NFL Draft Preview: Washington looks to fill needs at No. 19

This year’s NFL Draft will unfold a little differently for the Washington Football Team than it did a year ago, when it held the No. 2 overall pick and selected Chase Young.

After winning the NFC East, Washington sits at No. 19 heading into Thursday’s first round and has eight selections overall, including four in the first three rounds (19th, 51st, 74th and 82nd overall).

Head coach Ron Rivera and his newly-assembled front office has done a good job this offseason addressing some of the needs of his football team. The acquisitions of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, wide receiver Curtis Samuel and cornerback William Jackson III gives them a little more flexibility.

Yes, Washington still needs to address its future at quarterback, but by acquiring Fitzpatrick, along with the return of Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke, they don’t have to mortgage the future to land a quarterback in this draft. The big quarterback prospects should be gone by No. 19, and Rivera has been pretty adamant about not unloading a number of draft picks to move up to grab a player.

North Dakota’s Trey Lance has been linked to Washington. He would be the reason why to move to trade up, but that still seems like a stretch, unless Lance starts to fall closer to their pick. They could take a chance and draft a quarterback later in the draft if they fill some holes early on.

The team traded for guard Erek Flowers Tuesday, bringing him back to Washington where he started all 16 games in 2019 before signing with the Dolphins last March. By bringing him back, this could change the direction Washington goes with the 19th pick. The offensive line is a position of need, but Flowers has proven to be a starter in this league and adds some interior offensive linemen depth that could allow them to go another direction.

If they were to go offensive line at 19, Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw could be an option along with Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins and USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker.

This Washington defense is on the verge of being a very good defense, that’s no secret. The linebacker position is one of need, and this draft has some pretty good options at that position, starting with Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He would be a very good fit for Washington, and could be available at 19 as well as Jamin Davis from Kentucky. Both would be great additions to play behind Washington’s very good front four.

Penn State’s Micah Parsons could be a no-brainer as well, but isn’t expected to be around when Washington’s turn comes up.

With eight selections, Washington could very well address a lot of needs this weekend and select players that could contribute. This will be Rivera’s first draft that will be completely his, having come in last year when draft preparation was already underway.

With the addition of General Manager Martin Mayhew and Executive Vice President of Player Personnel Marty Hurney, Rivera has guys he trusts, and that have been through draft war rooms before. They have done some pretty good work already this offseason, let’s see how they handle the next step.

George Wallace

George Wallace is the WTOP sports director. He began at WTOP on Christmas Day of 2000.

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