It is fair to say that the Washington Football Team is still looking for its franchise quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a fine bridge option, but at 38, don't expect him to remain in D.C. long-term. Do expect the WFT search to continue.
WFT coach Ron Rivera is adamant about giving playoff hero Taylor Heinicke the chance to compete for the job now. Some believe after nearly taking down the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay, he could have a Kurt Warner-type resurgence in the NFL.
But one game isn't enough to sell most analysts on the idea of Heinicke as the long-term fix, and that list of analysts includes USA Today's Luke Easterling via his recent mock draft.
Easterling has Washington landing the No. 12 pick next April. (Which would mark a concern all by itself.) Naturally, quarterback is the biggest concern for the franchise, making one of the top names a prime candidate to be selected.
In this mock, Easterling has three quarterbacks landing in the top handful, leaving Washington to select USC's Kedon Slovis.
Slovis, a two-year starter for the Trojans, has shown he can be a game-changer at the position against Pac 12 defenses. Last year, he finished with 1,921 passing yards and 17 touchdowns against seven interceptions in just six games.
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Overall, there's much to like about Slovis' potential. In 2020, he threw for over 250 in every start, including four games of 300-plus yards. His completion rating of 67 percent was one of the highest in the conference, as was his passer rating of 144.1.
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Perhaps the biggest knock on Slovis is his inconsistency when passing. His arm is effective when trying to deliver across the middle of the field on short passes. When looking to go deep, there are, some experts say, concerns with his arm strength.
If that can be improved, Washington could be landing a talented player with near perfect touch and accuracy when it comes to ball placement.
Easterling also has WFT selecting Iowa State's Charlie Kolar with the No. 44 pick of Round 2. Kolar, a highly-touted tight end prospect, played a vital role in the Cyclones success for 2020.
For the season, Kolar recorded 44 catches for 571 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 13.4 yards per catch. Veteran Logan Thomas is entering a contract season. Meanwhile fourth-round rookie John Bates feels more like a No. 2 option or a helper in 12-man personnel.
Naturally, Washington is hopeful of being out of 2022 draft range for Slovis and more so in range for a Lombardi Trophy. But if next year quarterback remains Washington's lone weakness, adding a talent Slovis might be enough to propel Rivera's squad to contention for years to come.
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