The Washington Redskins have the most coveted spot in the 2020 NFL Draft.
I am not counting the first-overall pick, currently held by the Cincinnati Bengals, because that selection is all but set in stone. Washington, however, is on the clock immediately after and its decision is not only unknown but perhaps up for grabs — a situation that got more interesting Monday.
The Redskins made a fifth-round shuffle by trading for Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen in exchange for that late-round selection and later sending cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the Seattle Seahawks for a fifth-round pick.
The moves seem subtle but do hold importance.
Allen is reunited with head coach Ron Rivera. When Rivera switched quarterbacks in Carolina last season due to Cam Newton's injury, Allen went 4-0 in his first four games as a starter. He eventually cooled down, but the streak showed some promise, at least for a priority developmental back up.
Dunbar’s move is a lot more interesting. He became a full-time starter last season and nabbed career-high four interceptions in 11 games. It was reported Dunbar was unhappy and either wanted a new contract or wanted out; the Redskins chose the latter.
The move leaves Washington in a need to acquire more cornerback talent. It signed Kendall Fuller to a four-year, $40 million deal. The move is a homecoming for Fuller, who was part of the trade to Kansas City for quarterback Alex Smith years ago. Fuller gives the Redskins some secondary versatility; he can play cornerback and free safety. But outside of Fuller, Washington’s slated starters at cornerback are Fabian Moreau on the outside and Jimmy Moreland in the nickel. Moreland is a developing nickel player but due to his size, even if he plays well, he won't be able to move outside.
Cornerback now becomes a much greater need for Washington with Dunbar gone, and there happens to be a very good cornerback who it could take at the top of the draft class: Ohio State's Jeffrey Okudah.
Okudah was one of the most highly regarded players in this year's class before the season began, and his 2019 year did not disappoint. He didn’t give up a single touchdown in coverage last season and allowed just six catches all year for a collective of 106 yards. Okudah’s forced incompletions were nearly double his completions allowed.
He has been considered a top-five pick for a while now, but with Dunbar's departure, he could go as high as No. 2. However, doing so would mean Washington would prioritize its new cornerback over a player like Chase Young. Though the Redskins' need in the secondary is greater than their need along the line, Young is seen by many as the best player available in this draft.
Young is still likely the top player on Washington’s draft board. For a coach like Rivera, who has seen what great pass rusher can do to a defense first hand, the idea of him passing on Young for Okudah at No. 2 is unlikely. However, with the cornerback need is a higher priority. Perhaps the Redskins could be more willing to move down in the draft, say to pick five or six in a trade down with Miami or Los Angeles — which would be moving up to No. 2 for a quarterback — knowing they wouldn't have the chance to get Young but content with the idea of picking Okudah in the middle of the top 10. As it stands right now, following the second-overall selection, the Redskins don't pick again until No. 66 at the top of the third round. Could top-50 picks and Jeffrey Okudah be an idea worth pursuing?
Regardless of whether or not they end up picking Okudah, the Dunbar move does open the possibilities in a handful of ways for Washington at the top of the draft.