray, who, although projecting as a 3-4 defensive end, can play inside in a 4-3. Battling injuries since his sophomore year, Ray hasn’t built off his excellent season in 2018. Ray had six tackles for loss in 2018 along with 2.5 sacks, despite starting just one game. As contract dilemmas with DaRon Payne, Matt Ioannidis, and Jonathan Allen are on the horizon, Washington could have a promising defensive lineman on their practice squad in 2021.
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