The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinion of the team.
Ron Rivera hit a proverbial home run with his first draft pick as the head coach of the Washington Football Team.
Chase Young, selected second overall, exceeded expectations by making the Pro Bowl, earning Defensive Player of the Month in December and becoming the franchise's first Defensive Rookie of the Year. His game-changing plays, combined with his "crazy unusual" leadership, immediately made him one of the faces of a team on the rise.
Rivera's second swing will be with the No. 19 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he'll have a pair of new executives -- general manager Martin Mayhew and executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney -- helping him make that decision. They'll aim to add another valuable piece to help build a consistent winner.
In anticipation for that selection, which will be made April 29, Washingtonfootball.com will highlight one mock draft from a notable draft expert each week and delve into how that player would fit with Washington. Here are the analysts who have been highlighted over the past month:
Next up is former NFL general manager and current ESPN NFL Front Office Insider Mike Tannenbaum.
Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
While opponents try and find offensive linemen to contain reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young, the Washington Football Team could add one of their own by drafting Michigan tackle Jalen Mayfield.
"Yes, Washington needs a left tackle, and yes, Mayfield played on the right side at Michigan. But he could certainly transition, or perhaps Morgan Moses slides over to the left side where he has 400-plus career snaps," Tannenbaum wrote in his mock draft April 6. "Either way, Mayfield is a stout run-blocker who would help shore up the unit."
The 6-foot-5, 326-pound Mayfield held his own against Young when Michigan played Ohio State in 2019. When Young lined up on the right side, the Wolverines consistently provided help. But when Young set up opposite Mayfield, they trusted the true sophomore to do his job.
Mayfield stonewalled Young and plenty of other talented pass-rushers in 2019 en route to earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. He had much greater expectations entering this past season, but an ankle injury limited him to just two games.
Still, Mayfield is widely seen as a first-round prospect and one of the best offensive linemen in the class. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah ranked him 27th in his latest top 50 prospects, describing him as an all-around blocker who plays with strength and balance. "Overall, Mayfield doesn't have elite foot quickness," Jeremiah said, "but he's very consistent on tape and looks like a Day 1 starting right tackle."
Therein lies one of Washington's decision when it comes to Mayfield. The team needs a left tackle and could use a left guard, but it's set at right tackle. Moses has not missed a game there since becoming the full-time starter in 2015.
Moses filled in admirably during his short time at left tackle last fall, but the camaraderie between he, right guard Brandon Scherff and center Chase Roullier might not be something the coaches want to disrupt unless absolutely necessary.
That leaves the possibility of Mayfield moving to left tackle -- a position he played for the first three games of his career -- or sliding inside to guard. If Washington is considering taking Mayfield 19th overall, that likely means he can make either transition, which would not be a surprise considering his athleticism and room for development. Plus, John Matsko is viewed as one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL. If he sees potential in Mayfield, he'll find a way to get the most out of him.
When looking at who draft experts think Washington will take in the first round, two positions stand out: tackle and linebacker. Should it choose to address the offensive line, Mayfield seems like a worthwhile option.
"Washington needs to find a left tackle and, truth be told, the best options on that front are off the board already," the MMQB's Albert Breer wrote in his first mock draft March 25. "With Mayfield and Teven Jenkins still there, Washington goes with the more athletic option here (Mayfield did as good a job blocking WFT star Chase Young as anyone in the Big Ten in 2019) to shore up its Trent Williams-sized hole."