In an interview that was posted on the Commanders' YouTube channel, Ron Rivera describes one of his favorite methods when it comes to evaluating draft prospects. As he explains it, he pays particular attention to situations that pit one top player against another, so he can see how an isolated soon-to-be professional handles major matchups.
And during that discussion, Rivera displayed a serious fondness for two up-and-comers.
"Little bit of a hint," Washington's coach tells Logan Paulsen, "but the Ohio State receivers, you watch those guys against DBs and you go, 'Wow. This guy's sticking with this guy or this guy's sticking with this guy. That's impressive.' So those are some of the things I try to do."
Now, before you hustle on over to the team store to preorder a Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave Commanders jersey, remember that Rivera is about as willing to share inside secrets as Trent Williams is willing to share a long meal with Bruce Allen.
Even so, it is notable that Rivera was willing to admit that he views Wilson and Olave as wideouts worth measuring defensive backs against. Obviously, if he's doing that with the two Buckeyes, then he thinks quite highly of their respective games.
Combine those remarks alongside Paulsen with Rivera's presence at Ohio State's Pro Day and the fact that Washington has hosted Wilson and Olave on pre-draft visits, and it all adds up to a pretty clear picture that the franchise's head man is intrigued by the pair of pass-catchers.
At least one, if not both, should be available at pick No. 11 next week when the club is scheduled to be on the clock.
During the 15-minute chat, Rivera identified a couple of additional scouting techniques he utilizes during the lead-up to the event.
One area he places a priority on is how players perform in two-minute drills at the conclusion of the first half or the fourth quarter. To him, those sequences are awfully telling.
"Watch what this guy does under duress or when it's a stressful time in the game," Rivera said. "When they have to, they must, they've got to. They tend to revert to bad habits or what they're comfortable with... You'll see who wins and who doesn't win during those things."
Then there's how Rivera grades pass rushers. While most check out how many sacks a prospect may have, he prefers to dive a little deeper to figure out precisely when those takedowns occurred.
"Somebody may say, 'Oh this guy's got 14 sacks,' and you say, 'Oh, wow, that's great,'" Rivera said. "But then you watch the tape and you realize that those 14 sacks come when mostly they've got these big leads... What I want to see is a guy that gets 14 sacks and 10 of them happen during the process of the game... then the other four came when they were killing people."
By the end of next weekend, all the speculation and dot-connecting regarding the Commanders' draft plans will give way to a brand new wave of talent.
By Thursday night specifically, meanwhile, Rivera will prove whether his "little bit of a hint" about Wilson and Olave was legitimate foreshadowing of his board or simply just another talking point in April.