Well, the Washington Football Team has done a great job of not leaking who they would like to pick number 1 overall with their 19th pick in the first round. If they go for the best player available, which is subjective, they could be waiting to see who is picked before them.
Last year’s draft paid dividends immediately with choosing an impact defensive lineman extraordinaire in defensive end Chase Young from Ohio State with the first pick, and then with subsequent picks the WFT added other impact players like running back Antonio Gibson and safety Kam Curl. The net result in year 1 of the Ron Rivera team was a first place finish in the NFC East to shock all of football, though little credit was given due to a weak east division.
When the offseason started, Rivera kept going with team president Jason Wright and they have rebuilt the Washington Football Team’s front office with the hirings of Martin Mayhew, Marty Hurney, Eric Stokes and Chris Polian in a high-priced front office that reportedly was all signed off by Rivera. We know Hurney was Rivera’s guy and Mayhew is a solid football mind. Can they all work harmoniously where there aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen.
As we know, everyone has opinions, and everyone has to come together on the picks. Who ultimately has the power in the end is the unknown. You certainly do not want owner Dan Snyder making any decisions on player personnel, but Dan was the one who hand-picked Rivera for the job to be his coach and reshape his franchise.
While the team is sticking with the Washington Football Team name, the team is really defined by the successes and failures, and it seems to be a new day in D.C. The team added Ryan Fitzpatrick to their quarterback depth in free agency.
“This team,” Fitzpatrick said, “there’s a lot of optimism, and there’s some good juju in the building.”
Fitz began his career out of Harvard with the St. Louis Rams in 2005 at about the time that the Washington Nationals came into existence. That’s a long time again. A 16 year football career for Fitzpatrick with no postseasons. But he also played on many dreadful teams. Taylor Heinicke from the 2020-2021 WFT team already has a postseason résumé. These two quarterbacks are separated by a decade. Fitzpatrick is 38 and Heinicke is a spry 28.
A source tells us that Fitzpatrick is setting his roots in D.C. and just purchased a custom home in McLean for just under $3 million this week. The 6 bedroom home on just over 2 acres shows his commitment. But he is only under contract for 1-year. He has a $10 million base deal with another $2 million in incentives, but the kid who went to Harvard is also a shrewd investor. Why rent for $10,000 a month?
So who knows how long Heinicke and Fitz will be in Coach Rivera’s plans. Would the team use their first round pick for a quarterback? The team also signed wide receiver Curtis Samuel and cornerback William Jackson in free agency to fill some gaping holes. Plus the team this week made a great deal to acquire offensive lineman Ereck Flowers in a trade where the Dolphins ate $6 million of his deal.
Earlier in the year, Rivera said he wanted to add key free agents to fill holes, and that would allow them to draft from best player available.
“I think [we are] looking for position flex guys, guys that can play more than one spot, because today’s game does ask that,” Rivera said. “A lot of it has to do with football intelligence.”Washington Post
That might sound like a Sean McVay quote, but coaches are looking for that flexibility especially to move linemen around in a plug and play situation.
This draft has several players who fit that “flex” description in the first few rounds of the draft. Or will the WFT go for a playmaker at No. 19?