ASHBURN -- The Washington Football Team is building, and they have plenty of needs to fill. So, it's time to take a look at who we suggests the franchise should select and what the rest of the NFL world thinks, too. Keep it here, and check in often. We'll keep you updated.
APRIL 20: PETER SCHRAGER MOCKS THE WFT A RUNNING BACK AT No. 19: Yes, a running back weapon at No. 19 would add some sizzle to the offense as Peter Schrager of NFL Network and FOX projects - but Clemson running back Travis Etienne at No. 19?
Etienne could make a case for being the top running back in the class after resetting the record for ACC touchdowns. His vision, hands and agility in the open field makes him a do-it-all weapon.
However, is that really what Washington needs?
When look at Schrager's overall mock, names such as Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah,
APRIL 18: FOUR ROUND MOCK HAS WFT GOING WR AT No. 19: From ProFootballNetwork.com, a four-round mock selection has the Washington Football Team going with Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman at No. 19 , LSU linebacker Jabril Cox at No. 51, Stanford quarterback Davis Mills at No. 74 pick and USC safety Talanoa Hufanga at No. 82. Finally at No. 124 overall in the fourth round, WFT bolsters the offensive line with Adrian Ealy, an offensive tackle from Oklahoma.
APRIL 14: SEVEN ROUND DANE BRUGLER MOCK: As the NFL Draft enters its final stages, analysts are getting a better view of what teams could do when on the clock.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler is no different. In his latest seven-round mock, WFT might rejoice of the talent headed to D.C. in both the short and long-term aspects.
The big question is will Washington move up from No. 19 overall. Brugler elects to stay put and select do-it-all linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah out of Notre Dame.
At No. 51 overall, Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney joins the staff. The speedy Gator this late would be considered a huge steal thanks to his skill sets for Scott Turner’s system as a vertical option both inside and out.
With two third round picks, Brugler gives Washington a No. 2 tight end in Miami’s Brevin Jordan. At No. 82, Washington bolsters the trenches by selecting Northern Iowa tackle Spencer Brown.
The 6-foot-8 tackle is a project coming from the FCS level, but he fills a long-term hole without immediate pressure to start at left tackle.
Brugler projects the WFT to select a Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. in Round 5. In Round 5, they add speed from the edge with Janarius Robinson from Florida State.
To wrap up the selection, Brugler surprisingly has WFT taking Thomas Fletcher, a long snapper from Alabama. With the final pick they add wide receiver Racey McMath from LSU.
APRIL 13: Washington understand that they need a future quarterback. In ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest two-round mock, they might have the guy for 2022 and beyond.
Instead of trading up for North Dakota State's Trey Lance or Ohio State's Justin Fields, Kiper has WFT staying put at No. 19 and adding an extra element to the defense. The selection?
Washington could go a few different ways here, including offensive line or wide receiver. I like the fit of Owusu-Koramoah, though, as a three-down off-ball linebacker with cover skills. He's extremely versatile -- he lined up as a slot corner for the Fighting Irish at times last season -- and fast. He must improve as a tackler, but he should slot in as an instant-impact player for a defense that is already one of the league's best.
In the second round, perhaps this is the guy who can learn for a season under Ryan Fitzpatrick before becoming Ron Rivera's go-to gunslinger. Rising through the ranks week by week, Stanford's Davis Mills lands in D.C. at No. 51.
Mills is an interesting case, as he played in only 14 games at Stanford, which would be the fewest by a drafted quarterback in the last 15 years. And yet, at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he has some arm-talent traits and looked like a first-round pick at times. He also looked like a Day 3 pick at other times. He threw for 428 yards with three touchdowns and three picks in his final college game. If I were running a team, I'd feel much better taking him on Day 2 than I would on Day 1, and this is a Washington team that could bring him along slowly. He's the type of quarterback talent teams bet on, though.
Takeaways: Ask Washington SI's Cole Thompson what he would do with the No. 19 and he'll remind everyone that he was on the "JOK" hype train first. A three-down linebacker that is a perfect big nickel and "WILL" backer in Jack Del Rio's scheme, the Fighting Irish product needs to be at the top of the charts for Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew.
As for Mills? This feels like a tad of a reach.
WFT needs to bolster the left tackle position. In Kiper's mock, Texas' Sam Cosmi and North Dakota State's Dillon Radunz fall to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, respectively only several picks later. Both are projects, but they have value as future Pro Bowl-caliber blindside protectors.
