Why Washington is closer to being a contender than you think
What are Washington’s biggest needs?
This position, as many of you undoubtedly know, is Washington’s biggest need. There is no need to spend much time on this. You will hear about this constantly throughout the next months until the problem is solved but simply put: Washington needs a starting, capable, reliable quarterback. They need to scour every nook and cranny of the NFL and draft process to find one. This is by far Washington’s biggest hindrance to becoming a contender.
2. Blue-chip playmaker
Washington has a solid collection of playmakers on offense. Terry McLaurin is an alpha, number one receiver (who Washington needs to extend ASAP), Curtis Samuel can be an enticing piece if healthy, Logan Thomas and John Bates make up a solid tight end room, and the running back room has talent in Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic if he is re-signed.
However, other than McLaurin, Washington does not have many players that the defensive coordinator has to “gameplan” for. They have McLaurin and some solid secondary pieces. Opposing defenses can simply bracket McLaurin and say “someone else will beat us.” Curtis Samuel could be really good if he ever gets healthy but Washington needs another option that is more reliable.
Whether that comes at wide receiver, tight end or running back, they need more juice from the passing game. Specifically a player that can create after the catch. Considering Washington has paid Logan Thomas, Curtis Samuel and wants to pay Terry McLaurin, this playmaker would be best acquired through the draft.
As the NFL is moving to two-high looks dominating defensive schemes, the need for two really good safeties is key. And, well, Washington has Kam Curl who is really good. That’s it. Bobby McCain, who is fine, is a free agent is expected to be back. But again, he is just fine. Landon Collins is clearly better suited a hybrid S/LB, than a pure safety. So, it is clear Washington could definitely benefit from another solid piece at safety. It would create fewer coverage tendencies and easily decipherable pre-snap looks. It would allow Jack Del Rio to have the freedom to disguise certain coverages. Washington should look for this via free agency amongst names like Marcus Williams or (a longshot) Jesse Bates or in the mid-rounds of the draft.
4. MIKE LB
Ron Rivera said this one himself. Washington needs a MIKE linebacker. They need a linebacker that can take on blocks to free up Jamin Davis and Cole Holcomb. Preferably, you would want this to come from either Holcomb or especially Davis who Washington spent the 19th pick on. However, sometimes that is not the case. This option can come via free agency, where Washington can get a solid veteran presence in the room. Preferably one that is more reliable than Jon Bostic.
5. Other underrated needs
Defensive Depth- Washington would benefit from more depth on the defense in certain places, including cornerback, linebacker and safety. Having more capable options on the backend of the roster, to account for potential attrition, would be prudent .
Running back- Honestly, most teams should consider getting another running back each offseason. With the limited shelf life running backs have, and Antonio Gibson’s fumbling problems, getting more capable backs to share the load is just smart business. Washington having another capable in-between the tackles running back could make Gibson more dynamic with a less workload. And of course, it is no guarantee that JD McKissic will be back in 2022.
Guard- Washington will almost certainly be letting Brandon Scherff hit free agency after the recent comments from Martin Mayhew. Not to mention that Wes Schweitzer and Ereck Flowers are on the last years of their deals. Washington should definitely get more depth along the interior, as well as answers to next years potential departures.