Heading into the 2021 season, the Washington Football Team had a lot to look forward to. In 2020, they won the NFC East despite a slew of injuries and had a nice showing in the playoffs against the eventual Super Bowl winners, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Third string quarterback Taylor Heinicke brought a level of excitement that WFT had not seen since the early years of Kirk Cousins.
Unfortunately, 2021 was a season with endless ups and downs. Throughout the entire season, WFT never had a winning record. There was considerable promise after winning four games straight, but eventually they found a way to fall apart at the end of the season.
If there was ever a year to make a big change, 2022 is it. Wit the rebranding of the organization coming on February 2nd, showing a commitment to your fanbase by investing in your future at the quarterback position is imminent. For 30 years, this franchise has lacked a good long term option at quarterback. That’s not to say they haven’t made efforts, but unfortunately they have fallen short on each occasion.
I like Taylor Heinicke. I want him on the team. But he is simply not “the guy.” Heinicke knows the system and is the kind of player who has proven he can step in and fill a gap when necessary, but he just does not seem like the long term solution to the QB1 role in Washington. Despite the team having faith in him, he is not the future of WFT.
The biggest issue at hand is that the upcoming quarterback draft class is not that stellar. While last year was riddled with first round quarterback draft picks, there appears this year to only be a handful of good prospects. With WFT sitting at the 11th picking in the 2022 draft, there is a possibility they can could pick up a good prospect as several teams in front of them don’t have a need for quarterback.
Kenny Pickett- Pittsbugh (PITT): Pickett is a baller. The guy has transformed Pitt into a more of threat than ever before in the ACC. This past year he broke all of Dan Marino’s records at Pitt, and on top of that seems to have a good head on his shoulders off the field. Kenny Pickett will be a good leader of any NFL franchise one day, and WFT would be lucky to have him.
Matt Corral- Ole Miss: Corral is certainly your more traditional quarterback than Pickett is. With that said, he is definitely a “total package” quarterback. His pocket presence is excellent and is a threat with the ball in his hands. Even when scrambling, you rarely see him make a bad decision that could result in a turnover. Corral is hands down a Top 10-12 first round draft pick.
Carson Strong- Nevada: Strong arguably has the strongest arm in the entire 2022 quarterback draft class. He moves well in the pocket and gives off Ben Roethlisberger vibes. The only real downside to Strong is previous knee injury, but the hope is that he will be good to go before the start of the 2022 season.
Sam Howell- University of North Carolina (UNC)- Lastly, Sam Howell had a great freshman and sophomore year at UNC. He struggled a bit thereafter, but has since proven he is an elite quarterback for the upcoming draft class. While he does have good arm strength, he is does not possess the power that Carson Strong has. While Howell is likely a first round draft pick somewhere, I suspect he will go later in the first round.
WFT has rolled the dice in the past drafting a quarterback in the first round with Robert Griffin III. It paid dividends immediately, but only for one season. Since then, they have not drafted a quarterback in the first round. While this year’s draft class may not be the best as far as quarterbacks go, it needs to be the year they make a move. Not only for the fan as, but because head coach Ron Rivera needs to begin planting some roots instead of relying on a band aid like Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Only time will tell if WFT is will to invest in the future, but something tells me that with the new organizational rebranding, they will be ready to pull the trigger and draft a quarterback in the first round of 2022.