Washington needs a free safety as well. UCF's Richie Grant only went three picks before Mills and feels like a great addition to Del Rio's scheme. Should he be on the clock, would WFT pass to take a project in Mills?
Mills isn't a terrible selection, but if he landed at No. 74, this would be an ideal situation. Then again, Mayhew and Marty Hurney have followed their draft boards in the past. Perhaps Mills is higher than one expects?
No. 19: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
No. 51: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
No. 74: JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU
No. 82: Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
No. 124: Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma
Takeaways: Cosmi fits as the position WFT might want to tap into in Round 1, though he may not be a Day 1 starter. Davis has popped up in this tracker before, as The Athletic recently wrote that Davis might be an ideal pick in the first round.
Is this overhype? Has the Pro Day number outweighed his production? Still, Davis would be an ideal long-term option to replace Jon Bostic by midseason and beyond.
Stevens and Brown are quality defensive backs that could contribute this year. The 6-foot-1 Stevens could be viewed to play either the big nickel in Jack Del Rio's defense or even shift to the "WILL" backer role to replace Kevin Pierre-Louis, the team's former cover linebacker.
Mills is a developmental quarterback at best coming out of Palo Alto. He has the perfect vet to learn from in Ryan Fitzpatrick with the hopes of taking over in 2022 and the "franchise" guy.
APRIL 12: TRADING UP WITH CAROLINA FOR A QB? - WFT is getting pegged left and right for a trade up for a QB since Michael Lombardi's report on Trey Lance last week.
CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson now is on board with the move as well.
In his latest mock, Wilson has Washington trading up, but not as high as some would believe. Instead, Ron Rivera and company go to No. 8 and swap spots with his old team in Carolina to grab the former Bison.
Although plausible, we have some questions.
The Panthers added Sam Darnold, who after three seasons with the Jets still has questions of being a “franchise guy” in the league. Carolina is looking for their QB of the future, so a trade out of No. 8 with Lance on the board takes them out of the conversation.
Darnold, who was added for a future second and fourth-round pick, along with a 2021 sixth-round pick, will need to show he is the guy. Would Carolina trade for the veteran only to draft his “successor” in April?
Plus, is this an indication on what this says about raw but uber talented Lance?
The mock doesn't offer any projected compensation in the deal but does feature Washington keeping their second-round pick and going with LSU WR Terrace Marshall at No. 51.
APRIL 6: A B+ Pro Football Focus has doubled its pleasure by releasing a three-round mock draft for every team in the NFC East, including the WFT's four picks ... and then by giving itself - er, the WFT - a fine grade. The picks:
Pick 19: LB JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH, NOTRE DAME
Pick 51: T LIAM EICHENBERG, NOTRE DAME
Pick 74: WR JOSH PALMER, TENNESSEE
Pick 82: DL OSA ODIGHIZUWA, UCLA
A lot of stuff here that isn't really about "need,'' which is the right way to do it. And in the end? PFF gives itself ... er, the WFT ... a "B+.''
APRIL 5: IDEAL VS. REAL: The Athletic is playing a fun NFL mock draft game: Who will the WFT's top pick be at 19 (in the third round ... vs. who is the "ideal pick.''
We'll do them a favor and rename the exercise, "Real Vs. Ideal.''
The Athletic says "the pick (is) Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky.''
And then says "the ideal pick (is) ... One of the top offensive linemen if they fall.''
Our view has long been that the NFC East champions don't need to "force'' a pick here ... but that yes, left at left tackle and linebacker is preferred. Davis would fulfill the latter; he's called "a 6-foot-4, 234-pound, three-down linebacker who ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.''
Left tackle? The Athletic is playing a bit loose with predictions by saying "one of the top linemen if''; that's not exactly a rock-solid prediction. Are we talking Sewell? Slater? Or Darrisaw, who we've connected to the WFT multiple times.
And the site waffles a bit more by adding, "Considering the draft’s depth at linebacker, Washington could wait and instead target TCU free safety Trevon Moehrig.''
So, that's a lot of "reals'' and a lot of "ideals,'' and yeah, it's probably a reminder that as we're about three weeks away from the draft now, there is still some narrowing down to be done by the media predictors.
APRIL 5: DARRISAW & A CORNER IN ROUND TWO? Matt Miller of 'The Draft Scout' projects Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw in the first round to Washington, a popular pick but in the second round -- he has a fresh name that hasn't been mentioned a whole lot -- Asante Samuel Jr., a cornerback from FSU.
