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NFL Draft

Should Washington Have Traded No. 2 Pick In 2020 NFL Draft?

  • The Draft Network
  • May 3, 2020
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There was a strong sense of unpredictability going into the 2020 NFL Draft due to its new virtual format, but, as it turned out, the most unpredictable part of the event was how predictable it was.

For the first time since 2015, there were no trades in the top 10 of the NFL draft. Whether it was due to unfamiliar drafting environments, the lack of information gathered throughout the pre-draft season, a comfort in the option on the table at the time of the pick or a combination of all of the above, there was far less movement than we thought there would be.

But that's not to say there wasn't some drama involved.

At the top, Joe Burrow's name was all but written in stone No. 1 to the Bengals; he landed in Cincinnati. After him, it was widely assumed Chase Young was the next logical option. Washington held the No. 2 pick. It new coach Ron Rivera knows very well what the impact of a top pass rusher can have on your team.

But for a team that finished with just two wins last year, was Young worth more than the haul Washington could have received for the second-overall selection?

In January, NBC Sports' Peter King reported Washington could remake its franchise if it were to move on from No. 2 via trade, citing an unidentified league source.

But it takes two to tango. It's not like Washington could trade in its pick and immediately get something back. It had to find the right value. According to multiple reports shortly after King's, Washington was open to moving back from No. 2, likely losing out on Young, if it were offered a deal similar to the one it wheeled to move up and select quarterback Robert Griffin III second overall in 2012; that trade cost Washington three first-round picks. This year, it seemed no team was even close to offering that much.

One of the reasons was a lack of quarterback hype.

After Burrow, the other two quarterbacks to choose form were Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon's Justin Herbert. Both had suitors and were selected in the top six, but no team wanted to strick that kind of deal to get them.

I'm sure Washington tried to drum up a bidding war for quarterback-hungry teams in the top 10, but it just wasn’t able to plant the seed of panic that creates desperate moves to get up to a pick as valuable as No. 2. Given the state of the franchise — more importantly, the current state of the quarterback room — Washington is a ways away from competing for division titles and playoff runs; a few extra Round 1 picks would have probably benefitted Washington more than just a top tier pass rusher. Over the next three years, it could have picked a top passing weapon and a lockdown corner, a franchise left tackle and an impact safety, a different, still talented, pass rusher and perhaps even a new passer. 

But, in the end, Washington selected Young second overall, and from everything we've heard surrounding the lack of desperation in trade talks at the top, that was the right choice.

In that same January report, King went on to say, "I think Washington is in an incredibly good situation. Either [it gets] a generational pass rusher or [it ends] up getting three ones out of it."

From what we can gather, Washington was never offered anything close to three first-round picks. Instead, the team got the generational pass rusher — not a bad consolation.

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