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The Aquilian

My take on the Washington Football Team’s draft picks

Washington Football Team Logo (Photo Credit: Washingtonpost)

After an eventful final game of last season, where the Washington Football Team went 7-9 for a playoff birth to lose to eventual Champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fans had a lot to look forward to for the 2021 season.  With the emergence of Chase Young, Montez Sweat, and Kam Curl, among others, the WFT team featured a top-five defense when completely healthy. 

What held back the team from success was inconsistency from the offensive side of the ball. With poor play from both Dwayne Haskins and the now-retired Alex Smith, the offense could not make a big enough impact on winning games. Despite the awe-inspiring performance of Taylor Heineke to push the eventual champions to near defeat, in the end, the WFT could not get past the indomitable Tom Brady and Tampa’s star-studded offense. 

After the season concluded, many saw this coming offseason as an opportunity to push the WFT to new heights that haven’t been reached in the past decade. Ron Rivera was now in the position to build up the team’s strength as a whole. With significant free agency additions of Curtis Samuel, William Jackson III, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the 2021 draft was the perfect opportunity to reload and strengthen the position of needs. 

Round 1: (Jamin Davis) 

Jamin Davis at Kentucky (Photo Credit: Lastwordonsports)

In the first round, at pick 19, the Washington Football Team selected Jamin Davis, a linebacker from Kentucky. Filling arguably the biggest hole on the team at linebacker, Jamin Davis is long, athletic, and an explosive tackler in the open field.

Despite the calls from fans to select Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Davis fits Ron Rivera’s and defensive coordinator Jack del Rio’s scheme in Washington. Although some may question his experience since he consistently played only just this last season, Davis offers speed, versatility, and coverage ability to a position that has lacked just those attributes these past few seasons. 

Joining a linebacker core of Cole Holcomb, John Bostic, and Khaleke Hudson, Davis has a serious opportunity to become a starter and excel behind one of the best defensive lines in the league. Some wonder how well Davis will adjust to the league. Still, given his potential and intangible abilities, Jamin Davis could become a star in Ron Rivera’s system, which has routinely created multiple pro-bowl linebackers. 


Round 2: (Samuel Cosmi)

In the second round, at pick 51, the Washington Football Team selected Samuel Cosmi, an offensive tackle from Texas. Cosmi is widely considered one of the best athletes in the draft, with mild concern over his positional blemishes. Rarely beat, he has allowed just one quarterback hit, one tackle for loss, and a sack in his final year with the Longhorns.

Samuel Cosmi at Texas vs. LSU (Photo Credit: Stampedeblue)

Cosmi is excellent in screen packages and play packages, which allow him to run in the open field—posting the fastest 40-yard dash from OTs at 4.84 seconds. Cosmi is one of the best athletes ever to play the position coming out of college and has more than enough potential to fill out and become a solid piece at LT this upcoming season.                       



Round 3: (Benjamin St-Juste / Dyami Brown) 

Benjamin St-Juste posted in coverage (Photo Credit: Hogshaven)

In the third round, the Washington Football team had two picks selecting Benjamin St-Juste at pick 74 and Dyami Brown at pick 82. Benjamin St-Juste is a cornerback from the Minnesota Gophers. With the addition of William Jackson III, cornerback has not deemed a massive need for the WFT. St-Juste is a great athlete standing 6-foot-3 with an 80-inch wingspan, and his three-cone and short shuttle times both ranked in the 90th percentile or better at the position. A cornerback of his size that moves as well as he does is rare. He is inexperienced, just playing around 420 snaps in 18 games at Minnesota. He is seen as more of a project player, but his intangibles are undeniable, and with the proper guidance, he could turn out to be a great cornerback. It is still unclear whether Ron Rivera views St-Juste as more of a safety or a true cornerback (considering how weak the WFT is at FS).  

Dyami Brown throwing up a peace sign vs. University of Miami (Photo Credit: Goheels)

Dyami Brown was arguably my favorite pick from this year’s draft. Many analysts thought Brown to be a second-round pick, an excellent route runner with speed to burn, posting a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. To acquire him at the end of the third is an excellent value that adds value to a young and improving receiving core with Terry Mclaurin and Curtis Samuel.

A big-play threat from the moment he is on the field fits newly acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick’s deep ball preference to a tee. There are some questions regarding whether he can handle a more complex route tree in the NFL, but Brown is an excellent addition to an improving offensive system. 


