WFT Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2021 NFL Draft Picks

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

WFT Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2021 NFL Draft Picks

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    It's impossible to know exactly who the Washington Football Team will take in the 2021 NFL draft. However, we can make some assumptions.

    Washington isn't a team devoid of talent, though their seven-win 2020 season may suggest otherwise. This was, after all, a playoff team, and it's one that addressed a few notable holes in free agency. Washington added a starting-caliber quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick and a fine complementary receiver in Curtis Samuel.

    This leaves the Football Team with only a few major needs that will likely become priorities early on draft weekend—set to kick off on April 29. While addressing these needs will help make Washington a stronger overall team, it will also impact players individually.

    Here, we'll examine three players most likely to be impacted—positively or negatively—by Washington's 2021 draft picks.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Fitzpatrick figures to be Washington's Week 1 starter. However, the 38-year-old probably isn't a preferred long-term option for the Football Team. The clock on his tenure could well start ticking later this month if Washington drafts a quarterback early.

    There's no guarantee that Washington will take a quarterback in Round 1, but if the opportunity to trade up for one of the top signal-callers presents itself, the Football Team will be prepared to move.

    "We're open to doing either [moving up or down] right now," general manager Martin Mayhew said, per Sam Fortier of the Washington Post. "It's just going to depend on the entire process, and we’re working through some things right now."

    Even if Washington doesn't go with a quarterback early, Fitzpatrick could be impacted. This is another extremely deep wide-receiver class, and the Football Team should be able to add another quality pass-catcher at some point in the first two days.

    Partnering another weapon with Samuel and Terry McLaurin could help make Fitzpatrick's life easier in 2021.

WR Terry McLaurin

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    McLaurin is one of the league's most exciting young receivers and has developed into a bonafide No. 1 option. He hasn't benefited from having much receiving help, though. In 2020, McLaurin racked up 1,118 receiving yards in 15 games. No other wideout on the roster reached 500 receiving yards.

    The addition of Samuel should help take some defensive attention away from McLaurin. It's possible, if not probable, that more receiving help will be on the way.

    In Bleacher Report's latest draft board, for example, eight of the top 50 prospects and 16 of the top 100 are wideouts.

    This means that Washington should be able to land another quality pass-catcher, even if it doesn't target a receiver on the first day. With a viable No. 2 option added in the draft and Samuel playing the hybrid slot-receiver/running back role, opponents may find it harder to double-team McLaurin consistently.

    With more one-on-one opportunities potentially on the way, McLaurin could be in store for a career year in 2021.

TE Logan Thomas

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    While adding a pass-catcher could help McLaurin, adding a pass-catching tight end could potentially hurt Logan Thomas. The converted college quarterback has become a solid, if unspectacular starter for Washington. However, he'll turn 30 in July and is entering the final year of his contract.

    It would make sense for Washington to target a younger and potentially more dynamic pass-catching tight end in the draft—and there's a strong chance that that's the plan.

    Washington recently signed developmental tight end Sammis Reyes as an international prospect. At the least, the Football Team is looking to increase depth at the position.

    The Athletic's Ben Standig recently mocked Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble to Washington in the third round.

    This isn't a knock on Thomas, who had 670 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season. He's impressively made the transition from quarterback to tight end. However, if Washington does add another player at the position early, keeping Thomas beyond 2021 may not be a priority.