2021 NFL Draft: Washington Football Team prioritizing athleticism, versatility

Texas OT Sam Cosmi. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Texas OT Sam Cosmi. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Through two days of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Washington Football Team has acquired four rookies. And each one provides either upper-echelon athleticism or the ability to be a moving chess piece at their position. Some of them provide both.

That’s making it clear that the Washington Football Team is highly valuing two traits: Athleticism and versatility.

Washington Football Team prioritizing athleticism, versatility

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To start, let’s look at Jamin Davis. The linebacker that looks as if he was made in a lab is an absolute freak of nature. Posting a 9.93 RAS score (Relative Athletic Score), he ran a 4.48 40 yard dash and 42-inch vertical. A human that is 6-foot-3, 234 pounds should not be able to run or jump like that.

Not only is Davis a physical specimen, he also provides versatility at the linebacker position. In the Washington Football Team’s post Day 1 of the draft presser, Ron Rivera said, “He can play all of our linebacker positions. He is what you look for in a football player.”

Athleticism and versatility, as we go through Washington’s selections, will become a theme.

With the 51st pick, the Washington Football Team selected Samuel Cosmi an offensive tackle out of Texas. Cosmi, like Davis, is also a bit of an athletic unicorn. At 6-foot-5, 314 pounds, he ran a 4.87 40 (1.68 10-yd split), a 7.35 3-cone, a 4.39 20-yard shuttle and he put up 36 reps on the bench press. Again, players that big should not be able to move like that.

After Washington selected Cosmi, NFL reporter Josina Anderson said that she received a text from a Washington Football Team source saying, they believe Cosmi can play guard if needed. Cosmi also later added in his press conference with the Washington media that he would be willing to play either left or right tackle.

That’s another piece of information that keeps adding to the theme of athletic, versatile players.

At pick 74, the Washington Football Team selected DB Benjamin St-Juste, with an emphasis on the DB, not CB. St-Juste is a lengthy defensive back (6-foot-3, 202 pounds) with solid long speed (4.55 40). However, his short-area quickness and upper-tier agility, are shown in his 6.63 3-cone and a 4.01 20-yard shuttle.

St-Juste will provide the most for Washington with his flexibility. Rivera said that St-Juste has the body type to play multiple positions on the defense. He did some safety drills at the Senior Bowl.

With their last pick of the night, Washington went away from their trend of drafting uber-athletic players with versatility. Dyami Brown is plenty athletic enough with a 4.45 40-time. However, he was not picked for his athletic traits or versatility.

Brown was picked due to his seamless fit in the offense, as a deep threat opposite of Terry McLaurin. Dyami Brown fits Ryan Fitzpatrick’s gunslinger mentality too, so giving Fitzpatrick a deep threat seems like a good idea. Brown may end up being Washington’s best value pick.

As you can see, the Washington Football Team has largely athleticism and versatility. So, what can we learn from this? Ron Rivera has a lot of trust in his coaching staff.

The players Washington selected have high ceilings, but with that comes some rawness to their game. Rivera obviously did not waver selecting these prospects. He believes in his coaching staff to get the most out of them.

He trusts Steve Russ, as well as himself and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (two former NFL linebackers), to tap into the potential of Jamin Davis. He is confident in John Matsko to tap into the elite physical profile of Samuel Cosmi. He trusts Chris Harris to tap into the physical potential and versatility Benjamin St. Juste offers.

And he believes the newly promoted wide receivers coach, Drew Terrell, can turn Dyami Brown into a feared deep threat.

If you take it one step further, Sammis Reyes, who is essentially another member of the 2021 draft class for Washington, is a physical freak. He had a higher RAS score than Kyle Pitts.

Rivera believes Pete Hoener, can tap into Reyes’s skill set as he did with Logan Thomas. A clear sentiment has been sent out to his entire coaching staff: Rivera trusts them. Now they just need to tap into each player’s high physical profiles.

After the 2020 NFL Draft, it was clear Washington valued versatility. They are doubling down on that this year and getting physical specimens as well.

Next. For WFT, free safety is the last missing piece. dark

Washington has hit the draft out of the park so far, adding both elite talents and filling the key roster holes. It is up to the coaching staff now to develop the high-potential, athletic players at their disposal now.