APRIL 3: QB MOCKED TO WFT IN SECOND - We have discussed at great length in this space the idea of the Washington Football Team relying on veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ... but also using a "no-pressure'' approach to also landing another QB who might be the heir.
A QB. In the NFL Draft. In the second round, lessening the "pressure''?
According to ESPN’s Todd McShay latest mock draft, that's the move for coach Ron Rivera as his team will take Texas A&M’s QB Kellen Mond with their second-round pick.
It does fit. The new kid gets to transition into the NFL, doesn't have to play right away ... and Fitzpatrick gets "competition'' ... but he's still the man.
We don't know if Mond is the guy. But we know that he fits the general concept here.
APRIL 1: A WASHINGTON 7-ROUND MOCK: Some people like to do 7-round mock drafts for specific teams like the Washington Football Team. But CBSSports.com’s Chris Trapasso did it for the entire draft. Yep, all 253 picks.
In his mock, here’s how the WFT did:
First Round (No. 22): Florida WR Kadarius Toney, who would a fun new toy for this WFT offense.
Second Round (No. 51): Ohio State OL Wyatt Davis, who would provide immediate help to the WFT offensive line.
Third Round (No. 74): Washington Edge Joe Tryon, who would give the pass rush an additional weapon.
Third Round (No. 82): UCF DB Aaron Robinson, who has versatility at the corner position.
Fourth Round (No. 124): Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell, who is a speedster that can fit right into the offense.
Fifth Round (No. 164): Michigan LB Cameron McGrone, who gives the second level of the defense some valuable depth.
Seventh Round (No. 245): USC WR Tyler Vaughns, who produced consistently in college.
Seventh Round (No. 247): Memphis QB Brady White, who could be a quarterback of the future after a highly-productive career in college.
MARCH 31: Do-it-all LB from Kentucky sees stock rising : WFT is looking for a cover linebacker on the outside and an off-ball "MIKE" backer inside to groom for the near future as Jon Bostic's replacement. Multiple names should be in consideration for Washington when picking at No. 19.
Here's a new name fans should be keeping a close eye on. Jamin Davis from Kentucky.
Recently, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. mocked the former Wildcat to the Las Vegas Raiders at Pick No. 17.
"Get to know this name, because Davis is a big-time riser. When I sat down recently to watch his 2020 tape, I loved what I saw. He has tremendous range. He is physical. He can play inside or outside. He can cover and has some ball skills, including picking off three passes last season. Davis is the total package, and he could slot in at middle linebacker."
Davis excelled Wednesday in Lexington with 4.42 40 time to go with a 42" vertical and 11-foot broad jump. A heat-seeking missile than can play sideline to sideline, the 6-foot-4 linebacker racked up 102 total tackles in his final year with the teams,
Scouts are starting to believe Davis could be a top 20 prospect. Would he be a good fit for Washington?
MARCH 30: Consensus Four-Round Selection For WFT: WalterFootball.com has some interesting content on their site, putting together a four-round mock with both of their analysts weighing in and also featuring some reader mock projections as well.
Interestingly enough, Walter Football still refers to the team by their old name and logo. Whatever.
In the first-round at No. 19 overall, Washington was mocked to take versatile offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC, and the other analyst selected Jackson Carman, an offensive tackle from Clemson. That's as high as I've seen him mocked.
In Round 2 - Walter Football has the WFT taking LSU linebacker Jabril Cox, and the other selection is Kyle Trask, the QB prospect from Florida.
A pair of receivers (different ones) are mocked with the first third-round pick: Tylan Wallace from Oklahoma State and Rashod Bateman out of Minnesota.
The rest of the selections, including one more in the third and an interesting fourth-round choice is right here.
MARCH 29: THE TOP NINE: Now that the first major phase of free agency is over, what is the Washington Football Team looking at in terms of needs and priorities? We ranked them below entering April.
MARCH 28: A FULL WFT ONLY MOCK: Washington SI's Cole Thompson put together a seven-round WFT only mock draft with some interesting selections. Check out the selections below.
MARCH 28: A NEW DRAFT PLAN?: Following the additions of Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries, is wide receiver still a top need for WFT in the first-round? Washington SI breaks down why Ron Rivera and Co. should head in a different direction at pick No. 19.
