The NFL season is officially underway which means it’s time to start following your favorite draft prospects and thinking about which players would fit your favorite team’s needs. We don’t have a fully clear idea of what each team needs or where they’ll be picking, but the picture gets clearer and clearer with every game that’s played. So who did our own Washington analyst Ian Cummings give the Washington Football Team in his 3-round 2021 NFL mock draft and what is the reaction?
Round 1, Pick 2: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
With the consensus being that Washington will go with a quarterback if they’re picking this high, Cummings goes the other route and selects the best player available at the team’s biggest need. Washington has the worst offensive line in the NFL and Penei Sewell is the best offensive tackle we’ve seen in over a decade.
He’s nasty at the point of attack and as consistent as they come in pass protection. He’ll be only 20 years old when he’s drafted, and he won’t turn 21 until well into his rookie season. It’s obvious that Washington desperately needs help on the offensive line, and if they can add Sewell they’ll have found their left tackle for the next decade and a half. Expect Sewell to finish his rookie season as one of the 10-best left tackles in football.
I have no issue with this choice by Cummings and if I was calling the shots in Washington this is the decision I would make as well. I’m not convinced either Justin Fields or Trey Lance are a superior QB to Dwayne Haskins and they would also struggle if the team failed to address the offensive line and receiving units. However, thinking logically I find it more likely that the team would take a QB if they were picking this high in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Round 2, Pick 34: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Another slam dunk pick for Cummings, as he’s once again addressed one of the biggest needs on the team with arguably the top player available. Florida’s Kyle Pitts is a mismatch nightmare who feasts on linebackers and safeties over the middle of the field with his massive frame and elite athletic ability. He reminds me of another former Florida Gator; Jordan Reed. However without the injury issues.
Pitts fits the prototypical “big slot” tight-end build. Cut from the same cloth as an Evan Engram or Noah Fant, Pitts does his best work when used as a receiving threat. He is something Washington desperately needs as the talent outside of Terry McLaurin is pathetic. Even that’s sugarcoating it.
With the addition of Sewell and Pitts, Washington takes the first step into building an elite offensive unit. Adding another weapon alongside McLaurin, and a left tackle that should be an All-Pro for the majority of his career would be vital to the rebuild as the team enters its second season under Ron Rivera.
Round 2, Pick 66: Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
It’s obvious Cummings is intent on improving the offense, more specifically, the passing offense. After taking a pass protector and a match-up nightmare in the first two rounds, he adds a physical specimen to play across from McLaurin. Seth Williams is an impressive blend of size and speed and is excellent with the ball in the air. He screams “X-receiver.”
I’m totally on board for boosting the receiving unit, but I personally would’ve gone after Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt. A bit more sure-handed and tough after the catch, I think Surratt’s skill-set compliments what Washington already has a bit better. However, either player would provide a much-needed talent influx to the receiver room.
Round 3, Pick 94 (via SF): Richie Grant, S, UCF
Troy Apke is not the answer at free safety. It was painfully obvious in the first half against Philadelphia and laughably obvious against Arizona. Going into the offseason, they should absolutely look into upgrading the position. One option could be drafting someone like Richie Grant.
Grant is a natural single-high free safety, which is exactly was defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio asks for. Washington’s coverages are dominated by Cover-1 and Cover-3, both of which rely on a single high safety to be the security blanket preventing plays over the top while also providing a last line of defense if a runner was to break through the first two levels. Sadly, Apke has shown he’s incapable of doing either so adding a player like Grant who has shined in that role makes a ton of sense.
Cummings chose to address Washington’s biggest needs as opposed to taking a quarterback second overall and going from there. The pairing of Sewell and Pitts would be a massive influx of talent for two of the team’s weakest positions. Then adding players like Williams and Grant to fill positions of need with good athletic profiles is just quality drafting. Overall I’d give this class an “A” grade, with only a few minor tweaks I might’ve made personally.