The Washington Football team will, at least at the time of writing, take their first player in the 2021 NFL Draft with the 19th pick. Looking at the last 10 drafts, there have been players that have produced at elite levels, but there have also been a couple of disappointments. One word that comes to mind with the 19th pick over the last 10 years is "stability."
Let's take a look at the last 10 players selected with the 19th pick and how they performed for the team that drafted them over the course of their rookie contract:
2020: Damon Arnette, Cornerback, Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders were in need of some serious help at the cornerback position heading into the 2020 season. That need is what prompted Las Vegas to attempt to bring in veteran cornerback Eli Apple until the contract fell through. As such, they turned towards the draft to fill the hole.
Arnette was the Raiders' choice, however, Arnette would end up starting just seven games for Las Vegas in his rookie season and finished with a Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade of 41.7, well below average for his position.
However, little is known about what Arnette is capable of due to injury and lack of consistent play in 2020. It is too early to call him a draft "bust" but 2021 will be a prove-it year for the Ohio State Buckeye.
2019: Jeffery Simmons, Defensive Tackle, Tennessee Titans
Much like Arnette, Simmons had a slow launch to his career during his rookie season in which he also started in just seven games. However, Simmons' sophomore campaign was excellent and he solidified himself as one of the best players on the Titans line, as well as the NFL.
His PFF grade of 81.9 in 2020 was among some of the best in the league at his position. It took him a season, but Simmons is the exact type of talent that a team like Washington hopes to find with the 19th pick.
2018: Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys
Vander Esch had a brilliant rookie season in which he played in all 16 games and started in 11 of them. He burst onto the scene for the Cowboys and it looked like the franchise had not only found their linebacker of the future but a potential defensive superstar.
However, in his subsequent seasons, Vander Esch has had trouble staying on the field due to injuries and health, and therefore has been unable to produce at a consistent level. Vander Esch represents the potential talent a team should target with the 19th pick, but the player also has to remain healthy to justify the pick.
2017: O.J. Howard, Tight End, Tampa Bay
Howard is not exactly the "pinnacle" of consistency, but he does have the talent to be one of the best tight ends in the NFL. His rookie campaign was less than impressive, but he still secured 432 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.
The tight end then had a breakthrough season in 2018, seemingly gaining chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston, and he was able to rack up 565 yards and 5 touchdowns.
However, in 2020, despite Tom Brady's arrival, Howard was able to play in just four games, only one of which he started due to an Achilles tendon injury. He still has something to prove entering his fifth season, but the talent is there.
2016: Shaq Lawson, Defensive End, Buffalo Bills
Lawson spent his first four seasons with the Bills and spent last season with the Miami Dolphins. Lawson has now been traded to the Houston Texans where he believes his skillset will fit well in the Houston Texans 4-3 scheme.
However, he can win as a run defender on the edge and has only amassed 20.5 sacks in five seasons. He has not thrived in previous systems which have made his game one dimensional. He was not a fit with the Bills and it goes to show that sometimes the "best player available" may not always be the best fit for the team.
2015: Cameron Erving, O-line, Cleveland Browns
Erving has just signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers for the 2021 season, which marks his fourth team in just six seasons. The offensive lineman never found a place to call home, whether it be on the line or a franchise, as he has started a game in all five positions on the offensive line.
The Browns, who drafted Erving, experienced just two years of production from the Florida State product who has provided veteran leadership to every team he has been on which include the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and of course the Browns. However, a team isn't looking to use their 19th overall pick on a player that one day turns into just a "veteran presence" for another team.
2014: Ja'Wuan Amir James, Tackle, Miami Dolphins
James has been an average to slightly above-average tackle his entire career. He started in all 16 games his rookie season for the Dolphins and since then he has only developed further. His fifth-year option was picked up by Miami, signaling what they saw in him, and then was signed by the Denver Broncos in free agency in 2019.
The feel good story ends there. Since his arrival in Denver his commitment to the team and even the sport have left some wondering if his heart is really in it? There was even speculation of him being cut by Denver this offseason. Either way, it was a good draft pick for Miami, but a nightmare free agency signing for Denver.
2013: Justin Pugh, Tackle, New York Giants
Pugh might just be the best pick with the 19th pick in the NFL Draft, at least those included in this list. Pugh, other than 2017-2018, has started in more than 14 games a season. Additionally, Pugh has been one of the better players at his position and he has done it over multiple seasons. This is the exact type of player Washington will strive to find in the 2021 NFL Draft.
2012: Shea McClellin, Defensive End, Chicago Bears
If you haven't heard of McClellin, don't beat yourself up. He started in exactly zero games his rookie year, was eventually signed by the New England Patriots to a three-year contract in 2016, and then never played a snap again after the 2016 season.
McClellin is the first true "bust" on this list.
2011: Prince Amukamara, Cornerback, New York Giants
Amukamara had a fine career. He became a Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants in 2011, and played for eight seasons in the NFL, longer than most.
Amukamara saw a revival of his career with the Bears when he signed a one-year deal in 2017 and eventually another three-year extension the following offseason. He played a key part in the vaunted Bears defense during that time and he can comfortably go down as a solid choice with the 19th pick by the Giants.