MARCH 26: NFL DRAFT TRADE-A-PALOOZA: Two huge trades put the NFL on notice Friday afternoon. Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers jumped up to No. 3 with Miami, giving their next three first-round picks including No. 12 this year and a third-round pick this year.
An exorbitant cost for the 49ers to have no control over who they wind up with but about a month ago, we were told they were studying the quarterbacks extra hard and now they are in position.
The Philadelphia Eagles then traded out of the No. 6 spot with Miami who had dropped to No. 12, picking up Miami's 2022 first-round picks as part of the deal.
For Philadelphia, the message is that they're good with Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco unless a QB falls into its laps. For Tua & the Fish, it's still an uneasy marriage.
MARCH 23: MEL WITH ANOTHER MOCK: Mel Kiper Jr. has a new mock draft out and has Washington taking Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw, a popular projection in many mocks for the WFT.
Here's what Kiper said: "Washington is out of the range for the top quarterbacks in this class, so this pick is tough to predict. I do like what coach Ron Rivera and new general manager Martin Mayhew have done in free agency, adding a top cornerback in William Jackson III, an underutilized wideout in Curtis Samuel and a perfectly capable stopgap quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick. There's still a gaping hole at left tackle, though, and Darrisaw could fill it. He had a tremendous 2020 season, and he is a stellar all-around blocker."
MARCH 21: ANOTHER LINEBACKER AT NO. 19: A different linebacker this time mocked to the WFT by NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. It's Zaven Collins from Tulsa, a big athletic, versatile 'backer who can play inside and outside.
MARCH 20: WFT LANDS A LINEBACKER STUD: In Joe Marino's post first week of free agency mock, he has the Washington Football Team landing their stud linebacker in Micah Parsons from Penn State.
That should make WFT fans 'happy' to get a player of need out of 'Happy Valley' with corner, QB and receiver knocked out via free agency.
As TheDraftNetwork.com notes, "he features the terrific size, physicality, instincts, and athleticism to be the next elite linebacker under Ron Rivera."
Fun side note: Parsons' social-media feed has made it clear he's kind of a Dallas Cowboys fan. But the WFT, if he falls to No. 19, will be "happy'' to change his mind.
MARCH 14: TRADE UP FOR FIELDS? It's getting to be a popular concept - no matter the target.
SI's NFL Draft Bible has engineered a mock trade that looks like this:
Pick No. 14: Washington Football Team from Minnesota Vikings: Justin Fields: QB, Ohio State
Details: Washington Football Team Get: 2021 1st Round (#14)
Vikings Get: 2021 (#19), 3rd Round (#82)
Many draft experts are going to see one problem here: the notion of Fields lasting until the 14th pick.
MARCH 8: Everyone knows the WFT are hunting for their QB of the future. We just don't know how they land that target. In the latest ProFootballFocus.com (PFF) mock - they make a big jump for .....Mac Jones!
A projected trade from No. 19 to No. 12 with ol' pal Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers. PFF doesn't spell out the terms but it's probably a second or the third-round pick the Niners gave to Washington for Trent Williams last April.
PFF notes: "Jones has the short-area accuracy and ability to make timing throws that will greatly benefit wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Jones' 84.2% adjusted completion percentage (accounting for drops, batted passes and throwaways) was the highest in the class."
Campbell, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, would give WFT a potential shutdown corner that could bolster the back end of its defense.
WFT ended up three more players in this mock. In the second round (No. 51 overall), it ended up with LSU linebacker Jabril Cox, who won national championships at FCS power North Dakota State before transferring to the Tigers for the 2020 season.
In the third round, Washington used its No. 74 overall pick, acquired from San Francisco, to take some offensive line help in the person of Cincinnati’s James Hudson III.
MARCH 1: 'THE NEXT TRENT WILLIAMS'? Our folks at SI's "NFL Draft Bible'' have a vision ... that takes the Washington Football Team to when Trent Williams was here ... and moves the WFT forward with the selection of Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas. They write:
"Life after Trent Williams was unspectacular in 2020, as most could have predicted. An upgrade is needed and painfully obvious. Cosmi has all the tools to develop into a notable blindside protector early in his career. Length, athleticism, experience - it’s all there for Cosmi to thrive.''
We hear mixed reviews on the 6-7, 310-pound Cosmi, but if there is a way to mine this draft for anybody who can come close to what Williams was? A viable idea.
FEB 25: IS A CB A NEED? WalterFootball.com says it'll be Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia, at No. 19.
