WFT players whose job security took a hit in the 2021 NFL Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Whenever a team welcomes in a new class of rookies, a certain number of veterans inevitably see their job security decline. And when that class of rookies touches double digits, like Washington’s, that is especially true.
With that in mind, here are four players on the Burgundy and Gold who aren’t feeling as good about their future as they were, say, a week ago.
While the additions of Darrick Forrest (a safety) and Benjamin St-Juste (a corner who could see action at safety) have caused some to wonder about where Landon Collins stands, Apke is the one who’s in the most immediate danger.
Aside from Kam Curl, yes, every member of the secondary is on notice after Ron Rivera drafted two defensive backs, yet Apke appears to be in the most perilous place. He was already benched in 2020 due to poor performance, he’s not a selection of the current regime and cutting him would cost basically nothing.
The one thing Apke has going for him is his speed, which in theory should make him a capable deep safety, and the defense could use someone to fill that role. However, his speed hasn’t helped him turn into that type of contributor up to this point and now he’s got added competition to deal with.
Steven Sims Jr.
The 2020 breakout never occurred for Sims; he struggled as a punt returner, wasn’t that involved as a receiver and even dealt with injuries. In all, the former undrafted free agent took a step backward.
And unless he seriously rebounds, his next step may be onto the free-agent market.
Third-rounder Dyami Brown will certainly make the roster, meaning there’s already one less space for Sims (plus Isaiah Wright). Seventh-rounder Dax Milne, meanwhile, does the majority of his work in the slot, which is where Sims is known to operate. By the way, so does Adam Humphries, whom Washington signed in free agency.
Sims has shown that he can be a dynamic pro — but he showed it to the previous staff. Rivera’s crew, on the other hand, only knows him as an inconsistent wideout and an ineffective returner and if he doesn’t change his reputation quickly, he’ll be looking for work.
Christian was praised for what he did in training camp a season ago and actually opened up as the club’s starting left tackle. Six games later, though, he suffered an injury and ceded the position to Cornelius Lucas.
Then, on Friday, Washington grabbed Texas tackle Sam Cosmi, a talented blocker whom Rivera said will get a shot right away on the left side. If Cosmi doesn’t earn the first-string gig, he projects to be the backup swing tackle.
Either way, Christian figures to be behind Cosmi and Lucas in the pecking order as of now. That means he and David Sharpe could be fighting for one spot, which would be quite a change of pace for someone who took the field for the opening stretch of 2020.
Harvey-Clemons is expected to return after opting out of the 2020 campaign but unfortunately for him, he’s coming back to an uphill battle at linebacker.
Like Apke and Christian, JHC wasn’t drafted by Rivera and like Apke and Christian, he’s a slot further down the depth chart (the arrival of Jamin Davis is responsible for that). Harvey-Clemons, a converted college safety, was supposed to emerge as a coverage specialist, but Davis is in line for that role.
Elsewhere, Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb should be relatively safe, Khaleke Hudson is only entering his second year and David Mayo was just signed as a free agent. Then there’s Jared Norris, an ex-Panther who Rivera leans on for special teams duties. So… you get the point.
Others in trouble: Peyton Barber, Greg Stroman, Kelvin Harmon, Marcus Baugh