The Washington Football Team isn't just a quarterback away. Sure, finding the face of the franchise is important, but there are other pressing needs to turn this NFC East club into a Super Bowl contender.
As the postseason moves into conference championship weekend, mock drafts continue to see Washington using the 11th overall selection on its future gunslinger. Most mocks have the WFT taking either Pitt's Kenny Pickett or Ole Miss' Matt Corral.
Is quarterback the only path when Washington is on the clock?
WFT's inconsistencies in the interior of the offensive line, along with the back end in coverage, could lead to other options. Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff is expected to test free agency. Rookie right tackle Sam Cosmi excelled on the edge, but could transition inside is WFT coach Ron Rivera see fit.
Washington shouldn't limit itself to picking a quarterback early, especially considering free agency and potential trades. Should the asking price be reasonable for several high-end QBs on the market, Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew should make a play for stars such as Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson, Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers or Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson.
If they miss, San Francisco 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo could play a similar role to that of Alex Smith during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. And if all else fails, Mitchell Trubisky, Teddy Bridgewater or Andy Dalton might be enough to pass on a quarterback early.
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Pickett is coming off a successful season with the Panthers. Pittsburgh won its first ACC title in program history behind Pickett's 42 touchdown passes and 4,319 yards.
Pickett also is the most experienced quarterback in the class thanks to gaining another year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The super senior played in 52 games, allowing him to improve in both his accuracy and decision-making skills.
Of course, Washington isn't the only team interested in a quarterback. The New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons could be looking to add competition to their respective rooms. The Denver Broncos are looking for their franchise quarterback.
Washington very well could sign another bridge quarterback and draft the best player available. Should it look to bolster the offensive line, Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum, NC State's Ikem Ekwonu or Texas A&M's Kenyon Green could be options.
If looking to stabilize the defensive backfield, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. or Cincinnati corner Sauce Gardner could be in the mix. In Round 2, Washington could take a chance on a project quarterback such as Nevada's Carson Strong, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder or Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe and hope for the best.
Should Rivera fall in love with a quarterback to build around, that's the top priority. If not, there's little reason to reach in what is considered by many to be a weak quarterback draft class.