For this to happen, the NFL Draft needs to fall a certain way (where did all the QBs go?) and the WFT needs to agree with the website's logic about making a strength stronger.
The WFT has an "elite defensive line,'' the site writes, "which helps the secondary. Can you imagine how potent the defense would be with superior cornerback play?''
Campbell has a long frame at 6-2, 180 and a physical style of play. And yes, he would figure to help strengthen a strength.
FEB 24: NEW NAME AT QB? You've seen a lot of names mocked to WFT at No. 19. Here's a familiar position ... but a name that falls in a different order.
The San Diego Union Tribune mocks Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State, to Washington.
"I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Taylor Heinicke isn’t the quarterback of the future for the Football Team. A showcase game against Central Arkansas didn’t really do Lance’s draft stock any favors, but there’s too much arm talent and playmaking ability to deny here. The measurables check every box. It wouldn’t be shocking if he is selected much higher.''
There are valid points in there. The conflict? We're hearing that the top five QBs are all going to go so high that WFT has very little chance of nabbing one at 19. But ... maybe.
FEB 22: STOLEN? Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is a name often mocked to WFT at No. 19. But ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum said Monday on “Get Up” that Jones might not even last beyond the No. 8 pick.
Who holds No. 8? Ron Rivera's old friends in Carolina.
Tannenbaum, a former NFL GM, said Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is a fan of Jones. Additionally, of course, Carolina's QB search includes probes into a trade for Houston's Deshaun Watson - at a price, by the way, WFT seems unwilling to pay.
Jones might be just the fifth-best quarterback prospect in the 2021 draft. But the names could fly off the board fast in the late April NFL Draft, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance flying off the shelf ... and with five QBs going in the first eight slots.
FEB 16: BEEF UP Pick No. 19, according to the latest from NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock? It’s Christian Darrisaw, the offensive tackle from Virginia Tech. The NFL.com thinking? “Washington is going to address the quarterback position one way or another. I'm guessing the Football Team goes with a veteran addition to free them up to upgrade the offensive line with this pick.”
FEB 15: New ProFootballFocus (PFF) Mock Draft - With the No. 19 overall pick, the WFT selects South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn, per PFF's latest.
Says PFF: "Horn's combination of athleticism and physicality is rare for the cornerback position. He allowed just eight catches from 24 targets for 116 yards in the seven games he played in 2020."
In this mock, the first four picks are quarterbacks, including the Eagles jumping up to No. 3 with Miami to grab Justin Fields from Ohio State.
FEB 11: 3 TRADES, 3 QB’S "With Alex Smith, Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke, Washington has several short-term options at quarterback,'' writes draft analyst Dane Brugler at The Athletic. "But Lance would give the organization a young, high-upside player with the physical talent and football character that translates well to the pro level. With the competition for quarterbacks in this draft, it will likely take multiple draft picks, including a future first, to make this deal happen for Washington.''
So, Brugler's proposal for WFT to move from 19 to 7 ...
Washington Football Team receives:
2021 first-round pick (No. 7 overall)
Detroit Lions receive:
2021 first-round pick (No. 19 overall)
2021 third-round pick (No. 82 overall)
2022 first-round pick
And the prize is Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State.
Dane has trades galore in here - QB trades galore, as his WFT is one of three first-round moves for QBs.
FEB 10: IT'S UNANIMOUS Florida’s Kadarius Toney is apparently somebody we all need to get to know, given that a whole bunch of mock guys are going there with the 19th pick.
In their latest mock drafts, as noted by The Athetic, ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. tabbed Toney at 19. So did NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah. Anyone else? Yes, my and The Athletic's Ben Standig.
Toney's numbers make the idea work; he caught 70 balls for 1,145 yards and 11 TDs. And in terms of the 5-11, 194-pounder filling a need? Well, you already know the answer to that.
FEB 8: 3-ROUND MOCK AND TRADE NFL.com has produced a new three-round mock draft ... and it's produced some interesting results for Washington.
First comes a first-round trade-up from 19 to Minnesota's spot at 14 to get 'Bama QB Mac Jones. (NFL.com writes, "To beat out competitors for Jones, such as the Patriots and Saints, new GM Martin Mayhew might need to give up a second-round pick in this draft and the next to move up.)
And then comes a third-round pick, the result of another trade, netting WFT slot No. ... from Carolina, netting Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers. The 5-10 Rodgers played four years of college ball and as a senior caught 77 passes for seven TDs and over 1,000 yards.
