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After Getting Its Guy In Round 1, Washington Looks Ahead To A Momentous Night 2

The 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland on April 29, 2021. (Alika Jenner/NFL)
The 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland on April 29, 2021. (Alika Jenner/NFL)

General Manager Martin Mayhew does not concern himself with the annual hoopla of the NFL Draft.

Ahead of the 2021 spectacle, Mayhew, in conjunction with head coach Ron Rivera and the rest of the Washington Football Team's revamped front office, came up with a list of "attractive" prospects, regardless of position, they thought would be available when the team picked 19th overall. Linebacker Jamin Davis was at the "very top" of that group, so Washington grabbed him with its first-round pick.

"He's what you look for in a football player," Rivera said.

With one of its favorite prospects bound for the nation's capital, Washington's brass is now preparing for a momentous Day 2 that includes the 51st overall pick and two third-round selections. Its three draft picks Friday night are the most since 2014, and the team has a plan to optimize that capital.

"There are several guys at several positions that we feel very good about," Rivera said Thursday night. "I know Martin and the scouts and Marty Hurney have stacked them very well. We were just looking at them before we came in and having a chance to be taken, if those stack the way they are, we'll feel really good about tomorrow."

When trying to figure out potential targets, it is worth listening back to Washington's pre-draft press conference when Mayhew mentioned the strength of the wide receivers and the linebackers in this class.

Five wideouts were chosen in Round 1, but plenty of talent still remains from North Carolina's Dyami Brown to Ole Miss' Elijah Moore, Purdue's Rondale Moore and LSU's Terrance Marshall. If Washington goes another direction in the second round, players like Amari Rodgers (Clemson), Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC), Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State), Nico Collins (Michigan), D'Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan) and Tutu Atwell (Louisville) could still be available when the team picks either 74th or 82nd.

As for the other side of the ball, Rivera said Davis had the most position flexibility of the linebackers Washington were looking at -- "he can play all of our linebacker positions" -- which figures to decrease the likelihood of the team doubling down on that spot on Day 2. But if it does further bolster the second level of its defense, some names to look out for are Nick Bolton of Missouri, LSU's Jabril Cox along with Ohio State's Baron Browning and Pete Werner.

Other perceived positions of need include, in no particular order, tackle, safety and tight end -- and there are projected first-round talents still on the board at each position in Oklahoma State's Tevin Jenkins, TCU's Trevon Moehrig and Penn State's Pat Freiermuth. But with Washington picking 19th on Friday, all three of them could be gone by the time it is back on the clock. In that case, the best available would be Samuel Cosmi and Liam Eichenberg (tackles), Richie Grant and Jevon Holland (safeties) and Brevin Jordan and Tommy Tremble (tight ends).

Neither Mayhew nor Rivera commented on any specific quarterbacks remaining, but Mayhew said there are some "very talented" options out there. However, Mayhew said the team will "listen to our board" it spent so much time working on before the draft and go from there. He also praised the players already on the roster.

"We feel great about Ryan [Fitzpatrick], Taylor [Heinicke], Steven Montez, we feel great about Kyle Allen. So, we have some talented quarterbacks here already, but there are some on the board as well."

Regardless of who Washington ends up taking Friday night, know that it is these prospects the team intends to build a sustainable, winning culture around. Mayhew believes in being "the best team you can be right now and giving yourself the opportunity to be the best you can be," and draft picks are a "very valuable" part of that. It is how teams become younger, faster, healthier, and, because of the salary cap, cheaper.

Mayhew and Rivera have made it clear that Washington intends to build through the draft while supplementing the roster through free agency and trades. That's how Washington will become better quickly, Mayhew believes, and Day 2 will provide more opportunities to invest in its future success.

"These guys are going to fit roles, they're going to play positions for us," Rivera said. "They aren't going to be the only reason why; they're going to be part of the reason why."

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