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Washington Football Team 2021 Season Preview: Favorites in the East?

The Washington Football Team won the NFC East in 2020, but does their 2021 season preview favor them to repeat? Their defensive efficiency was top-five in the NFL, and their defensive line is the scariest in all of football. Unfortunately, they also only won seven games and had the least efficient per-play offense in the league. So, how fun will the Football Team be in 2021?

Washington Football Team’s 2021 season preview

The Football Team’s schedule is no walk in the park. They face the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Seattle Seahawks at home in 2021. They also have to travel to Buffalo and Green Bay. However, their road schedule only ranks as the 24th-most difficult schedule compared to the fourth-most difficult at home.

Offseason additions and losses

Washington made many key additions to the team in the offseason. They signed wide receiver Curtis Samuel, who finally brings a legitimate secondary receiving option aside from Terry McLaurin. They also brought in Adam Humphries, who was productive to the tune of 800+ receiving yards in his last 16-game season (2018).

To throw those two the football, they went and added veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will take a snap with his ninth professional football team come September. Furthermore, Washington acquired Charles Leno and traded for Ereck Flowers to help bolster their offensive line. David Mayo was one of their few defensive additions to help with depth at linebacker.

Their losses weren’t nearly as severe. They released Morgan Moses and let Ronald Darby walk in free agency but got a perceived upgrade in William Jackson III. Furthermore, they lost veteran pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan to the rival Philadelphia Eagles.

2021 NFL Draft

Washington made some outstanding selections in the 2021 NFL Draft. Pairing the athleticism and upside of linebacker Jamin Davis with this defensive line was a dream fit for the Kentucky linebacker. Texas tackle Samuel Cosmi could take time to develop, but his 2020 tape showed marked improvement from the year prior.

After that, they went with the big, athletic cornerback Benjamin St-Juste. Then, they got great value in UNC wide receiver Dyami Brown. Later in the NFL Draft, Washington selected Cincinnati safety Darrick Forrest before going with two high-upside pass rushers in William Bradley-King and Shaka Toney.

Washington players in PFN’s Top 100

Which Washington players rank in the PFN Top 100 and where do they fall?

90) Terry McLaurin, WR

McLaurin is one of the silkiest receivers in the NFL. When drafted by Washington, he was an older prospect who was underutilized in the Ohio State offense during his time there. However, he’s been nothing short of exceptional at the next level. McLaurin excels in running routes in the intermediate areas of the field because he can carry great speed in and out of flat breaks to create separation.

61) Brandon Scherff, G

Although he’s struggled at times to stay on the field, Scherff is one of the best guards in all of football when he’s out there. The former college tackle went high in the 2015 NFL Draft and hasn’t looked back since. Scherff is athletic and powerful, but he’s also one of the most technically gifted interior blockers in the game as well.

35) Chase Young, DE

Young is going to be a problem for offensive tackles in the NFC East for a long time. He’s technically refined and physically imposing. As good as Joey and Nick Bosa were in their time at Ohio State, Young was the best prospect of the bunch. He was the total package.

Washington Football Team’s 2021 prediction

Washington has a lot to look forward to in their 2021 season preview. They had a great offseason and are already coming off a division title. In addition, they have what is probably the most well-respected head coach in the NFC East. Ron Rivera and company have really seemed to turn the culture around in Washington.

Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio had this defense playing unbelievable football in 2020, and they might have more talent in 2021. Yet, the jury might still be out on just how much offensive coordinator Scott Turner can turn this offense around schematically.

Offense

This is what it’ll all come down to for Washington. Fitzpatrick’s jersey wall on Pro Football Reference looks like a four-star general’s chest in his dress blues. Yet, he needs to play at a level he never has before to keep up with the rigorous group of quarterbacks Washington will face in 2021.

Samuel brings an element this offense hasn’t had since McLaurin came around. Antonio Gibson looks like he will be a stud, especially if the offensive line looks as good on the field as it does on paper.

Defense

Defensive performances are difficult to duplicate from year to year. The Football Team has to play Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, and then Dak Prescott twice. That’ll make for some tough sledding. Still, they have multiple ways to rush the passer, own a high-end linebacker prospect, two legitimate outside cornerbacks, and a solid slot in Jimmy Moreland.

2021 Washington record prediction

The Football Team has a great overall roster. Furthermore, they are most likely going to be in a lot of games due to their outstanding defense. However, it’s difficult to see a scenario where Fitzpatrick plays well enough to really contend in the long run. This looks like a nine or 10-win team that’s contending for a playoff spot, but because their quarterback is a tad volatile, it could really go either way.

Dalton Miller is the Lead NFL Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read more of his work here and follow him @daltonbmiller on Twitter and Twitch

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