Why the Washington Football Team should draft Christian Darrisaw

Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

This piece is part of the Riggo’s Rag Roundtable debate about the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. For more Washington Football Team Round 1 options, click here.

When building a championship contender, the most important group for success is often the offensive line.

In the last five seasons, the eventual Super Bowl champion has had a top-10 ranked offensive line on Pro Football Focus four times. Three times, the champions had a line ranked in the top five and the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles had the top-ranked offensive line.

In 2020, the Washington Football Team graded well up front per PFF. Washington ended the regular season ranked sixth on the site’s rankings thanks to top-10 grades from center Chase Roullier and first-team All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff.

With Roullier and Scherff under newly-signed contracts and right tackle Morgan Moses entering a contract year, the right side of the line appears set.

For the Washington Football Team, the focus entering the 2021 NFL Draft must be addressing the left side of the offensive line, which had some injury and consistency issues in 2020.

Left tackle Geron Christian was placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury early in the season, leaving Cornelius Lucas, Wes Schweitzer, and David Sharpe to protect the blindside. Lucas played well in Christian’s absence, earning high marks on PFF’s grading scale, but Washington can level up this position via the draft.

Why the Washington Football Team should draft Christian Darrisaw

At No. 19 in the draft order, Washington’s best option is to select a local talent: Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw.

Ranked as the 14th-best overall prospect by CBS Sports, Darrisaw is a 6-5, 314-pound lineman that primarily played on the left side of the line for the Hokies in 2020.

Darrisaw started every game that he played, earning the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week award in October after the Hokies ran for 324 yards in a victory against Duke. Darrisaw ended his season with First Team All-ACC and All-American Second Team honors, thanks to his impact in orchestrating the Hokies’ potent rushing offense.

In three years in Blacksburg, Darrisaw started consistently and racked up numerous in-season awards for his play at left tackle. The Upper Marlboro, Maryland native started the first game of his freshman season, one of nine true freshmen offensive linemen to start their team’s opening game that season.

Perhaps the best measurement of Darrisaw’s impact is in the success of senior running back Khalil Herbert. Herbert ran for over 1,100 yards in 2020, including eight rushing touchdowns and six 100-yard games. A transfer from Kansas, Herbert shattered his career marks in every major offensive category on his way to being the second-leading rusher in the ACC.

Pro Football Focus noted Darrisaw’s individual impact as well, giving him the ninth-best individual grade in college football last season at 95.6. Per PFF, Darrisaw logged 293 pass-block snaps in 2020, allowing six pressures and zero sacks.

For a team that has seen season-ending quarterback injuries in two of the last three seasons, drafting a tackle with a track record of keeping the quarterback’s jersey clean is essential to Washington’s success.

At the 19th pick, Washington is perfectly positioned to land Darrisaw without trading up. With Oregon guard Penei Sewell almost certainly going ahead of Darrisaw, along with a projected early run at the quarterback position, Darrisaw is likely to be on the board when Washington goes on the clock.

Several mock drafts have Darrisaw going to the Washington Football Team, including CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards’ mock draft from March 27. In his analysis, Edwards says Darrisaw is “a calm and collected lineman” that can help “fill the void” that was opened after Trent Williams left the franchise.

Washington also tends to draft local prospects. Washington’s roster has four former Hokies, including cornerbacks Greg Stroman and Kendall Fuller and defensive tackle Tim Settle. Darrisaw has strong ties to the DMV area that can endear him to fans and management alike.

Between his measurables, his DMV ties, and his on-the-field success, all signs seem to point to Darrisaw being a home-run draft pick should he be available at 19th overall. By drafting Darrisaw, Washington’s offensive line would see immediate boosts in production and potential.

Next. More first round options for the WFT. dark

Click the links below to read about each Washington Football Team Round 1 option.

Roundtable: Who should the Washington Football Team select in Round 1?