5-Year-Old Draft Class Review: Has the Washington Football Team Improved?

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After an NFC East crown in 2020, hopes were high for a deeper playoff run in 2021.

But when Ryan Fitzpatrick fell in Game 1, pushing Taylor Heinicke back into the starting role, the offense struggled mightily. Gone was the quarterback experience the team needed and thought it had, and Heinicke’s unpredictable gunslinger style was back. Then neither unit lived up to expectations as the defense also faltered due to injuries and COVID outbreak among key players.

But it wasn’t all bad. While WFT management missed many of their draft picks, there were some bright spots. Let’s take a look at the Washington Football Team‘s last five draft classes and see where things stand looking back to 2021.

PROVISIONAL REVIEW 2021

1st round: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky — A disappointing draft pick at the time, Davis improved the middle of the defense. (Played 17 games, started 8)

Round 2: Samuel Cosmi, OL, Texas – His positional flexibility still makes him valuable to Washington and his future is bright. (8/8)

3rd round: Benjamin St-Juste, DB, Minnesota – A third-round pick should have an almost immediate impact on the field, but St-Juste didn’t do much to impress. (9/3)

Round 3: Dyami Brown, WR, NC — His rookie season hasn’t been impressive, and he’ll need to do more in a talent room if he wants to stay in Washington. (15/6)

Round 4: John Bates, TE, Boise State – His performance in 2021 solidified a spot on the roster. (17/8)

5th round: Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati – Played well enough to secure a spot as a reserve in the second half of the season. (8/0)

Round 6: Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan — Long snapper is still valuable and Cheeseman now has a lock there. (17/0)

Round 7: William Bradley-King, LB, Baylor — Was used in final games of the season as a COVID replacement and has yet to have an impact. (3/0)

Round 7: Shaka Toney, DE, Penn State – Added depth to the defensive line and recorded 1.5 sacks and eight tackles. (10/1)

Round 7: Dax Milne, WR, BYU — Earned trust with quarterback and coaching staff, should have a future in Washington. (13/1)

SUMMARY: With 10 picks, Washington hoped to make a splash, but no player stood out among them.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

TOTAL CHOICES

ten

8

ten

8

ten

CURRENT STARTERS

1

1

2

2

3

CURRENT BACKUPS

1

2

1

5

seven

ON OTHER TEAMS

3

2

5

0

0

TRAINING TEAM

0

0

1

1

0

OUT OF THE LEAGUE

5

3

1

0

0

wash away the joy
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Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke
hunt young
Terry McLaurin
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eh ny stretch
Antonio Gibson

DISTRIBUTION OVER 5 YEARS

Only eight of the 28 players Washington drafted from 2017-19 remain with the team, and that includes quarterback Dwayne Haskins picked 15and overall in 2019. Washington did itself a disservice with some bad picks leaving the league, but 10 players from those same drafts found success on other teams.

More recently, however, Washington has touched the ground with early-round picks in Chase Young, Antonio Gibson, Jamin Davis and John Bates.

Best choice : DE Chase Young, R1, 2020 — Young was Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 as Washington rose to a hard-to-find position for most clubs. A future league star.

Worst choice: QB Dwayne Haskins, R1, 2019 – It didn’t take long to realize that was a huge bust. A lack of preparation and maturity issues led Washington to drop Haskins after just one season.

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