ASHBURN -- The Washington Football Team hasn't sustained consistent success as a franchise since the turn of the 21st century. One of the marquee reasons is due to the inefficiency of selections in the NFL Draft.
Early picks on Day 1 and 2 are areas teams are expected to hit. Looking back at names such as Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Chase Young, Brandon Scherff, Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson ring a bell.
They've also struck on some seventh-round picks, far from the easiest thing to do.
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However, the history under Ron Rivera's first season might be a sign of the group that's headed to D.C. is trending towards the right direction.
Washington selected three players that all could help and have a decent to outside shot at making the initial 53-man roster.
Dax Milne, a receiver from BYU, was the last pick and second to last in the entire draft.
Before that, it was Shaka Toney from Penn State and Will Bradley-King from Baylor, two defensive ends expected to contribute in the pass rush.
Here's the info you'll want to keep in the back of your mind when looking back at Rivera's tenure: James Smith-Williams and Kamren Curl, both 2020 seventh-round picks. made the roster for a full 16 game season.
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Jimmy Moreland, the 2019 seventh-rounder, made the roster as well and contributed right away as a part-time starter. Jordan Brailford, the other, initially was put on the injured reserve list and then waived before quickly rejoining the practice squad.
In 2018 Greg Stroman and Trey Quinn were also selected in the seventh-round both made the initial 53 and hung around, with Quinn's role expanding in 2019 as the team's No. 4 target. Josh Harvey-Clemons and Joshua Holsey both made the 53-man out of camp in 2017.
Harvey-Clemons still is on the roster due to his special-teams skills.
Understand the big picture yet?
In the last four drafts spanning prior to April, a whopping seven seventh round picks made the initial 53-man roster for the WFT of the eight selected.
It goes without saying that each of the picks have an uphill climb and it's more likely that each winds up on the practice squad or elsewhere as opposed to the Week 1 roster. For now, no scenario should be eliminated.
The main reason? Injuries could shake things up on the defensive line or the receiver group.
WFT drafted Dyami Brown in the third round along with adding Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries. That means that Milne has a battle ahead of him, but it's also clear that in addition to injuries being a concern.
WFT coach Rivera and his staff could be moving on from Steven Sims Jr., Antonio Gandy-Golden and possibly Cam Sims and Kelvin Harmon as well. Depending on how many receivers Washington elects to keep, Milne will likely need to be beat out three pass-catchers; if not four when all said and done.
On the defensive line, Washington has upside, but keep in mind that Ryan Anderson is gone to the Giants. Veteran Ryan Kerrigan is unlikely to come back and WFT let go of Caleb Brantley this offseason.
We expect at least one of the two, Toney or Bradley-King, will likely make the opening 53 with possibly the other, landing on the practice squad. As for Miline, who knows? Maybe a Julian Edelman 2.0 is emerging for the offense in Landover.
But for certain, seventh-round guys can work … because they already have.