Washington's 2019 season was about as miserable as you could imagine.
Compared to some of the other teams who struggled in 2019, Washington wasn't expecting to be this low in the pecking order. The 2020 NFL Draft could serve as the catalyst of change under a new regime with coach Ron Rivera, but did Washington get its strategy right?
Washington's 2020 draft picks:
- No. 2: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
- No. 66: Antonio Gibson, RB, Memphis
- No. 108: Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU
- No. 142: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
- No. 156: Keith Ismael, IOL, San Diego State
- No. 162: Khaleke Hudson, S, Michigan
- No. 216: Kamren Curl, S, Arkansas
- No. 229: James Smith-Williams, EDGE, N.C. State
Best Pick: Chase Young
Sometimes the easiest picks are the best picks. That was exactly the case with Young at the second-overall selection. Young is a star in the making; it is very difficult to project him into anything other than an impact role at the professional level. Washington didn’t get cute with its opportunity. No trading down or drafting for need; Rivera just took the player that is head and shoulders above the rest.
Biggest Surprise: The Haul For Trent Williams
The standoff between offensive tackle Trent Williams and Washington concluded after a long and lengthy battle. Williams was traded to San Francisco for a 2020 fifth-round pick and a 2021 third-round pick. Ouch. Washington stubbornly held onto Williams for 12 months of wasted time and lost out on a ton of trade value as a result. The current regime had nothing to do with that sunk cost, but Washington got what it deserved on this front.
Day 3 Sleeper: Keith Ismael
Ismael was an enjoyable study this past season. He's nimble, athletic and has some potential to play either guard or center for the team. Washington elected to attack the trenches on both sides of the ball throughout the draft with four picks along the line of scrimmage. That's what good teams do when they need to turn things around.
X-Factor: Saahdiq Charles
Washington will need the high upside of Charles to come to life if it’s going to find a replacement for Williams. The good news? Charles has all the physical tools to get the job done. The bad news? He's not Trent Williams, at least not yet. The biggest question for Charles is how quickly he'll be pressed into action. The left tackle job is there for the taking between him, Cornelius Lucas and Geron Christian.
Washington's 2020 class successfully secured the best defender in the draft and several key pieces on offense that should help young quarterback Dwayne Haskins raise his level of play — or help prove he isn't a long-term answer. Gibson should provide a lot of production as a pass-catcher and Charles will get a crack at stepping into the void left by Williams. This isn't a class that leaps off the page, but it can serve as a foundation for the team's new direction under Rivera. Considering Washington was handcuffed by the lack of a second-round pick due to the Montez Sweat trade in 2019, the team did what it could to add impact players early on.