- The Washington Times
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The selection of Dwayne Haskins still makes sense.

Even as the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft is glued to the bench these days, Washington desperately needed a quarterback. Most figured Alex Smith would never play football again after his horrific leg injury. Case Keenum and Colt McCoy were journeymen. Washington needed to try and find a long-term answer at the position.


But imagine, for a moment, that Washington didn’t draft Haskins.

Former coach Jay Gruden and his staff wanted a player who could immediately make an impact (and help save his job). Haskins, a one-year starter at Ohio State, was viewed as a project. There were other, more-ready players out there.

It’s too early to label Haskins as a bust. But as Washington sits at the bye chasing the NFC East, it can be tempting to wonder what else the team could have done with its draft pick.

Let’s take a look at the notable players who Washington passed on:

⦁ DE Brian Burns (No. 16th, Panthers): If Washington had taken Burns, there would have been no need for the team to trade back up in the first round for Montez Sweat — a deal that cost them two second-round picks. Burns had a productive rookie season, recording 7½ sacks (a half-sack more than Montez’s total). Sweat has more sacks in Year 2, but Burns has lived up to his billing. And we know coach Ron Rivera likes him.

⦁ WR D.K. Metcalf (No. 64, Seahawks): In hindsight, it’s easy to say Metcalf went far too low in the draft. Washington, too, wasn’t the only team that passed on him — and there likely would have been a negative wave of criticism for Washington had it picked him 15th overall. Still: Metcalf is an athletic freak who plays hard. His touchdown-saving chase down of Arizona’s Budda Baker this past weekend is one of the better highlights of this season. Washington is more than happy with its selection of Terry McLaurin, but they would have made a heck of a pairing.

⦁ TE Noah Fant (No. 20, Broncos): Fant would have been a respectable replacement for Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. The 6-foot-4 tight end has caught 62 passes for 819 yards in his two seasons. Washington had hope that Reed could stay healthy. He didn’t.

⦁ S Darnell Savage (No. 21, Packers):Washington made Landon Collins one of the league’s highest-paid safeties in the league during the 2019 offseason, but the team still needed help in the starting spot opposite of him. Savage, a Maryland product, was terrific for the Packers’ secondary — grabbing two interceptions and forcing two fumbles.

⦁ WR A.J. Brown (No. 51, Titans): Brown had just as good of a rookie year as — if not better than — McLaurin. He topped the 1,000-yard mark, though he played in two games than Washington‘s top wideout. Regardless, Brown solidified himself as the Titans’ No. 1 option and he has been a star in their offense.

⦁ QB Drew Lock (No. 42, Broncos): If Washington was set on drafting a quarterback at No. 15, perhaps they should have gone with Lock. In a brief stretch last season for Denver, he posted better stats than Haskins and helped Denver win four of its last five games. Lock, however, has struggled in Year 2 — and he was also regarded as a project coming out of college. But unlike Gardner Minshew, the 2019 sixth-rounder who has been a solid starter for Jacksonville, Lock was seen as a potential first-round pick. (It’s not realistic to suggest Washington should have drafted Minshew 15th overall instead.)


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