The Washington Football Team on paper might be the best roster in the NFC East. Bosses Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew upgraded at near every positional need entering free agency and doubled down in the NFL Draft.
One season and four quarterbacks after finishing 7-9, the hope is 2021 can be a resurgent year for WFT and Rivera. Additions like linebacker Jamin Davis, tackle Sam Cosmi and wide receiver Dyami Brown all should expand their roles as their rookie season moves on.
Again, on paper, Washington is ready to win. However, media scouts are wary of the status under center with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Can the 38-year-old journeyman finally get over the hump?
Whether he does or doesn't, scouts have already pegged WFT to select the hopeful franchise QB in 2022.
In the way-too-early 2022 NFL mock draft, The Athletic's Dane Brugler believes Washington will miss the playoffs, finishing second in the division, but ending up with the No. 10 pick. Staying in range for a top gunslinger, Brugler has Rivera adding Georgia's JT Daniels to the D.C. franchise.
"Georgia's inconsistencies last season can be tied to its issues at quarterback. But over the final few games with Daniels as the starter, the Bulldogs looked like a different team. If he continues to make positive strides he could put himself in the top half of Round 1."
Daniels, who transferred to Athens following losing out to Kedon Slovis at USC, started in four games for Kirby Smart's staff last season. Of the three signal-callers who played in 2020, Daniels far and away looked to be the most SEC-ready, throwing for 1,231 yards and 10 touchdowns against two interceptions.
In the Peach Bowl against Cincinnati, Daniels finished 26-of-38 passing for 392 yards and a touchdown on the way to a 24-21 victory.
Expectations are high for Georgia, who will be only team expected to contend for the SEC title that won't be replacing the games most influential position. Quarterback play has been the storyline for schools winning the championship in Atlanta, as evidenced by Mac Jones, Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.
Is Daniels the best fit for Washington come 2022?
Even if Daniels isn't the selection for WFT Round 1, the inclination is that Rivera and Co. will add a quarterback after the season. Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski has them taking Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder at No. 12. USA Today's Luke Easterling has Slovis from USC landing in Landover at No. 8.
PFN's Ian Cummings has Washington going with an upside Carson Strong from Nevada at No. 11 while CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson has Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler heading over at pick No. 8. Yahoo Sports' Derrick Klassen keeps the next face of the franchise close to home with the addition of Liberty's Malik Willis.
There's an emphasis on Washington failing to add a quarterback in the draft according to most scouts. Fitzpatrick won't likely get the job done long-term ... and WFT will have to find its next budding star early with a roster ready to win now.
No matter the outcome of 2021, WFT will probably need to find its franchise QB. Daniels or elsewhere, it makes sense that it would be the top priority entering next offseason.
CONTINUE READING: Rivera: Washington Will ‘Take A Shot’ At More Veteran NFL Free Agents