With a season of player analysis under our collective belts, it's fair to say the Washington football team hauled in one of the best NFL draft classes of 2020: Chase Young and Antonio Gibson had impressive debut campaigns.
The acquisition of the aforementioned talents helped the football team conquer the NFC East. Washington may have come undone in the playoffs against eventual champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the wildcard round, but progress was there for all to see.
Coach Ron Rivera's team has already laid out a great foundation in defense: Washington Football Team had one of the better defensive units in almost every metric in 2020.
The challenge for the offseason was to improve their offense enough to be able to retain their NFC East crown and enable them to go deeper into the NFL playoffs.
Coach Rivera and new GM Martin Mayhew addressed key issues during the free agency window when they picked up the likes of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Curtis Samuel to go alongside the likes of WR 'Scary' Terry McLaurin and sophomore running back sensation Antonio Gibson.
Another good haul in the 2021 NFL Draft, which took place last weekend, should enable Washington Football Team to take the next step in their footballing evolution...
So how did Washington Football team fare in the draft, and will they be able to mount a serious challenge for divisional honors in 2021-22, or perhaps even make it to their first Super Bowl in 29-years?
On that note, let's take a look at Rivera and co.'s picks in the NFL Draft this year.
The Washington football team's 2021 NFL Draft Picks
#1 Round 1, Pick 19: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Coach Rivera went to the draft knowing that LB was a position of need in the Washington Football Team's depth chart. He made sure to upgrade the roster early by taking Jamin Davis in the very first round.
Jamin Davis was arguably the best linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft last weekend and was certainly the best on the board by the time the Washington Football Team war room was up on the clock.
Jamin Davis made 102 combined tackles for the Wildcats in 2020, received a PFF run-defense grade of 87.5 and balled out on his Pro Day, where he ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, an 11-foot broad jump and a 42-inch vertical.
#2 Round 2, Pick 5: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Rivera and Mayhew sought to address another positional need at left-tackle with their second pick in the NFL draft, bringing in highly-touted Texas OT Samuel Cosmi.
Cosmi stands at 6' 6", weighs 614 pounds and was the highest-ranked OL against ranked teams in college football (91.3). He is an absolute buffalo when it comes to the run-blocking to boot.
Many mock drafts that I encountered during the build-up to the big day in Cleveland had Cosmi off the board in the top 32. So to land the now-former Longhorn in the second round has to be seen as good business.
#3 Round 3, Pick 51: Benjamin St. Juste, CB, Minnesota
CB Benjamin St. Juste didn't play a lot of football in 2020 but was one of the elite defensive backs in college ball the year prior. He forced a 21% incompletion rate (third-highest of all eligible CBs that year) on his way to tallying ten PDs.
St Juste. has solid physical traits and is a decent tackler in coverage. He will likely be a work in progress. But after losing Ronald Darby to Denver via free agency, the next incumbent pairing of the rookie, St.Juste, and the former-Bengal, William Jackson, prove that the Washington Football Team means business in coverage come autumn.
#4 Round 3, Pick 84: Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
Taking Dyami Brown off the board late in the third round was another steal of a selection.
Brown, who ran a 4.44 on his pro-day combine, could be a big threat downfield. His pace could open up the offensive playbook for Rivera and create space for the likes of Curtis Samuel to exploit on slants in mid-range positions 15-20 yards upfield.
In two full seasons as a starter for the Tar Heels, Brown chalked up 2,133 yards and registered 20 TDs; he's an absolute steal at pick 84.
#5 Round 4, Pick 124: John Bates, TE, Boise State
John Bates is more of a blocking TE than he is the next Darren Waller (Raiders). PFF awarded the big man a run-blocking grade of 81.8 and a pass-blocking grade of 76.7, making him the second-best overall in the two particular metrics in all of college football.
Bates is not expected to charge upfield breaking tackles and scoring 'tuddies' on the regular, but he could go on to be a vital component in protecting Fitzpatrick and Gibson in the offensive backfield.
#6 Round 5, Pick 163: Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati
Consistent and versatile, Darrick Forrest was a key cog in the Blackcats Defense throughout the entirety of his college career in Cincinnati.
Forrest played in 49 career games, making 36 starts, chalking up 200 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, six interceptions and a fumble recovery en route to his NFL draft selection. He is also a two-time All-AAC honoree.
I can't profess to know too much about the safety, in all honesty. But his tape looks pretty good for a fifth-rounder: he has solid tackling prowess, reads the offense well and has tidy hands in coverage.
#7 Round 6, Pick 225: Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan
Washington took a new long-snapper with the 225th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Camaron Cheeseman was touted as one of the elite LS on the board (certainly the one with the most memorable name) and is also an aspiring dentist.
#8 Round 7, Pick 240: William Bradley-King, DE, Baylor
A mean technician with a certain je ne sais quoi for permeating opposing OLs, William Bradley-King is an impact player on the defensive line.
Throughout his college career, both in the Sun Belt with Arkansas State and in the Big 12 with Baylor, Bradley-King chalked up sacks galore (18), forced fumbles (6), and generally dealt with the upgrade in competition easily when he did finally make it to Baylor.
Washington will hope he can take the next step into the NFL in his stride, too, because, if he does that, he'll likely be a bit of a nightmare for opposing QBs.
#9 Round 7, Pick 246: Shaka Toney, DE, Penn State
Sleeper pick alert: Penn State DE Shaka Toney somehow slipped all the way to the final round of the 2021 NFL draft.
With 20 sacks during a 4-year college career that was spent playing alongside Jayson Oweh and Micah Parsons, the third-highest-graded player at the Senior Bowl deserved to go higher - much higher - in my opinion.
Check the tape and see for yourself:
#10 Round 7, Pick 258: Dax Milne, WR, BYU
Dax Milne in the seventh round was another of the sleeper picks in the 2021 NFL Draft for the Washington Football Team.
PFF awarded the former BYU star a 155.7 grade when placed in single-coverage -- that was the highest in all of college football; higher than even Kyle Pitts!
By now, everyone has seen the tape of the Jets' number 2 overall pick QB Zach Wilson; the guy catching all those other-worldly deep balls from the new Jets signal caller was Dax Milne. In fact, in 2020, it was Milne who led the Cougars with 70 receptions, posting 1,188 yards.
If Milne continues to, even occasionally, warrant double coverage in the opposition defensive backfield, it's going to open up all kinds of space for the likes of McLaurin and Samuel to exploit. This kid is an absolute steal at pick 258.
To conclude, this Washington Football Team's haul at the 2021 NFL draft was one of the very best among all the teams that participated. Most interestingly, Rivera has taken his receiving corps from a one-man band in the form of Terry McLaurin to one of the most fearsome in all of the NFL in just four short months.
NFC East beware: Washington will have high hopes for a great season in 2021.