Fri, 25 Jun 2021

2021 NFL Draft Grades: Experts Applaud Washington's 10-Player Class

Washington Redskins
03 May 2021, 17:03 GMT+10

Kyle Stackpole

The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinion of the team.

The 2021 NFL Draft is officially in the books with the Washington Football Team adding 10 players to its roster from first-round linebacker Jamin Davis to late seventh-round wide receiver Dax Milne. (Learn about every draft pick, HERE.)

Here's how draft pundits graded the class:

Analysis: "Washington already had one of the best defenses in the league, and it upgraded the group even further with the first-round selection of Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis and the third-round selection of Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste. If veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can give Washington competent play at the most important position, this team will be right back in the mix for the NFC East title."

Analysis:

Day 1:Washington definitely had a need at linebacker, but Jamin Davis comes with significant projection. He ranks No. 41 on PFF's final Big Board but was impressive in his first season as a starter. On top of that, his workout numbers were phenomenal, and he flashed real talent in coverage, which has become the single most important trait in today's NFL. Linebacker is a tough position to play at the next level, and Davis has the tools to get it done. Day 2: Cosmi is easily one of the most athletic offensive tackles in this class. That athleticism, along with his size, is always going to interest teams. Cosmi also earned pass-blocking grades of at least 82.0 in three consecutive seasons as a starter at Texas. There are some things he'll have to clean up with his technique in the NFL, but there is a lot to like with his profile coming out of college. He should compete with several in-house options for the starting left tackle job in Washington. St-Juste brings a rare combination of length and change-of-direction ability at cornerback. The Minnesota cornerback is listed at 6-foot-3 with over an 80-inch wingspan, and his three-cone and short shuttle times both ranked in the 90th percentile or better at the position. You won't find many big cornerbacks who can move like that. St-Juste just isn't all that experienced (420 career coverage snaps) despite turning 24 years old in September. Ranked 45th on the PFF Big Board, Brown falls to 82 overall. Brown wasn't asked to fill a lot of roles at North Carolina, as he played left wide receiver almost every snap, but he's a great route runner and you can project that onto the more advanced route tree he will have to run at the next level. He fills out the Washington receiving corps nicely. Day 3:Darrick Forrest's athletic profile is certainly alluring -- he's fast and explosive, as his 39-inch vertical and 132-inch broad jump can attest. He was a consistent performer in his time at UC with PFF grades of 73.3, 73.4 and 76.1 in his three years playing in a major role.

Analysis: "This was a fun draft in Washington that ran the gamut. In a lot of ways, you have to respect their decision to take a playoff team from last year, double down on what they do well and let the quarterback situation take care of itself when the time is right.

"Samuel Cosmi might have been their best pick, and while he'll have some pressure with the left tackle vacancy hanging over his head, he's athletic enough to make up for the inevitable rookie jitters.

"Washington also ended up with Benjamin St-Juste, who was a favorite of many during the draft thanks to his backstory and origins in Canada. While players of that size can sometimes find themselves without a position, St-Juste looked more than adequate at cornerback and could be an ideal matchup piece in a division with playmakers of all shapes and sizes (but most notably, solid tight end play that could warrant a player like him stepping up)."

Analysis: "It's tough to poke holes in Washington's draft. Davis is a long and rangy playmaker who will make an already good defense that much better in 2021. Cosmi offers starting potential at left tackle. St-Juste has intriguing length at corner. And Brown is a tough-to-defend deep threat who should pair nicely with Ryan Fitzpatrick's YOLO style. There's no wow pick among this bunch, but Washington's class looks solid across the board."

Analysis: "Washington won the NFC East last season -- at 7-9 -- but it was because of a great defense (and poor division). It got poor quarterback play from a combination of Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins Jr., Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen. And the quarterback issue has loomed over its offseason. The team signed veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who can be fine in 2021, but would Washington try to trade up for one of the top five prospects in this class?

"No, as it turns out, as the Bears, who were a pick behind Washington, were the team to trade up. Washington instead went defense again in Round 1, taking linebacker Jamin Davis (19), a tackling machine with range in coverage. He's a great player, but I didn't see linebacker as an immediate need. Did the organization try to move up for Justin Fields or Mac Jones? We could remember this pick as the one that got away.

"Second-round pick Samuel Cosmi (51) could play tackle or guard, and Washington got good value there. Benjamin St-Juste is a long, 6-foot-3 press corner who gets a little handsy at times, but he could play a role as a rookie. I'm a big fan of Dyami Brown (82), who I thought might sneak into the top 40 picks. He can get down the field in a hurry on vertical routes and will make contested catches in traffic. Fitzpatrick will love him. Washington probably took tight end John Bates (124) a round too early, but he could find a role. I was surprised edge rusher Shaka Toney (246) lasted deep into Round 7. He's worth the flier there.

"This is one of the few teams in the league that has no idea who its long-term quarterback is, and that is something that lingers in the back of my mind as I grade this class. But I do like the players Washington chose the first two days."

Analysis: "This was a really mixed bag from the Washington Football Team. Selections such as Jamin Davis and Samuel Cosmi were ideal. However, those were then countered by reaches for Benjamin St-Juste and John Bates. Spending a sixth-rounder on a long snapper was a strange moment. Overall, this draft was good but not great."

Analysis: "Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew did a solid job to match Philadelphia's overall body of work. Davis will make a ton of plays for their defense and Cosmi will hold down left tackle well. They found more valuable depth and big-play potential across the board with the rest of their picks. The notable grade drop is being left out of the quarterback fun."

Analysis: "Coach Ron Rivera and his handpicked front office addressed big needs at LB and along the offensive line. First-round LB Jamin Davis could thrive while playing behind Washington's talented defensive line. Second-round T Samuel Cosmi came off the board a bit earlier than some draft analysts had projected but is a potential starter. Will Rivera regret not making a move for a QB on one of the draft's first two days? Signing Ryan Fitzpatrick was a stopgap measure, and there's no prospective long-term solution on the roster."

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