Our thought is that unless overwhelmingly sold on the talent, the Washington Football Team shouldn't be trading up for a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. Even then, giving the future away might not be worth what's in the present.
Four quarterbacks saw action in D.C. for Ron Rivera's first season. The hope is that veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick will see all 17 games — if not more in the postseason — for 2021. Still, the common thought with the 38-year-old is his role as being both a starter and a mentor for the "franchise quarterback" of tomorrow today. ...
If the WFT can find someone for him to mentor.
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It's clear what Fitzpatrick is at this point in his career. The same goes for Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen, both of whom have spent at least a season in coordinator Scott Turner's system. The trio can get you some wins, but can they get over the hump?
A combined 21 years of NFL experience has led to an 0-1 playoff run.
That's not enough to prove Washington is set for 2021. With "their guy" it could be for the long-term. The question is, who is Washington's "guy"?
It is in the first round? The second? Should the WFT be prepared to throw one dart ... somewhere ... in every round?
That's our thesis here.
Based off what the offense could be looking for, here's an option in each round Washington could be interested in for the next long-term starter.
ROUND 1: Trey Lance, North Dakota State
This is the only quarterback worth trading up for into the top 10. Even then, it's a huge risk with boom-bust potential written all over it. Still, Lance's final season in with the Bison showed he was accurate, precise and excelled in decision-making to help his team win the FCS title.
Forty-two total touchdowns against zero interceptions. Need we say more?
Lance is talented, but one year of production isn't enough to make him an NFL starter. Learning behind Fitzpatrick, the young gun can harness his poise with the release while also adapting to NFL defensive looks.
Washington might only make Lance "their guy" if he were to fall outside the top 10. It seems unlikely, but could he slip to 19?
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ROUND 2: Kyle Trask, Florida
Trask is a high IQ-based quarterback coming from Dan Mullen's system down in Gainesville. The production lived up in 2020 after coming in for Felipe Franks last season.
Most of Trask's success came with a clean pocket and a star-studded supporting cast to work after the catch. Few would describe his arm as pinpoint accurate and his lack of mobility makes him limited when things go haywire.
He's a project, but he could have upside should Washington focus on the keeping the offensive line as the x-factor.
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ROUND 3: Davis Mills, Stanford
Turner's system will be looking for a quarterback who can react quick and deliver a perfect strike. That's where Mills thrived best in Palo Alto. As a two-year starter, the former Cardinal can assess a situation early, connect downfield and have the confidence to throw on target.
The biggest area of concern? His quickness. Sometimes Mills will decide where the ball his headed without waiting for the play to unfold a second longer. That led to multiple turnovers during his time in college.
He has all the skills to be great, but learning the "dos" and "don'ts" of passing will be essential.
ROUND 4: Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
One look at Mond's arm strength shows he can extend plays deep downfield for massive gains in any system. The former Aggie also vastly understands the concepts needed to play at the next level.
Mond's biggest flaw is his growth. After being the starter for four seasons in College Station, there's just been flashes of the ultimate product. Was it coaching? Lack of weapons? Trust?
Mond's a risk no matter where he lands, but we wonder if his upside and pure strength could make him the next Dak Prescott.
ROUND 5: Sam Ehlinger, Texas
Ehlinger need to become better as an intermediate passer. His ability to evade pressure and use his legs will work at the next level. His overall arm strength will rely on pinpoint accuracy.
Fitzpatrick could teach the ropes of connecting for accuracy, but even then it might be just enough for a high-end backup.
ROUND 6: Ian Book, Notre Dame
From a leadership standpoint, Book might be the best quarterback in this class. He's gusty, though and is willing to put the team on his back. Sometimes, it's too much that leads to forced plays downfield in tight coverage.
Book might be the best of the late bunch, but he needs to improve on his touch and vision to be a quality name in the NFL.
ROUND 7: Feleipe Franks, Arkansas
The stereotypical quarterback with a great size and good arm strength, Franks fits most systems. While he looks the part of a quarterback, his accuracy and overall vision aren't up to par.
Franks has to get better at going through his progressions and delivering cleaner strikes. Still, off size alone, Rivera and Turner would have something to work with.
And that's the thesis here: Fitzpatrick as the master ... and a search for a worthy apprentice.
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