WFT Day 2 Plan: Land a LB or Target a TE?

The Washington Football Team will have to decide what direction they want to go with the No. 51 pick.
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Bearing a trade up into the top 10, the Washington Football Team likely will be staying put when on the clock at No. 19. Sure, they need a franchise quarterback, but they also have pressing short and long-term needs. 

There's a multitude of ways WFT can attack the first round. Should they add a franchise left tackle? How about a cover linebacker to help Jack Del Rio's scheme? Would a rangy free safety make the most sense?

At that point, Martin Mayhew and Co. should play the "BPA" approach. 

For all purposes, let's say they go offensive tackle. According to a multitude of mock drafts, WFT could be targeting Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw as the next blindside blocker in D.C. for over a decade. 

READ MORE: A Trade Up For Trey? What do the Expert Draft Analysts Say?

Attention now turns to pick No. 51, a slot where four major positions could be addressed. The question turns to what is the most important at the time. Unless Ron Rivera loves another quarterback, there isn't a solid option outside the top-five until Round 3. 

The additions of Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries push wide receiver woes back. And unless UCF's Richie Grant is on the board, the safety class can wait. 

This leaves linebacker and tight end as the top two needs. Which direction should Washington lean? 

Everything will be based on Washington's big board. After a multitude of mock draft simulators run on both Pro Football Network and The Draft Network, two names continue to be available when selecting. 

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth and LSU linebacker Jabril Cox. 

The good news for WFT? Both fit the scheme. 

READ MORE: NFL Draft Tracker: WFT Moves up for QB, but Only to No. 8

When looking at Freiermuth's skill set, he would factor under the term of a "stereotypical" tight end role. Willing to play with his hand in the dirt, the former Nittany Lion is used excessively as an extra blocker in the run game. 

That doesn't mean he's limited to playing as an in-line blocker. 

Freiermuth Has all the intangibles needed to be a top-tier receiving target. A good bend, quality hands, and overall route-running abilities help him win contested battles against safeties and linebackers in coverage. 

Last season, he averaged 13.8 yards per catch before a shoulder injury knocked him out for the remainder of the season. 

The question will be can he improve as a run blocker. Although used primarily in the role, Freiermuth can be caught leaning too heavily, forcing off-balanced strikes when delivering a punch. 

At the next level, he'll be asked to do more against outside linebackers and reaching the second level. Can he adjust? 

Cox is the ideal 4-3 "WILL" backer at the next level following his lone season with the Tigers. Prior to heading down to Baton Rouge, he was a national champion star-studded tackler for North Dakota State. 

READ MORE: Jabril Vs. Jamin: Which SEC Linebacker Should Washington Target In NFL Draft?

Explosive off the snap, Cox is better used on the outside to cut off the gaps in the run game. A heat-seeking missile looking for the kill, his pursuit to the ball allows him to level up on defenders and deliver a perfect strike. 

However, the cover skills are what will keep him prosperous. 

Stuck like glue to tight ends in man coverage, Cox will mirror his target before baiting the quarterback to throw his direction. In zone schemes, his speed will allow him to take swing routes from slot targets and running backs, watching passes head the other way in the form of an interception. 

For his career, Cox recorded 26 pass breakups and nine interceptions. 

This isn't to say Cox doesn't have flaws. When pushed inside, his reaction time won't allow him to work back out to the edge. The same could be said when biting too fast on cutbacks against the run. 

Can those skills be fixed? 

Logan Thomas was a breakout star in 2020. Is it a one-year wonder or the start of his success at tight end? Outside of the former quarterback, WFT's tight ends combined for three catches and 18 yards. 

Kevin Pierre-Louis was the starting WLB last season during the 7-9 run. He's now with the Houston Texans and the depth behind him is an issue. Although Josh Harvey-Clemons returns, he's a special teamer at this point. 

Both Cox and Freiermuth are ideal options in the second round. Both fit needs and could be immediate contributors at positions that have expanded their roles under Ron Rivera's system. 

Having both Freiermuth and Cox on the board at No. 51 looks problematic. 

Whichever player is higher on the board should be the pick. For Washington, the board is their friend at No. 51.

CONTINUE READING: Could a Top-Tier CB Fall To Washington at No. 19?