Our thoughts? In terms of "filling needs,'' the selection of a QB and a receiver fit the bill. But ... while part of the fun of mock drafting is predicting trades, it's a bit early to think Washington has given a great deal of thought to two trades in three rounds netting two premium prospects.
FEB 4: MAC JONES TO WFT? Mac Jones was a Heisman Trophy finalist and a success in the College Football Playoffs National Championship. Could he also be a QB taken at the No. 19 overall pick?
In NFL Network draft insider Bucky Brooks' latest mock, Jones is projected to be selected by the Washington Football Team at 19th overall.
Writes Brooks: "Washington is still searching for a long-term answer under center. Jones is a pinpoint pocket-passer with the intangibles and leadership skills to act as Ron Rivera's top lieutenant for a team on the rise.”
That sounds promising, as do Jones' numbers: This year with the Crimson Tide, he threw 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns and had just four interceptions in 12 games.
READ MORE: WFT Hints - No Trade For Deshaun?
If WFT is high on Jones (6-3, 214), they can obviously, in their minds, afford to not overpay at QB in terms of a big-money veteran trade.
MONDAY JAN 25: 2 ON O Our friend Dane Brugler has produced his latest two-round NFL Mock Draft ... and he hands the WFT two players ... on offense.
At No. 19, Dane gives the Washington Football Team ... Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/G, USC. Brugler's thoughts: Although Cornelius Lucas played above expectations this season, left tackle is a position Washington will consider upgrading. Vera-Tucker was graded as a second-round guard before the season, but he moved to left tackle and played at a high level, boosting his draft grade.
At No. 51, he projects Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU. Dane just released his top 100 prospects in the 2021 class and Marshall came in at No. 44 overall, with a comp being Denver's Courtland Sutton.
SUNDAY, JAN. 24: POSTINS ON SENIOR BOWL WFT, along with the rest of the NFL, should descend on the Senior Bowl, still expected to be played on Jan. 30 in Mobile, Alabama. The run-up to the game will surely be different, in terms of COVID-19 protocols. But, the WFT will be plugged in, looking at dozens of players that could be potential draft picks in April.
In fact, with the NFL Scouting Combine now basically canceled, the Senior Bowl may be the last chance NFL scouts get to get real, in-person face time with dozens of potential draft picks in one place before the draft.
Who do I think is worth watching - especially if I've seen the prospect play in person? Here are five players to keep an eye on this week in Mobile. (And by the way, Washington Football at SI has virtual credentials to the Senior Bowl, so keep us dialed up here!)
DB Tre Brown, Oklahoma: Brown is not likely to be a first-round pick. But he'd be a big-play guy for WFT. I’ve had the chance to see the Sooner in person several times throughout his college career, and his game has grown nicely during his time in Norman. But he showed a knack for making big plays at key times, especially in Big 12 Championship games. He wrapped up his OU career with a game-ending interception of Iowa State’s Brock Purdy.
He’s on the small side (5-foot-10), but he has 4.5 speed and is considered a Top 20 corner in this draft, which means he could be had in the fourth round. That’s good value,
LB Jabril Cox, LSU: I saw Cox when he played at North Dakota State (he transferred to LSU before the 2020 season) and even then he was already primed for the NFL. At 6-foot-3, 229 pounds, he may be undersized. But he proved this year at LSU that he can make plays at the Power 5 level, and I’m betting he can do the same in the NFL. He’ll probably cost a second-round pick.
DL Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina: The 6-foot-2, 260-pound edge rusher from the little-known Sun Belt Conference school impressed everyone this year while the Chanticleers were trying to worm their way into the College Football Playoff. The Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year had 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2020.
Some scouts will downgrade him for not playing at a Power 5 school. Watch the film. The guy can make plays. And he won’t cost you a first-round pick, either. Does WFT have enough pass-rushers? Or is there any such thing as "enough'' in that department?
OL Alex Leatherwood, Alabama: Leatherwood projects as a Top 100 player in this draft, but he’s not going to end up going the first round. He can play guard or tackle, and taking Leatherwood in the third round doesn’t feel like a stretch.
OL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater: A Division III prospect that I’ve seen in person a couple of times. Division III deferred its season to the spring, and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference canceled football entirely, so that allowed Meinerz to prepare to impress scouts this week in Mobile. He’s still a developmental player at the NFL level, but he has all the raw materials you’re looking for to take a late-draft flier, or even snag as an undrafted free agent. - Matthew Postins