Round 4: (John Bates) 

John Bates at the Senior Bowl (Photo Credit: Boltsfromtheblue)

In the fourth round, the Washington Football Team selected John Bates, a tight end from Boise State, with the 124 pick. John Bates is a fast, robust tight end that Boise State did not correctly utilize. He has excellent speed for the position and has the size and athleticism to build into a capable blocker for the future (which is needed). With the emergence of Logan Thomas, there is no clear path for TE1, but Bates can fight for the backup position against recently signed Sammis Reyes. He is not a flashy pick but a needed one. 

Round 5: (Darrick Forrest)

Derrick Forrest issuing the field a no-fly-zone (Photo Credit: Hogshaven)

In the fifth round, the Washington Football Team selected Darrick Forrest, a safety from Cincinnati, at pick 163. Safety has been a position of need for the WFT, and this last season emphasized that point. Darrick Forrest was a productive member of Cincinnati’s defense, leading as team captain in his final year. 

Foster showed he could play in the box or deep and even cover some in the slot. Ron Rivera has typically enjoyed drafting players with multiple positional fits, and Forrest fits that description. Although some question whether he is physically capable of being a safety in the league, at the very least, he will be a productive special teamer. He had an excellent pro-day, leading some analysts to believe that he can compete for a starting safety position, especially given how weak WFT’s safety core is currently. 


Round 6: (Camaron Cheeseman) 

Camaron Cheeseman posted before a long snap (Photo Credit: Michigan. rivals)

In the sixth round, the Washington Football Team selected Camaron Cheesman, a long snapper from Michigan, at pick 225. With arguably one of the best last names in the NFL draft, Cheesman was a much-needed addition to the special teams unit. After the loss of veteran long snapper Nick Sundberg this offseason, this positional gap had to be addressed eventually. Although taking a long snapper in the sixth round will be frowned upon, filling a position of need is what Ron Rivera set out to do by selecting Cheeseman. The conscious best long snapper this year, Cheeseman will become the starting long snapper for years to come.  


Round 7: (William Bradley-King / Shaka Toney / Dax Milne)  

Wiliam Bradley-King posted up on the sideline (Photo Credit: Hogshaven)

In the seventh round, the Washington Football Team had three draft picks, selecting William Bradley-King at pick 240, Shaka Toney at pick 246, and Dax Milne at pick 258. William Bradley-King is a defensive end from Baylor University. After transferring after three years at Arkansas State, Bradley-King was considered a threat on the defensive line. Splitting through double teams, beating tackles on edge, he provided above-average play at the defensive end position in his lone season at Baylor. Although he will have to gain weight to match Washington’s 4-3 system, Bradley-King showed a quick first step and power to beat tackles. He would be required to play a minor role behind Chase Young and Montez Sweat, but a defensive end backup is just what was needed. 

Shaka Toney after sacking a Purdue QB Plummer (Photo Credit: Pennlive)

Shaka Toney is a defensive end/linebacker from Penn State. Many analysts viewed Toney as a 5th to 4th round prospect, and to pick him up late in seventh is good value. Toney played a variety of linebacker and defensive end at Penn State, recording five sacks in 2020. There is a significant need within Washington to build up depth around the defensive end position, and taking a gamble on Toney is well worth the risk. With a 4.55 second 40 yard dash, Toney is an excellent athlete who could bring stability behind Young and Sweat. 

Dax Milne laying out for a catch vs. UCF (Photo Credit: Deseret)

Finally, the last pick of the WFT draft was Dax Milne, a Wide receiver from BYU. The consensus number one receiver at BYU Milne was considered Zach Wilson’s favorite receiver. He caught 70 passes for 1,188 yards and eight touchdowns. Most likely, Milne will have to work for his spot on Washington’s offense, with the majority of his touches most likely coming from Special Teams. Milne is a good route runner who can lay out and make a play out of nothing. Whether he remains on the team is up to him, but I honestly believe he can positively impact this team. 


UDF: (Jaret Patterson)  *ONGOING*

Jaret Patterson evading defenders vs. Miami (Ohio) (Photo Credit: Buffalo News)

Jaret Patterson is the first undrafted free agent signing that the WFT has made thus far. Patterson is a running back coming out of the University of Buffalo. Patterson is a DMV native who is originally from Bowie, Maryland. He is best known for his eight-touchdown performance that saw him put up over 400 rushing yards in that game alone. Patterson has a serious chance of fighting for a roster spot for this upcoming season. His main competition lies in Lamar Miller and Peyton Barber (as of now). If there is any player that you may feel like rooting for this upcoming season, it should be Jaret Patterson.

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    Leslie KeiserMay 6, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks, Spencer. I learned a lot from your article.
    Sra. Keiser